‘Having a passion for something is half the battle with anything in life.’
Matthew and Kim Pestour, Melville
“We really didn’t know my son was deaf until he was 3 years old, when he started talking with deaf speech. He got tested and they told us he was profoundly deaf. One day we’re in a toy store going down the aisle, and there was a whole board of little plastic horses, and he just saw them and pointed. We got one. And every week we’d go back and get a different breed. Then he started watching ‘The Lone Ranger.’ He didn’t watch cartoons. That’s what he was watching when he was a little kid. So, he’s always been a cowboy at heart. I said he was born on the wrong side of the country. It should have been out West. When he was 3 years old, he started getting therapy on horses. So, what a great opportunity!
“As he got a little older, he started taking English riding lessons. There was a girl learning sign language, so she was his instructor. What really was the catalyst to all of this was in high school, BOCES has a horse care and stable management program. So he started taking that in his junior and senior year. And he was the first deaf kid to ever be in the program. He was in the running for a Vanguard Award from the New York State Nontraditional Employment & Training program. The program got him an internship at an equestrian facility, and then he volunteered there for a few years after he graduated high school in 2007. And then he landed a job there doing what he loves! He wakes up every morning at 4, gets ready and takes care of all the animals.
Through him, I’ve learned so much about horses, and I’ve just seen him grow.
“I’m proud that he has the initiative to do what he wants to do. And his work ethic. Through him, I’ve learned so much about horses, and I’ve just seen him grow. He’s created a Facebook group about Sulphur mustangs with 1,500 members — just about this one breed of mustangs. He also has been a volunteer with the Bureau of Land Management, which has wild Mustang auctions. So he’s been in love with wild mustangs for a very long time.
“In 2021, he finally adopted a horse. The horse is in Utah right now being trained, a wild horse, and his name is Jack. He’s being gentled so that when we go back this year, he’ll be able to ride him and then maybe one day bring him here. That’s his passion, Jack. I think having a passion for something is half the battle with anything in life.”
Interviewed by Jay Max