Our sweet and special four-year-old son, Evan, faced broad developmental challenges stemming from congenital heart disease. In spite of the best efforts of our committed medical and therapeutic teams, our son’s self-confidence had become pretty much non-existent, and he was feeling isolated, uninspired, and profoundly lonely. His skyrocketing anxiety was severely hampering our therapeutic efforts. We were becoming stressed and discouraged. We knew we desperately needed at least a supplement to Evan’s regular therapy program. Based upon multiple professional referrals and plenty of research, we landed at Forward Stride, where Evan started the hippotherapy program in early 2011.
We were intrigued and impressed by the diverse range of programs that Forward Stride offers to all ages and abilities. And we thought that combining Evan’s enduring love for animals and his desire for fun with his therapies was worth a shot. We were so right! From day one, Evan’s pure joy has been a blessing for all to witness. Evan still has no idea that the “funny games” and “circus tricks” he does on horseback at the “horse farm”—about as non-clinical an environment as one could hope for—have helped him gain strength, coordination, and balance. The exponential growth in his self-confidence alone has been remarkable. And we have been rewarded with measurable results.
The amazing animals at Forward Stride play a huge role in our son’s developmental growth. And the people at this facility are just as wonderful and influential. We have sensed that the dedicated and professional staff truly cares about our beautiful boy and, in turn, us as a family. And Evan really appreciates the good folks he calls the “horse ladies,” the dozens of committed volunteers who never fail to treat him with love, interest, encouragement, and respect.
Forward Stride has become a sanctuary of sorts for our entire family, giving us fresh air and an idyllic setting, along with developmental growth, healing, and hope. While Evan continues to face medical and developmental challenges, the team at Forward Stride feels like a supportive family to us. We have firmly resolved to offer our support in return as much as we possibly can.
We are so very proud of our little boy, and more importantly, Evan is so proud of himself. We have the animals and the people of Forward Stride to thank for that.
All the best and happy trails to you,
Sonia, Eric, and Evan Redmond Hillsboro, Oregon
In 2013 around his fifth birthday, Evan graduated from hippotherapy at Forward Stride. Now he’s riding Pippen each week in our Riding Program.