Contributors to the Zoe Ruth Memorial Fund
Zoë’s Trail has been constructed in memory of Zoë Louise Ruth in an attempt to preserve her life and use her passion to help others for years to come. It begins with the lion, as it was Zoë’s favorite zoo animal, takes you through the water as we travel to the numerous beaches she visited, and passes through a butterfly garden that she enjoyed with her grandmother. As you can imagine, we have made Zoë’s Trail as interactive as possible. We still have work to do in constructing sensory boxes into her favorite stores and restaurants, purchasing animal decoys for the nature section, financing and installing a boundary fence and numerous other things that all add up.
At Heavenly Gaits TRC, Inc. we utilize indoor and outdoor arena’s to teach a wide array of equestrian skills. However, there are some skills that simply cannot be learned from an enclosed area. We often take our lessons to the trails where riders experience obstacles only found in nature. This provides a new and deeper communication between rider and horse as they explore various terrain and wildlife.
As a newly founded organization, our trails are a “work in progress,” and are in need of some gentle boundaries and maintenance to keep both rider and horse safe while exploring the trail. With the loss of one of our riders and the support of her family we have been led to the construction of a “sensory trail.”
Sensory trails can be created with a very specific audience in mind; however, their unique designs can open doors for any rider. Children and adults experiencing a Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) misinterpret information, such as touch, sound, and movement which affects their ability to plan their actions. Such sensory-processing differences influence the social, emotional, and cognitive functioning of individuals.
Goals for each rider vary. However, sensory trails lend themselves to assisting riders in developing motor planning as well as fostering appropriate responses to all sensations in an active, meaningful, and positive manner. With such experiences, individuals are able to perform in a more functional manner throughout everyday life.
Nature has many sights, sounds, smells, and textures that create a rich sensory environment beneficial to any rider and those that assist with lessons along the trail. We will embrace all that nature has to offer and enhance our trails with varied footing, slopes, turns, and man-made “activity stations.” Trees, flowers, and hedges will be strategically placed along the trail to create varieties of colors, textures, scents, and in time, wild life. Activity stations will be constructed to further integrate various senses, motor planning, and cognitive problem solving skills.
Sensory trails may be designed to stimulate the senses, but provide endless opportunities to explore balance, communication, and therapeutic riding. In our design, we hope to capture the memories and life of our fallen rider in an manner that positively affects others for years to come. Such projects take a great deal of planning, funding, and man power. Our organization prides itself in community involvement, and finds this trail as a chance to bring people together in celebration of the life of Zoë Ruth.
Words can never fully convey the feelings of the heart; and somethings just go far beyond them. It’s a smile that could brighten even the darkest of days or the laugh that resonates through your very core. Our hoofbeats may be many, but our hearts join as one; we celebrate the life of a spirited little cowgirl that just loved to ride. The prints she has left on us will live on as we draw close to her memory.
On behalf of Heavenly Gaits TRC our deepest sympathy goes out to the family of Zoe Ruth.
“Carve your name on hearts, not a monument.A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.”