Maddy is a friendly, energetic 5-year old girl who loves life. For the past two years at Equestrian Connection, she has accomplished great gains from therapy on her pony, MJ. Prior to joining EC, Maddy made it clear she did not like traditional physical therapy. Her physical therapist then recommended hippotherapy (equine therapy). Maddy’s mom, Aimee, points out that from the start, EC has been “the warmest, most welcoming place ever.” Maddy immediately connected with the horses. Robin, Maddy’s therapeutic riding instructor, helps Maddy build strength by encouraging her to stand up tall in her stirrups and hit the arena’s balls as she is riding MJ. She also directs Maddy to reach for beanie babies and throw them into the arena’s games in order to improve her fine and gross motor skills. When asked how horseback riding has helped Maddy physically, Aimee notes that her stability has improved. “It dramatically helps her balance and core strength,” Aimee says. “She can walk up the stairs now, which is something we didn’t think she would do this quickly.” But physical strength isn’t the only thing Maddy has gained from riding therapy at EC. After using sign language to communicate for the past four years, Maddy has begun to speak. It helped her show Robin and her teachers at school that she is a very smart little girl. She now throws the requested color beanie baby into the bucket during a lesson and even verbalizes the color on her own. Pleased with her daughter’s ongoing progress, Aimee notes, “Her therapy rides seem to incorporate everything. It just got everything to work together. I don’t have to fight her to do physical therapy anymore—she’s doing it without even knowing.” Maddy is currently learning to write her letters. “We’re trying out using a small whiteboard during her riding therapy,” Aimee says. Aimee and Robin are hopeful that in addition to physical strength and speech, writing will be another skill Maddy learns to do while on horseback. “Maddy has the best time of her life when she’s here. She has three adults giving her all their attention. It’s her favorite half hour of the week.”
Special needs served by Equestrian Connection in 2013
We treat clients with a variety of special needs and offer rides to their family members as well. Some diagnoses include autism spectrum disorders, multiple sclerosis, emotional disorders, sensory processing disorders, speech and language disorders, behavioral disorders, paralysis, flexibility issues, Alzheimer's, and physical, mental and learning disabilities.