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I’m Not Dead Yet!

I’m Not Dead Yet!

Sometimes bad things happen to good people. Parents all have dreams for their children. Growing up, a child imagines being a princess or a hero. The power of our ambition can be limitless. We live in a country where we are taught that all things are possible. We are free to pursue our dreams and make of our lives whatever we can. We are surrounded by stories of incredible success and accomplishment.  How do some people make it, while others languish in despair? An important tenet of our great nation is that “all people are created equal”. Over the course of our lives, some of us enjoy perfect  health, the advantages of wealth, a fine education and a rewarding occupation. Some of us are born in poverty, raised by uncaring parents, or struggle with a debilitating illness or a crippling injury. Some of us do well because of our circumstances and some of us do well despite them. The worst disability is a bad attitude. No matter what hand we have been dealt, the quality of our lives in our own hands. We can be defeated by the unfortunate circumstances that befall us as we journey through life, or we can make the most of what we have to embrace that...

Horse Journey Accomplishments

How Access Adventure Began Sybil Dukehart retired in 2000, eighteen years after founding United States Driving for the Disabled, Inc. Michael Muir was called to succeed her as president. In 2001, Michael formed an international team of people with disabilities to drive wheelchair accessible horsedrawn carriages three thousand miles across America to promote accessible horse sports and therapy. In 2002, they drove their horses across northern Europe. In 2003, Muir and Cindy Goff followed the path of John Muir’s 1867 Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf, driving a wheelchair carriage with a single horse and two dogs. Michael and his team showed by example that disability does not mean inability. People enduring challenges can accomplish amazing things. “The worst disability is a bad attitude”, cites Michael. Muir retired as President of United States Driving for the Disabled in 2004 to found Access Adventure in California. His goal was to provide a regional model that demonstrates how to help the underserved throughout the United States and around the...

CURRICULUM VITAE (EQUUS) Michael Muir, Napa, California

2005-present: Founder/Director ACCESS ADVENTURE, an all-volunteer program enriching the lives of people with disabilities and other under-served members of our community by providing outdoor recreation, open space access, education and therapy through a working partnership with horses. This is America’s premier therapeutic driving program serving hundreds of participants each year. 2001-2004: President, UNITED STATES DRIVING FOR THE DISABLED, Inc. 2004: WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP FOR DRIVERS WITH DISABILITIES, Pairs, Individual Bronze (Grade I), Scotland. 2003: THOUSAND MILE JOURNEY TO THE GULF, drove wheelchair carriage with Cindy Goff from Louisville, Kentucky to Cedar Key, Florida. 2002: HORSEJOURNEY EUROPE, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany. 2002: CRITERIUM INTERNATIONAL, Champion, Pairs (Grade I). Amiens, France. 2001: JOURNEY ACROSS AMERICA, led an international team of equestrians with disabilities on a ten month, 3400 mile journey from California to Washington DC, driving wheelchair accessible horsedrawn carriages. 2000: WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP FOR DRIVERS WITH DISABILITIES, Champion Obstacles (Grade I) Austria. 1998: WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP FOR DRIVERS WITH DISABILITIES, Team Bronze, Germany. 1989-present: founder, STONEWALL STUD, developed and campained the Stonewall Sporthorses. 1987-1988: carriage program director, KAUAI LAGOONS, the largest commercial carriage program in the world, with more than 100 horses in harness. 1973-1986: founder, ALLENDALE FARMS, breeder of world record holders racing and National Grand Champions in the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. First Appaloosa stallion to earn $1Million, first Appaloosa stallion to earn $2Million. Many times leading sire. 1965-1972: founder, SUN VALLEY RANCH, breeding and showing Appaloosa horses. Michael Muir: 5075 Big Ranch Rd. Napa, CA 94558. (707) 999-1419....

PREPARING FOR LONG DISTANCE DRIVING ~ By Michael Muir

It all begins with the equine(s). Your horse, pony, donkey or mule must be properly trained, perfectly conditioned and absolutely sound to attempt any part of this journey. It is cruel to attempt long-distance driving with anything less. It takes a minimum of 120 days (four months) to condition your animal(s) for the trek. Make sure your driving companion (and you!) are prepared for the challenge of completing a walk-trot pace averaging five miles an hour for 20-25 miles per day. Then, please remember, no resting on the laurels of that achievement. You will do it again the next day (and the next!) before a days rest. You must also remember the considerable daily nutritional and caloric needs of your high-performance athlete. Learn what it takes to keep your driving friend fit and happy to continue each day before setting out on this journey. Your vehicle and everything you will carry horsedrawn must be an appropriate weight for your animal(s). Do not over-estimate their long-term draft capacity for at least four to six hours of driving each day, over varying terrain. Make certain your vehicle is sound for the demands of the journey and that you carry all appropriate spares and repairs. If you cannot keep up, your support vehicle must be adequate to carry you, your horse(s) and all equipment to the next stop. Practice, and seek the guidance of experienced mentors, to determine the ongoing daily capacity of your driving partner(s). Shoeing, or any alternative of hoof protection considered, must be tested to meet the mileage demands and exceptional wear that long-distance driving entails. The caravan will...