• Handpicked horses help riders find mobility, independence

    Here’s a sweet story out of the Bitterroot Valley for you on a almost-summer Thursday.

    The Bitterroot Theraputic Ranch near Corvallis is home to special horses that, as writer Brett Berntsen explains, have a very special duties.

    Take Tonah, for example:

    Tonah, a Norwegian Fjord, fits the mold perfectly. As a small draft horse, she can carry heavy loads yet isn’t tall, making it easy to mount and dismount. Moreover, she has the calm, patient demeanor necessary for long days in the arena.

    . . .

    Astride a beige mare named Tonah, Abbie Jessop leads the exercise. Despite being born with cerebral palsy and nearly deaf, the 18-year-old Pinesdale resident rides independently.

    She steers the patient mare next to a metal rack holding plastic rings. Reaching up with a shaky hand, she spears a ring and drops it onto a nearby cone like a gaucho in training.

    We featured the ranch in our May/June issue with a spread of amazing photos by photography Lido Vizzutti. Grab a copy to see all the photos.

    Until then, the full story is online now.