I recently spent some time with an inspiring young lady named Courtney Hulit. 4 years ago, Courtney suffered a brain injury after a riding accident that left her with multiple severe disabilities. Courtney was left with a condition called Functional Neurological Disorder. Because of Courtney’s FND, she has been left with involuntary muscle movements, hearing deficiency causing her to need hearing aids, seizures, poor coordination and the inability to speak. It seemed that Courtney’s dreams of being a horse trainer were shattered.
With the help of Banbury Cross Therapeutic Riding Center in Oxford, Michigan, Courtney began to fight her way back. As her relationship with the horses motivated her to push harder, she began to show real progress. Now, after several years of Therapeutic riding lessons, her dreams are again within sight. Courtney currently works two jobs that both allow her to work independently with horses. She now has a driver’s license and most importantly looks forward to a future as a productive member of the horse industry.
Courtney made a commitment to return the favor for all of the good that horses had done for her in her recovery. It was now time for her to give back! Number one on her list was to adopt a rescue! Courtney felt a kinship with all rescue horses because they each have a story, a story that is not always a happy one, much like her own.
While on Facebook, Courtney found a post from a horse rescue that unfortunately had to liquidate their horses immediately and close their doors. Because of the urgency of the situation and the plea for immediate homes, the horses were almost certain to enter the slaughter pipeline. After a phone conversation, she felt comfortable that there was a horse that might be a good match for her. It was there that she found Lacey Mae. Lacey is a Cleveland Bay and Quarter horse cross. She is 14’2 hands which fits Courtney’s small stature. Lacey Mae was not more than green broke and had lived most of her 9 years in the rescue. There was definitely work to be done. She had come from an abusive and neglectful situation as a young horse and hadn’t had much done with her since.
Since adopting Lacey Mae, Courtney and Lacey have made great strides. Being an aloof mare, Lacey had little desire to interact with Courtney when in the pasture. She now willingly approaches Courtney for their special girl time together. Being a quiet mare, she is well suited for Courtney’s personality and now minor disabilities. Courtney is working to finish Lacey’s canter and has made significant progress on some physical issues that she came with. She is now able to handle her ears and put on her halter and bridle with ease. A feat that was near impossible due to severe infections and mite infestation in her ears. Because their journey is really only beginning, we can only imagine how far this dynamic duo will come. One thing is for certain, Lacey Mae and Courtney are now a team. Both are learning from each other and making progress to each be their best selves. Because Courtney gave Lacey Mae a chance, Lacey Mae has given Courtney a future.
Because of her commitment to and love of horses, Courtney is now working to be a professional trainer and in addition to her jobs, she helps out at several therapeutic riding centers regularly.