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Young Girl with Limb Difference Gains Confidence Through Horses

Sep 7, 2023 |

Since starting to ride at Hope Springs Equestrian Therapy, 7-year-old Emma Celenza has seen her confidence and strength grow. “I’m strong, brave, and I can do anything,” she said. “Riding horses definitely helped me believe it.” Paired with a grey horse named Hamilton, or Hammy as she calls him, Emma is learning to ride with one hand and has her sights set on showing in the future. Matteo Iadonisi featured the story in a video segment on 6 ABC. 

As a congenital amputee, Emma was born without her left arm mid forearm and she has always loved animals. Her mom, Samantha, decided to bring her to Hope Springs which offers therapeutic riding designed for riders with any disability and horse camps for kids with disabilities like Emma. “We came here because we heard it was really good,” Emma said. “Then, I met Hammy and I kind of felt like the first day that I saw him that we would be really good friends.” 

Executive Director Jeannie Knowlton and her family also have a special connection to the facility which they all help to operate. Her older daughter also had physical disabilities and rode at Hope Springs. 

“No matter what you look like or sound like just follow your dreams,” Emma said. 

If you’d like to learn more about the facility located in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania, or the benefits of equine therapy, visit Hope Spring’s website here.