The Saddle Light Center has been a godsend for us. Our grandson has been adopted by us. He was physically, socially and emotionally delayed. His Physical Therapist suggested we look into horse therapy to see if a different type of therapy would help him break through where she had not. She told us about Saddle Light. Miss Kerstin evaluated him and we began therapy once a week about 4 years ago. When he began he had very poor core muscle control, severely speech delayed, he was painfully shy and had many sensory issues. … The first time he rode he had to have a side walker on both sides. 10 minutes would wear him out to the point he was asleep before we got home and remained asleep for 2+ hours on average. He had to be constantly reminded to sit up straight and required a western saddle for extra support. … Here we are four years later and he is a jabber box at horse therapy. He was able to gain such good control of his core muscles that he moved to an English saddle about 18 months after he began. He rarely has to be reminded to sit up straight in the saddle, he talks, he can balance standing up in the saddle…handle balls with odd textures that he couldn’t tolerate off the horse. He plays and jokes with [Kerstin] now. His Dr. and other therapists are especially pleased with the breakthroughs.
I just wanted to send you this note to thank you and the entire staff for your wonderful program and all it has done for Elizabeth. Even after her first lesson I could see an immediate improvement in her balance and walking. After her third lesson, her oldest brother, who doesn’t live at home and whom we only see once a month or so, and who didn’t even know she had started doing Hippotherapy came by, and the first thing he said when he saw her was “Hey, her walking has really gotten better since last time I saw her.” She WAS a little afraid of Big Red and being in the big barn when she first started riding. But, now after almost a year and a half of lessons, she loves him, and has no fear at all. I know this will translate into other areas of her life, and will pay off in her being willing to try new things and go places she isn’t familiar with. And when we talk about it she signs his name and her eyes just sparkle …helped her learn all her letters…helping her get her colors down…interacting with her side walkers…Hippotherapy dovetails perfectly with many of the things she is working on in speech and occupational therapy—pulling them together with a physical angle is truly synergistic.
The Saddle Light Center has been my son, Diego Losoya’s, Hippotherapy Provider for over 6 years….We hoped that the therapy sessions would encourage him to speak, increase his range of motion, and most importantly help decrease the scissoring of his legs when he walks. We thought if nothing else, Diego would love the horses. At every session they encourage Diego to use both hands…we do see this carry over to his daily task. He will now use his right hand to reach for items and use it as a helper. They have encouraged Diego to speak…his teacher reported that Diego was very excited about the horse in [a] story and called the horse Millie, the horse he rides at the Saddle Light Center. “Millie Go!” he repeated over and over. Diego has had one surgery to assist with spasticity in his legs. We really feel that the Hippotherapy has played a big role in his recovery and maintaining the results. He has been able to walk a longer distance, and his posture, balance, and range of motion have improved. We strongly feel that the sessions have improved not only his mobility and speech, but also his quality of life.
Matthew is a 24-year-old young man who was born with several mental and physical handicaps….this program has really helped him with balance and his self-esteem….about four years ago, his first horse was Poco. He learned how to get ready for his riding lesson, sit straight and tall while keeping his balance, give her commands, and dismount safely. Later, he started riding Schooner and learning more challenging exercises. He learned to walk in a straight line, in a circle, in a figure 8, and between poles. He began to add other things, such as the Frisbee toss, the bean [bag] toss, tossing rings on a pole, and to drop a letter in the mail box. Matthew has gained so much confidence, he is now able to demonstrate what he has learned in front of crowds attending fundraisers for the program. He feels like a real cowboy now.
Juan is an amazing boy. Juan has had many struggles … always feels as if his school and friends believe he is a “bad boy.” Juan has been diagnosed with ADHD with aggressive features…sensory and anxiety problems….I knew Juan was having problems showing his full potential. After learning about Therapeutic Horseback Riding, I felt excited…This was our alternative to help him in a natural way…to not go the route of medications. Juan is attentive…patient…maturity level has grown…anxiety level is slowing down…becoming conscious of his triggers. Juan feels as if he can conquer anything…anticipates coming to see his friend “Kai”…is doing something not many of his friends can do. I can only imagine Juan to continue to learn and grow from this amazing opportunity.
Riding horses has been very beneficial for Christopher. He began taking lessons at Saddle Light in September 2008. At that time, he didn’t like to venture out of the house very much, but he enjoyed going to Saddle Light and learning to ride the horses. Since he began his lessons, he has learned to sit up straight on the horse, and that has carried over into his day-to-day life. He has learned to follow directions better. Talking with the staff has honed his communication skills. He has learned to guide and direct the horse in a firm but gentle manner. His instructor, Stephanie, along with the other staff, is attentive to Christopher’s needs. … Saddle Light has been a blessing to us.
“Oh my Lord, what else can I do with my son? Theodore is growing up.” Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. In comes The Saddle Light Center for Therapeutic Horsemanship… Stephanie works with me and Ms. Joyce (Theo’s caregiver) to help Theodore memorize tools for grooming his horse Black Jack…When we would show Theodore the tools he would get so excited … Ms. Joyce and Theodore would play games with the vocabulary. This experience for Theodore has been awesome. He is excited about going to horse riding therapy…has gained independence by collecting his own supplies and returning to their proper place…has gained the ability to use his louder volume to direct Black Jack and uses his reins for guiding him. He has gained trunk strength and is able to dismount the horse properly. I had a need for my son to become more independent and reach the next level of learning. Thank you, Stephanie for pushing him to higher ground. Do Not Stop Now, who knows what God has in store for Mr. Theodore.
Juan is an amazing boy. Juan has had many struggles…always feels as if his school and friends believe he is a “bad boy.” Juan has been diagnosed with ADHD with aggressive features…sensory and anxiety problems….I knew Juan was having problems showing his full potential. After learning about Therapeutic Horseback Riding, I felt excited…This was our alternative to help him in a natural way…to not go the route of medications. Juan is attentive…patient…maturity level has grown…anxiety level is slowing down…becoming conscious of his triggers. Juan feels as if he can conquer anything…anticipates coming to see his friend Kai … is doing something not many of his friends can do. I can only imagine Juan to continue to learn and grow from this amazing opportunity.
The horse therapy has made a very big difference in my daughter. The biggest change I have seen is her body is not as rigid—she is more active and that allows her to interact more with her brothers and sisters. Her muscles and tendons are loose! I am thankful for your help and hope you continue with the program in order to give the special needs population a better quality of life.
Many thanks to volunteer Sylvia Apodaca for translating this message.