Naples Therapeutic Riding Center Volunteer Finds Horses Are The Best Medicine.
Most teens look forward to the day they can buy a car. Anne Vandekatsey dreamed about owning a horse. Growing up in small farming communities in North Carolina and New Jersey, Vandekatsey started saving money by doing odd jobs, cleaning stables, shining shoes, anything she could find. By the time she was 16, her dream came true. “I bought a 12-year-old palomino named Buttercup for $200. She hadn’t been ridden in six years. And that’s not a good thing.”
Vandekatsey knew she wanted to be around animals for the rest of her life and studied to become a veterinarian technician. “Things were different in the ’70s. The field was so new, we were able to do a lot more than they can today. Everything from surgeries to lab work, which I loved.”
But it wasn’t until her twin nephews were born that she learned about the real power of animals. The boys suffered from Duchenne muscular dystrophy and were unable to walk. “I remember my brother taking them to see a therapy horse named Taco and what a calming effect he had on them.”