For Sara McLaughlin, working with special needs kids “just felt normal” as a result of growing up with a sister who has an intellectual disability. Sara McLaughlin started her career in therapeutic riding as a volunteer at age 14. Sara always aspired to work with horses but wasn’t interested in competing in shows, her interests lie in getting other people to be excited about horses. “I was a horse crazy girl and this was a way to have access to horses” says Sara about why she started doing therapeutic riding. In 2005 Sara joined the team of PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) riding instructors at the Equicenter Ranch in Rush, New York where she teaches mainly young kids with intellectual disabilities. Through the horseback riding Sara is able to help her students with their physical strength and their social skills. While being horse crazy started her profession, what kept Sara invested in her job is “being able to see the little miracles every day”. One such miracle that Sara witnessed is when Cailin McKemzie, a student, spoke her first word, “barn” after her second riding lesson. Many of the people that Sara teaches have been with her for many years, some having taken lessons for as long as 12 years. Sara creates strong personal bonds with her students and makes sure to keep the lessons light hearted in order to keep it from feeling like therapy. “She embraces the silly” Kelly Wurster says, the mother one of Sara’s students. While her co-worker Lindsay Alberts says the hardest part of the job is teaching people with degenerative conditions, for Sara the worst part is the lesson notes she has to make after each class. Sara doesn’t like to focus on the struggles that her students face, but rather on the progress that they are able to achieve during each lesson. Each person that Sara teaches has their own set of difficulties and figuring out the best teaching method it is a welcome challenge that Sara faces every day.