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Making Cindy Reddish Proud

Filed under: Current Articles,Featured,The Buzz |     

By Delores Kuhlwein

In January 2022, Trainer Cindy Reddish of Palm City, Florida, entered a stall to remove a horse’s blanket, and in the blink of an eye, her life was changed forever. The horse didn’t see Cindy come in, spooked, and kicked her in the middle of the back.

“Luckily, several people were there and she got immediate help,” explains Alexis Hart, Cindy’s niece. Cindy was airlifted to a trauma center, where they learned she’d suffered major spinal cord damage, resulting in her being paralyzed from the chest down.

As the horse community tends to do, however, everyone rallied around the barn.  “Everyone was ready to step in and help,” Alexis says. “Members of our local equestrian community even went so far to create a “Stand for Cindy” logo and put together a very successful fundraiser event at a local donated venue, Rock’n H Ranch. A trust was also set up in her honor. The love and support shown at this event was insurmountable and it was truly a magical evening. Donations were received from all over the country and included funds from both AQHA and NSBA. Cindy is forever grateful.”

Alexis adds, “One of Cindy’s dearest friends, Buddy Henn, went above and beyond and temporarily moved across the country to help out and just be there for her. Another friend and client, Lisa Longo, has used her background in physical therapy and continues to meet with Cindy weekly to work on her mobility. The list of support could go on and on!”

At the time of the accident, Alexis was in her senior year of college at UCF in Orlando, Florida, so all the clients got together to make ride schedules to ensure the horses were worked throughout the week, and Alexis would drive home every weekend to give lessons and ride until she could be there permanently as a fulltime trainer.

She had grown up showing youth with Cindy since she was 8 years old and knew her program well. Though she thought she might take the business one day, she didn’t expect it at age 22, fresh out of college.  “The great thing is that I was able to step in and have her there to be looking over my shoulder with everything I do, guiding me along the way, even if I get stubborn and don’t want to listen!”

So Alexis took the horses and clients to their first show following Cindy’s accident in April 2022. “It was definitely different being there without Cindy, but all of our clients were happy to be there, representing Cindy’s program and showing such great horses. However, I think Cindy’s accident affected our kids the most,” she explains. “The kids were close to Cindy and it was so much for them to take in. When it comes to training, it was a rocky start for me as we are so close in age and they looked up to me as an older big sister and best friend. I really had to establish an authority and the line between work and play. Once the kids and I established these boundaries, their success has multiplied. Every show we go to, the kids always say, ‘We need to make Cindy proud!’”

Amazingly, Cindy adapted and determined how to stay involved, eager to get back to the barn after rehab. She came to the barn a few hours a day to watch Alexis ride or give her lessons. “We would park her wheel chair van right in the middle of our front field and she would teach right from her van. She just recently got a new golf cart with hand controls so now she comes to the barn, gets in her golf cart, and drives all around the barn,” Alexis says. “She now sits out there for hours and hours teaching and watching me ride. She even likes to drive straight through the barn to make sure everything and everyone is up to par.”

While Alexis and the students were at the AQHYA World Show, Cindy was their biggest cheerleader, watching via live stream and calling Alexis after their rides. “We would even FaceTime her each morning before the kids showed just to hear her calming voice and get some words of encouragement,” Alexis reveals. “She was over the moon with the kids’ successes at this year’s world show. Seeing all 3 of our kids place in the top 3 of the level 2 working hunter was such a sentimental moment for all of us. They most definitely made Cindy proud!”

Looking forward, Alexis says she couldn’t picture anyone else taking over the role with Cindy’s guidance, as she knew she had to do it for the kids.  “If you know Cindy personally, then you know she is the most determined and dedicated person out there. I know she wants the best for me and she wants to see her program flourish even more than what it already has,” she says. Although this has been a lifestyle change for her, Alexis plans on taking over the training program and going to all the shows.

“In closing, I just wanted to personally thank each and every person and organization who has stepped up and shown Cindy support. The support has come in a variety of ways and we could not appreciate it more. Cindy has a long road ahead, but she has already grown by leaps and bounds and hopes to be attending horse shows soon!” Alexis says. Her recovery has come at a cost, and Alexis says they’ve made donations to Cindy’s trust easy.

“We set up a Venmo account and you can also mail items directly to her. The information can be found below. Again, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for all the love and support already shown!” says Alexis.

Cindy Reddish Trust
PO Box 1033
Palm City FL 34991

Venmo: @cindyreddishtrust

Readers can also follow Cindy Reddish Quarter Horses on Facebook to watch the barn’s success, or check out “Stand for Cindy,” also on Facebook!

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