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Horses Bring Healing to Gamecock Alum Singmaster
Equestrian  . 

Horses Bring Healing to Gamecock Alum Singmaster

Dec. 7, 2016

The following article is republished from the Dec. 2, 2016 edition of The Equine Chronicle. The original version of the article can be found here.

For many of our friends in the horse industry, the names Taylor Singmaster and Jack Drove A Bentley will be familiar. Congress Champion, NSBA World Champion, NSBA Youth President, University of South Carolina Equestrian are just a few of 27-year-old’s accomplishments garnered during her time spent in the horse show world.

However, the devastating loss of her father, coupled with the loss of her friend, Alex Blackwood, in the same year, cut her horse showing career short. Since that time, Taylor’s life has taken several interesting turns, all of which has led her to this moment.

Alex died just six months before Taylor’s father also passed away, back in 2008, effectively ending her horse show career and creating a huge hole in the fabric of her family. Thankfully, Taylor was able to keep her favorite show horse, Jack Drove A Bentley, who was moved to a therapeutic riding facility in Pennsylvania where they both met a little boy named Jack.

“Jack is the light of my life! He’s nine now, but he was four at the time. Jack has Down syndrome. During this time, when I could find no light, no happiness, no beauty, Jack saw it everywhere. I started following him around with my camera, and, all of a sudden, I saw it too. It sounds dramatic, but Jack saved me… just like my dad and Bentley had done so many times before.”

“For me, photography was a way to time travel, to capture a story within a frame that you could visit again and again. Ever since I lost my father, photography has stood to remind me that while we cannot change the past, we can keep its stories with us as we live the present and endure the future.” Fast forward to present day, Taylor’s relationship with Jack has allowed her to see firsthand exactly what the healing power of horses can do in all of our lives, especially those with physical disabilities and mental illness. “Horses have always been a huge part of my life. I honestly tried so hard to push them away, but I can’t shake the undeniable fact that they make me the person I am and the person I want to be.”

Taylor’s relationship with Jack inspired her to create a series of photographic art pieces that helped her get into graduate school. It also helped her land a gig with PALS Programs, a nonprofit organization that facilitates summer camps for young adults with Down Syndrome. That led to her involvement with an inclusive school in California, Up Academy, while she pursued her PATH certification to become a therapeutic riding instructor. “Up Academy is for all kids. We don’t see labels like ability, disability, slow learners, gifted, English as a second language, ect. Instead, what we see is innovative, empathetic, strong children who deserve personalized and project based learning.”

“My 14 Saturday students make my life! A 21-year-old camper, who’s dual diagnosed with Down Syndrome and Autism, spoke his first words because of the influence horses had on him! I think I cried for days!”

“I’ve always been interested in starting my own center for therapeutic riding. I think I have a lot to bring to the table with my background and have some ideas about how to make it a more unique and meaningful experience. I think we have this huge resource of GOOD people and AMAZING horses, and we need to do something with it.”

“I’m honestly not sure what it is just yet. Part of me envisions a retreat that’s tied to AQHA, wellness, and horses… Part of me sees something involving the trainers, retired horses, and horse shows themselves. I’m not sure. What I am sure of though is that this is my life’s purpose. I am the voice that’s needed. I am knowledgable, passionate, and unafraid to ask for what I want. I want a change to be made, and I need it to benefit the wellness of humanity and our community through the untapped potential we’re privileged enough to know that horses possess.”

Taylor is still searching for the perfect way to blend her passions and execute her mission. She’s looking for networking opportunities, interested collaborators and avenues for her long term goals. If you’re interested in connecting with Taylor, she can be reached at or