Learning to Ride a Horse: FLEX Student Shows Courage and Insight

The following is a letter we received from The Kranzler’s in Plentywood, Montana. They are hosting Firdavs, a CCI Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) student from Tajikistan, who has a prosthetic leg.

I just wanted to send you a quick note and some new photos of Phili (Firdavs). He likes being called Phil or Phili, so, I call him Phili.



He wants badly to learn to ride, and has been working on it steadily. His prosthetic leg was causing him a tremendous amount of pain when he spread his hips to sit on the horse. It just dug into his hip and thigh. I realized the blasted thing doesn’t even have and ankle or knee joint, so, it’s basically useless for riding as the leg can’t turn so he can put the foot into a stirrup. Well, after much discussion, we decided to try riding without it, and, it made all the difference in the world. He is having a bit of a struggle finding his center of balance, and has fallen off once, but, he just jumped right back on like a little trouper! The funny thing is, the horse kept gently putting his nose around to his right flank and touching it. Del told Phili that he was probably just trying to get rid of a fly or bug. The horse just kept doing it though, and with a flash of real insight, Phili said, “He’s looking for my leg!” He was absolutely right. Neither of us experienced horse people had even thought of that! The horse just knew something was different and kept trying to figure out what it was. Horses are extremely sensitive to balance issues.

Judy, this boy is a blessing, and, a real inspiration! His courage in trying to do such difficult things is just amazing, and, I am humbled.

Hope you enjoy the photos, and, feel free to pass them along to anyone who might be interested in seeing them.

Thanks for everything, and take care.