‘On the horse, she’s in control’
Equine-assisted therapy programs are available at Habitat for Horses in South-East Texas. Contact our office at 409=935-0277 for more information. ~ HfH
From: Amarillo Globe News
By: Mollie Bryant
Equine therapy helps improve health, quality of woman’s life
Months ago, Joann Schultz was worried she might lose her daughter, Pam, to failing health. But several months of equine-assisted therapy have transformed Pam into a healthier, more independent and communicative person.
Through sessions at 7 Star Therapeutic Riding Center, a nonprofit that provides therapeutic riding and equine-assisted psychotherapy, Pam, who has cerebral palsy and is mentally and physically challenged, has started a love affair with horses and has begun a new relationship with her parents.
Last year, Pam, 53, lost about 70 pounds and was unable to eat, but doctors had no answers for her parents when they took her to the hospital. A nurse asked Joann whether she planned to take Pam to hospice.
Joann told the nurse they were taking Pam home, but she and her husband suspected the worst — Pam’s body was shutting down.
“We could tell that that was what was going on, and we had resigned ourselves to the fact that we had her 53 years and we might have to let go,” Joann said.
A Realtor, Joann was showing a home to Rachael Wade, executive director of 7 Star, in December, when the pair realized they had something in common. Wade’s son also has cerebral palsy, and she introduced Joann to the idea of equine therapy.
“She put her on the horse the first time, and it was instant love,” Joann said. “… She couldn’t wait until the next session.”
Exercises to strengthen Pam’s arms, legs, core and cognition have opened up her independence, said 7 Star instructor Colleen Vermeulen.
“When she gets on the horse, she’s in control,” Vermeulen said. “She’s on top of the world, and apparently that’s what she needed to open up her mind to realize that ‘I can do stuff.’”