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"The best thing that has happened to Buddy is finding Brave Meadows. Shannon and all the volunteers are very special people with a passion for helping children and adults like Buddy with special needs learn independence and care for the horses with therapy. He gets excited and does his "happy dance" when he knows it's Saturday - horse riding day. Buddy gives his horse friend, Ranger, a pep talk before they saddle up. We are so thankful for everyone at Brave Meadows."

— Buddy

"Bobby is a 19 year old Putnam County High School Student with Spina Bifida.  He has been riding at Brave Meadows since he was 6 years old.  He and Chocolate Chips or Chief, the two wonder pony heroes make a great riding team every Saturday.  Bobby can be seen grooming Chips, feeding Chips,  filling watering troughs and enjoying all of the volunteer's company.  Brave Meadows is so much more than about learning to balance on the horse and ride.  The wonderful socialization with lifelong friends makes Brave Meadows a big family.

In 2014, Bobby had a medical crisis that left him needing to learn to move, talk, etc. all over.  Riding horses positively impacted Bobby in relearning what he had lost during the medical crisis.  Everyone at Brave Meadows knew Bobby so well that he felt welcome and normal when he was around all of the volunteers, horses, and Shannon.

Bobby's life at Brave Meadows has helped to mold him into a confident, caring, self-motivated young man.  Bobby has participated in the Special Olympics Equestrian Competition for two years and  hopes to go with his teammates again soon. The incredible experience of participating in the GA Olympics has been so positive for Bobby, his teammates, and the horses.


This year, with the many challenges of Covid 19 on the special needs population, horseback riding is more important then ever.  It is an outdoor time with a minimal contact with others but socializing occurs none the less, with horses and peoples."

— Bobby

"Taylor is a 9 year old that attends Gray Elementary School. He has been riding for 11 months at Brave Meadows. He is autistic, has sensory processing, and ODD. When Taylor first started riding Sherlock - he would groom and ride for 5 minutes. Over the course of time we increased his riding time. Then, in July, Mrs. Shannon started talking about making a team for Special Olympics. We said, "We're in!"  From July to September Taylor started riding Chief and worked super hard learning patterns and how to show his horse.


He has come so far that he now will ride for 45 mins to an hour.  He has learned how to trot and control the horse on his own while having fun playing basketball. We are so proud of how he has finally found something that he enjoys and loves to go do with other friends.  Not only is this good for his muscles, but it has helped him with his social skills."

— Taylor

Shannon Patrick is my cousin and she makes me so proud! My entire extended family has a special place in our hearts for children and adults with special needs. I believe it all stems from being raised with a family member with Down Syndrome. Marc will never understand the impact that he has on all of us. He has taught us so much love and compassion for others.  Please watch this video-it’s so touching to me...not only because it’s my cousin’s therapeutic riding facility, but of that deep compassion in helping others and her love of horses.  

— Brooke, Family Member

My name is Sue Stanfield, I am a resident of Jones County, Ga. My son, Grady (Buddy) Stanfield Jr. was diagnosed with Profound Mental Retardation and schizophrenia at the age of 14. He was nonverbal and had behavior issues. He loved horses and trains. 

I was looking online one day to see if there were any horse therapy centers in or near our county. 

I found Brave Meadows Therapeutic Riding Center and gave Shannon a call. She explained to me what programs were available for clients like my son. 

The first day I took Buddy out to the center, he didn't know what to think with all the horses and animals there. Shannon gave a tour and explained that they have trained horses for all types of therapy. 

The next week we went, he brushed the horses and watched as the other clients rode. Eventually he decided to ride. The result was amazing! He was a little afraid but he enjoyed the ride as time went on. He gave us all a happy face and when the ride was over he did a "Happy dance". 

Every Saturday he looked forward to going to "ride horse". He learned to brush and fly spray the horses and after each lesson he would lead the horse around the arena. He was very happy when he visited Brave Meadows. 

Buddy had a favorite horse that he liked to ride, his name is Ranger a beautiful white horse who was very patient with Buddy. 

Our Buddy also went with the Special Olympics Equestrian team in Gainesville, Ga. He had a wonderful time with Ranger as his riding partner. 

Our Buddy passed away in June of 2021. I still go to Brave Meadows very often as therapy for myself; helping and riding the horses and assisting in other jobs around the center.

I am so thankful for Brave Meadows; it made a difference in my special son's life and is still a blessing to me and others who appreciate the work and care Shannon has for everyone who comes. 

-Sue Stanfield

My name is Cathy Walker, and I have been a volunteer at Brave Meadows for eleven years. I am a very independent contractor cleaning houses, but I always try to make time to go to the barn to help with the horses every day. It's that important to me to me to be a part of taking care of all the animals that give love to so many people. Since I have been at Brave Meadows, I have adopted two horses that would have otherwise ended up going to slaughter. 

My granddaughter was the main reason I became involved with Brave Meadows. There was an article in our local newspaper about Brave Meadows. The article told about the farm and how it helped children and young adults to overcome physical and mental obstacles through therapeutic horseback riding. I immediately thought I have to check this place out for my granddaughter who was born with Spina Bifida. She came out for lessons and learned how to ride and then she was ready to move on to other adventures. I stayed and plan on staying as long as I can, so thankful for this place. 

It's awesome to be a part of Brave Meadows. The farm gives a purpose in life and keeps me learning new things about people and animals. We take care of all the animals every day in all kinds of weather because this place gives us all the therapy we need for everyday life. 

My favorite animal has to be a horse named Doc. Doc is one of the biggest horses we have on the farm. I call him a gentle giant because he has a very laid back personality. He loves to get hugs and kisses and lots of grooming and treats from everybody, which makes him the perfect therapy horse. 

Animals have a special way of making people smile and turn a not so good day into a much better day. I remember when one of our riders just sat on the ground crying very loudly and no one could calm her down. One of our horses gently touched the rider on her shoulder with his nose and she immediately stopped crying. When we have riders that are very nervous about riding for the first time get on the horse, it doesn't take long for them to start smiling and they don't want to get off when the therapy session is over. 

We do what we do from the heart trying to provide a place where people that have special needs to come and enjoy the farm, learn new skills, and make new friends. The farm is also a place where parents of special needs children can get together and get to know other people who might be going through the same struggles.


-Cathy Walker

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