A rider who I will call "Roberto" is a perfect example of the benefits available through participation in the Halleck Creek Ranch program. Roberto is a thirteen year old boy who has cerebral palsy. Roberto uses a wheelchair for mobility, but has great verbal and cognitive skills. While Roberto is a huge sports fan, he is unable to participate in sports activities with his peers at school. During his weekly riding session, Roberto is able to experience the freedom and mobility of therapeutic riding, which helps him loosen his spastic muscles. In addition to the benefits of the physical therapy, is the valuable time Roberto spends with a youth volunteer each week. For over an hour, Roberto gets to talk sports, compare notes on subjects at school, and bond with a peer.
While Roberto gains much from his involvement at Halleck Creek, Roberto's father also remarks at how much he enjoys his experience at the ranch. Not only does Roberto's father enjoy walking the trail with his son, he also appreciates the acceptance and positive atmosphere that greets his son each week at Halleck Creek. Finally, he values the opportunity to speak with the parents of other riders who understand his unique challenges, and can help him with his problems. Sometimes he feels that he is benefiting as much as his son.
Another illustration of the benefit of the riding program is a young rider I will call "Jane". Jane is a delightful five-year old girl with Down syndrome, who just started school. While Jane can walk, her balance and coordination are developing slowly, so her parents are excited about the ability of therapeutic riding to assist her development. Jane also struggles emotionally because she cannot keep up with her peers on the playground.
It was Jane's physical therapist that first remarked about Jane's improved walking ability one month after Jane had begun riding at Halleck Creek Ranch. She noticed that Jane was walking with more control and upright posture. In addition, Jane began to feel very empowered by her newfound mobility atop the horse. Her mood improved, and she began to engage more with her peers by telling them about her horse and the riding lessons she was taking.