Simon is in training to be a Special Olympics mount for Dawn Manning’s son Bryan, who suffered a traumatic brain injury eight years ago. Simon seems to sense Bryan’s condition, and displays remarkable patience and gentleness with him. In turn, Bryan has gained confidence and learned to be calm and precise when working with him, Manning says.
“It’s a match made in heaven,” she says, noting that Simon (JC: Moccasin Dancer) joined their family in October 2014. Prior to welcoming their “gentle giant,” Manning says she never would have imagined a retired racehorse would be just what the doctor ordered. But now, Simon is so fully integrated into the family that she declares, “He was a game changer.”