Ann Romney Healing Through Play: Equestrian Therapy

I find a lot of inspiration in the recovery story of Ann Romney.  A few weeks ago I was able to meet her and tell her how amazing I think her story is.  I believe in the power of Recreation Therapy.  I believe it can heal and improve many aspects of our lives.

Ann Romney and Me - Horse Therapy

Ann Romney and Me

Her Story

During 1997, Ann Romney began experiencing severe numbness, fatigue, and other symptoms, and just before Thanksgiving (1998) she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.  Mitt Romney described watching her fail a series of neurological tests as the worst day of his life.  He later said: “I couldn’t operate without Ann. We’re a partnership. We’ve always been a partnership so her being healthy and our being able to be together is essential.”

Ann Romney with her horse

Soon after Ann followed her husband to Salt Lake City where he became the CEO the 2002 Winter Olympics.  Ann says that this was the hardest part of her life.  She could not get out of bed in the morning and thought that she would live the rest of her life like that.

In and article entitled, “Dressage Makes Ann Romney ‘s Soul Sing” she shares, “I had raised five boys, juggled everything at once, and suddenly I couldn’t take care of myself,” Ann remembered. “It was devastating.”

In discussing her desire to ride horses again Ann said, “Riding exhilarated me; it gave me a joy and a purpose. It jump-started my healing,” Ann said. “When I was so fatigued that I couldn’t move, the excitement of going to the barn and getting my foot in the stirrup would make me crawl out of bed.”

“I’d trot around the ring once, then take a break and try again. The riding helped me gain back core strength and balance.”

Not only did her love of riding horses greatly help her in the recovery process but today with all of the events in her life it still is a therapeutic outlet.  “She recharges, both mentally and physically, when she comes out here,” says her Trainer Ebeling. “She rides, spends time with the horses and just hangs out at the barn. She loves the whole scene.”

Ann-Romney

Ann added that the highlight of her life was being able to carry the torch in the opening ceremonies for the Olympics.

“That was an amazing personal accomplishment for me, because I would have been barely able to walk when we first got to Utah,” Ann Romney explained. “And three years later, with my husband beside me and my children running next to me and with all of my new friends cheering me on, and not a dry eye, they all ran next to me recognizing what an accomplishment and personal battle I had fought and won.”