Photo of the Week: A family’s game changer

Dawn Manning and Moccasin Dancer share a tender moment.

Dawn Manning and Moccasin Dancer share a tender moment.

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.”

11 responses to “Photo of the Week: A family’s game changer”

  1. Tara Weaver

    So happy to have been a small part of this amazing story…these are the wonderful stories that need to be shared in the horse industry. Love you all ..

  2. Lisa Neely

    Gorgeous image and sentiment

  3. June

    My horses were wonderful and we saved each other over the years. I had 2 minis’ after that and will never forget them. Spring is when I miss them most. May your horse live many happy years.

  4. Cheryl Messores

    I will always be glad I looked at Craigslist and Cassie recognized her old buddy from a schooling barn when they were giving him away. Dawn and Simon are a perfect match.

  5. Rebecca


  6. cindy

    It is a bond that is not describable to others, yet the horse and the child know it exists.

  7. Michelle Y.

    What a sweet photo!

  8. Cynthia

    What a great picture and beautiful souls! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Lynne Jones

    God Bless you Simon. You were truly an angel in waiting. May all your time together be blessed and enjoyable. Dawn, thank you also for giving this lovely horse a great home that he enjoys daily.

  10. Dawn Manning

    I cried when I saw this, this morning… because its true.

    We LOVE him and we can tell he loves us too!

    We can’t thank Cheryl and Cassie Messores enough for helping us find each other.

  11. Victoria Racimo

    This picture says a thousand words….but thanks to you, Susan, for picking up this story, and getting it “out there”.

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