Now Mitchell, if your good while the dentist cleans your teeth and takes an x-ray of your mouth, then we will go ride Sonny this afternoon, she said, referring to the horse at Tina Gordons Dream Ranch.
Mitchell went back into the room with the dentist by himself, which has never happened before. The doctor told his mother he did a fantastic job, just what a mother always likes to hear.
Jennings believes that after a couple of times that her son has ridden horseback at the ranch, he has made a significant improvement.
Sonny, Skipper, Jack, Blaze, Derby, Fancy and Little May are all the special horses that are all part of one big special project at Tinas Dream Ranch. It all started about a year ago after Gordon, best known for her NASCAR racing, decided after retiring to open a therapeutic camp in Cedar Bluff. It is a non-profit organization that is open to the public and operated by Gordon, her husband Gary and a handful of volunteers.
This therapeutic camp helps benefit disabled children. Riding the horses helps the children build and strengthen muscles, increases their balance and coordination and also helps them build self-esteem.
The ranch will be opening in a couple of weeks, and Gordon finds it hard to describe how extremely excited she is about opening day.
When the camp finally opens, there will be several activities for children to enjoy. Of course there will be horseback riding, but there will also be other activities besides riding horses. There will be games that will not only be fun, but also teach children a little something about the horse they are riding.
The ranch is 10 acres with a pond that will hold fishing tournaments for the children. On the pasture there is a course set by rings for the children to improve their body movement.
What inspired Gordon to build her Dream Ranch happened while she was on tour with NASCAR. There were always charity events for the drivers to get involved with, but NASCAR always got Tina involved with mostly childrens charities. She said one of the best feelings she got from the experience was being able to walk into a room and put a smile on a childs face.
After racing had ended, she wanted to keep that feeling going.
To help keep her feeling going, Gordon got help from several area businesses to help with the project.
Buddy Barkley Construction donated his Bob Cat to help put in the fence. John Payne chipped in his bulldozer and cleared the land for the pasture and corrals. Builders Supply of Fort Payne donated posts for the corrals, all of which helped Tinas Dream Ranch become a reality.
For the Gordons, watching a parents reaction with a smile on their faces and tears in their eyes after their child accomplished something is a big reward for them. They get great pleasure from watching both the parents and the children complete something they never thought was possible.
More information on Gordon's Dream Ranch can be found at www.tinasdreamranch.com