At just over a year of age my daughter, Ellie was diagnosed with a rare condition known as Cerebellar Hypoplasia. She was very delayed in all of her gross/fine motor skills and speech. Her core area was especially weak. After starting physical therapy over at Carilion, her PT recommended we try something new called, Hippotherapy, and thought my daughter would be a good candidate for this program at Healing Strides.
Ellie was only two at the time and didn’t enjoy it at all at first. It was just a little scary sitting up on the horse. However, we soon noticed HUGE improvements in her core area. All of a sudden our daughter could raise herself to a standing position and maintain balance. She could pull herself up on pieces of furniture that she could never do before. She started using utensils for eating with more proficiency. Not only was she much improved physically, but her speech started to improve as well. There are words and sounds she says while on the horse that we can’t get her to say throughout the rest of the week. It’s as if it wakes her brain up.
Ellie is now three and has been through three sessions of Hippotherapy at Healing Strides. I can say, without a doubt, that it’s the best therapy she does on a weekly basis. It hasn’t just improved her core area and speech, but has given her more independence and confidence that she wouldn’t otherwise have at this point. She now LOVES going to Hippotherapy each week and enjoys riding these beautiful, caring horses that have now become her friends. The staff and volunteers there truly love their job and can never get enough of seeing all of these kids and adults make improvements both physically and mentally. We’re looking forward to our next session starting in the Spring.
Being a part of Healing Strides has been an extraordinary experience. The horses and people are amazing! This is my haven and everyone here is my family. Dewey, my partner, helps me as much as others and this is the best feeling ever! To say the least, my heart belongs to Healing Strides!