Filmmaker: Julianne Neal
A YOUNG BOY WITH DOWN SYNDROME AND HIS PONY
An award-winning, heartwarming story about an 8-year-old boy with Down Syndrome and a very special 28-year-old pony.
Directed by: Julianne Neal / 25 minutes
“A Pony And His Boy” has been selected to screen at the National Down Syndrome Congress.
“A Pony and His Boy: The Story of Berry & Josh”, directed by Julianne Neal, shows the power of a pony and the effect it has had on one small boy. Josh, an 8-year-old with Down Syndrome, had been afraid of animals, especially horses, all of his life. One summer afternoon, when walking in the pasture full of horses with his mom, she asked Josh “Do you want to ride?” When he surprisingly said yes, he was swept up and placed on Berry. The relationship that started between Berry and Josh that day has been life changing, not only for Josh, but for everyone who loves him.
Filmed in Illinois, North and South Carolina, plus featuring heartfelt testimonials and informative interviews, “A Pony and His Boy” is a testament to the power of the horse. A WINNIE Award winner in New York City!
What is Down Syndrome?
A nucleus resides within every cell of the human body. All genetic material is stored in this nucleus, as genes. These genes carry the codes responsible for all our inherited traits and are grouped along rod-like structures called chromosomes. Typically, the nucleus of each cell contains 23 pairs of chromosomes, inherited in equal parts from each parent. Down Syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21.
This additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristics associated with Down Syndrome. A few of the common physical traits of Down Syndrome are low muscle tone, small stature, an upward slant to the eyes, and a single deep crease across the center of the palm. However, each person with Down Syndrome is a unique individual and may possess these characteristics to different degrees, or not at all.
Source: National Down Syndrome Society https://www.ndss.org – Telephone: 800-221-4602 – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The EQUUS Film Festival hosted the Midwest Premier of “A Pony And His Boy: The Story Of Berry & Josh” at the ARCADA Theater in St Charles, Illinois. EQUUS also screened a selection of WINNIE Award winning Equine Therapeutic Riding and Healing Horses documentaries, direct from the EQUUS Film Festival in New York City.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKER:
Julianne Neal is the Coordinator of Visual and Performing Arts for the Fairfield County School District. She is also the grants manager for the South Carolina Arts for the Basic Curriculum project. This group has provided funding as well as awarding a Distinguished Arts Program Award that has provided cameras for this and other projects. They currently are partnering with the district Special Services department on a study to determine the effect of the arts/film on our special services population.
Co-Organizer of the festival is Diana De Rosa, an international equine photographer and journalist.
EQUUS Film Festival is proud of our partnership with Director Julianne Neal who has helped to create the Spotlight Rescue Series. We are working together to bring the issues facing horses today to the world, through documentaries highlighting some of the wonderful stories of horses helping people. This new film “A Pony And His Boy”, is one of those stories. Many people have discovered the wonderful ability horses have to break through the silence of Autism and the pain of PTSD. This film addresses Down Syndrome and the power of horses to help us connect. Berry, the pony star of the film, teaches us that even though a pony may be old, it still can perform a rewarding job and be loved.
ABOUT THE EQUUS FILM FESTIVAL
The sixth annual EQUUS Film Festival is the first event of its kind to offer a home to the storytellers of the horse world. It has presented films, documentaries, videos, commercials and shorts from around the world, plus cultural elements of fine equestrian art and literature. The EQUUS Film Festival highlights and rewards the diverse and creative efforts of those who pay artistic homage to the horse.
It was founded in 2013 by Lisa Diersen, Director/Organizer. An avid equestrian, she has spent her life in the company of horses. Lisa’s mission is to show the world how horses can bring everyone together regardless of race, age, gender, abilities or disabilities. She presently raises, trains and loves Lusitano horses in Maple Park, Illinois.
The EQUUS Film Festival is now available on demand, streaming to all your devices. For more information contact: Lisa Diersen, Founder/Director -email@example.com, 630-272-3077. Visit our website at: http://www.equusfilmfestival.net/ and our FaceBook page.
Text to the Poem “Welcome to HOLLAND”
By Emily Perl Kingsley
c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved.
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this……
When you’re expecting a child, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy guide books and make wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You learn some handy Italian phrases. It’s all very exciting. After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The flight attendant comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”
“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.” But there’s been a change in the flight plan. You’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that you’ve not been taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. You must learn a new language. You will meet a new group of people you never planned to meet. It’s just a different place. It’s slower paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all exclaiming about what a wonderful time they had there. For the rest of your life you will say, “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.” The pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very, very significant loss.
But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.