A Pony and His Boy

 In Film, Filmmaker Profile

Julianne Neal is the Coordinator of Visual and Performing Arts for the Fairfield County School District. She works as the grants manager for the South Carolina Arts in the Basic Curriculum project and is partnered with the district Special Services department on a study that is determining the effects of the arts/film on the special services population.

Her expertise was wielded in one of the most amazing ways with a family whose 8-year-old boy with down syndrome has made best friends with a 28-year-old pony.

What exactly is down syndrome? In every cell in the human body there is a nucleus, where genetic material is stored in genes. 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, half of which are inherited from each parent. Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21.

Her film “A Pony and His Boy: The Story of Berry and Josh” shows the power of a pony and the effect that he has had on Josh, an 8-year-old with Down Syndrome. Josh had been afraid of animals, especially horses, all his life. Until one summer afternoon when he was walking with his mom and Lisa, did Josh say yes to riding a pony. The relationship that started between Berry and Josh that day has been life-changing, not only for Josh, for all those who love him.

Julianne filmed the beautiful story in Illinois, South and North Carolina. The 25 minute short is able to bring light the issues facing horses today. Many people have now found the power of horses to help them connect. Berry, the pony star of the film, teaches us that even though a pony may be old it doesn’t mean he can’t find a new job and be loved.

“A Pony And His Boy” has been selected to screen at the National Down Syndrome Congress in June.

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Article by Danika Firth

 

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