Happy Trails Riding Academy

Visit Us: 2773 E. Oakdale Ave. (Ave. 256), Tulare, CA 93274
Mail Us: P.O. Box 572, Visalia, CA 93279
Call Us: (559) 688-8685 or EMAIL US 

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Kathy's Story

Kathy's healing journey began May 20, 2009, when she had a severe vehicle collision on Ave 256 & Mooney, a T.B.I. (Traumatic Brain Injury) was the result. Since the event she has come a long way -- from the medical community deeming any recovery prospects improbable, to an energetic young woman with many goals. While there were many, valleys in her recuperation, she is on her way to victory climbing that healing mountain.

At 17 Kathy was a fun, saucy, witty young woman, planning to be a writer & study philosophy.Preparing to graduate high school, moving to a new phase of life, but providence had other plans everything was abruptly put on hold in a fleeting second. May 20, 2009, Kathy was driving home from an evening at church and Taco Bell, making a left turn, she was struck by an oncoming car & ejected from her truck. With the quick action of Samaritans and ambulance service she was flown by helicopter to Fresno Community -- and the nightmare began. She was at Fresno Community for 30 days, a pediatric sub-acute facility for 30 days and UCLA for 6 weeks. In the duration, she had her right skull cap removed, obtained two hospital acquired infections and the story goes on and on -- way too lengthy for more details. Through this, the medical community was not encouraging about her survival, let alone any further recovery out of her sub conscious state. But, where there is a warm hand there is hope.

Kathy was brought home in a semi-conscious state where she received home care, mega doses of love from friends and family intermingled with mirth & laughter. Her recovery has been a slow process, but she is making progress every day. All along the way, she has maintained her humor and wit through her smile and ability to smile with her eyes.

The highlight of her healing journey has been Happy Trails. Well, to clarify, now it is a highlight, but it was a rough ride in the beginning. The first couple rides, Kathy didn't want anything to do with a horse, and even less with the staff. It is amazing how much a girl who cannot talk has the uncanny ability to communicate her disdain when she does not want to do something. Kathy had no problem communicating to the staff how she felt about the whole ordeal by holding her nose to let them know she thought they stank.

But the gifted staff at Happy Trails had the patience, wisdom, and experience to work with Kathy, encouraging her to keep trying. Lisa's gentle and gifted voice soothed both the rider and her parents. Klara and the girls helping with the horse and holding Kathy on the horse honed into Kathy's innate sense of humor and, along with the perfect horse, Frankie, resulted in the most effective blend for Kathy's growth in her ride. Now, Kathy will tell you Happy Trails is the best part of the week and she truly enjoys her horse rides & hopes to get her own horse some day.

While it has been a rough journey to say the least, Kathy has so much to be grateful for. She made it through a harrowing journey and still has her wit. She is alive with so much more healing and growing potential. She still has her old goals, but has added some new ones, such as a getting a Pug and a pony and somehow convincing her parents she can drive a Mini-cooper -- same old Kathy.


-Rick & Judy Gray-