Linda McLendon, the Executive Director of Full Circle Therapeutic Riding, is a former member of the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association, American Hippotherapy Association, Equine Facilitated Mental Health Association, and American Riding Instructors Association. She held Level II Hunt seat certification with the American Riding Instructors Certification Program which named her its 1998 Instructor of the Year.
Embracing her special children as a whole, treating their mind, body and spirit as one is the essence of Linda’s magic. She focuses on liberation rather than limitation. From traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke, cerebralpalsy, mental retardation, emotional disturbances, impaired vision or hearing, learning disabilities, Down’s syndrome to spinabifida is her everyday challenge. Linda’s remarkable rapport combined with the interaction of the horse manifests the benefits in improved balance and coordination, increased strength and range of motion, improved circulation and posture, increased attention span and self-esteem, and better language skills for her kids. The movement of the horse stimulates sensory and motor reaction, vestibular, tactile, proprioceptive and ocular input.
All of her life Linda had a dream. That dream was to work with horses and challenged youngsters. As the universe works, on June 16, l993 Linda was asked by a horse owning friend if she could help a special 3 year old autistic child named Brandon sit atop their gentle Appaloosa gelding named Black Willie Moon. "Mustache Willie" was eventually given to Linda and became her first therapeutic horse and continued to do his job until the age of 30. The rest is history.
The remarkable achievement is that Linda drives her foundation with solely
herself plus several volunteers caring for approximately 50 special children
on a regular annual basis. Linda has worked with over 400 kids over the past
ten years. She has a few small grants, and funds, the rest from donations
and fund raising.