Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor, Sept. 1

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Thanks for supporting horse show

Dear editor,

I wanted to take a minute to sincerely thank you for your article (Help them walk on: Support the Celebration, Aug. 29) in the Times-Gazette. Born with cerebral palsy and hydrocephalus, I didn't participate in many school sport/recreational activities. I started riding horses. I started riding quarter horses as a form of therapy for my cerebral palsy.

It took one ride on a Tennessee Walker, and my only statement was, "I've got to have one of these." The rest is history. My first ride on a performance horse was something I'll never forget. I took a break from the show ring in 2009 to go to law school at the University of Mississippi School of Law and finished in December 2011, and I'm currently working on my LL.M. in Business Transactions (Master of Laws) at the University of Alabama School of Law through their online program.

I'm looking forward to finishing my education and returning to the show ring. I have faith, sometimes more than others, it will still be there when I've completed my education. Because of the Tennessee Walker, especially the performance horse, I not only found a hobby, but a passion, and I've made friendships that I'll carry for a lifetime.

On my last trip to Shelbyville, I had vehicle issues, so I took my vehicle to (a local shop). I'd taken it there once before, and the staff there was not only knowledgeable and helpful, but also patient. I will be the first to tell you, vehicle mechanics is not my "cup of tea," so in addition to patience, I have to trust I'm not being misled. I found that trust there as well.

What stands out in my mind is the remark a serviceman made as he drove me back to where I was staying while they repaired my vehicle-the point of his remarks was he hoped the walking horse industry survived, or he feared the town he called home would nearly cease to exist. Being from the area, I'm sure you see first hand and are well aware, but the true sincerity in his eyes and speech was evident.

Like the person in your article, I wouldn't dare have left my show horses in the care of someone I knew, or even suspected, was mistreating them. They are the reason I continued to pursue my education -- I wanted to be able to show my horses. They're the one place I can feel like I'm on a level playing field, so to speak.

Thank you for your time, and thank you again for your article.

Landon Phillips

Cleveland, MS

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