We Got a Little Bit of Our Lives Back
Kade is a seven-year old boy who comes to Forward Stride each week for physical therapy with his therapist, Sheila. His mom, Kelsey, learned about Forward Stride from the barn where she rode prior to having kids. As a rider herself, she could appreciate the impact horses could have in a therapy setting.
When Kade was diagnosed with low muscle tone and delayed gross motor development, cause unknown, he was prescribed physical therapy. After one visit to a typical indoor clinic, Kelsey knew she had to find something else. “[It] felt so sterile. I wanted as much as possible for him to maintain a sense of a childhood outdoors, playing with animals, getting dirty and sweaty.” That’s when she remembered horses, and Forward Stride. “As a horsewomen I have personally experienced how powerful horses are in physical, emotional, and character development and wanted Kade to have that opportunity as well.”
Kade has accomplished a lot in his sessions with Sheila, from gaining enough strength to kneel on his horse, to developing the motor planning necessary to throw a ball back and forth. Sheila even helped to diagnose an eye muscle tone issue that was impacting Kade’s reading and overall quality of life. “I’m confident that this has changed the trajectory of his academic and overall life. We love being a part of this community.”
On March 12th, Forward Stride made the tough decision to temporarily shut down all in-person programming at the barn for the safety of the community. This temporary closure impacted everyone, not the least of which were therapy clients like Kade. “It felt like part of our family was gone. Going out to the barn and seeing the “neigh neighs” is a part of our family.” In the months following, when programs began slowly opening back up under a slew of new safety protocols, Kade and his family finally got to return. “It was like we got a little bit of our lives back.”
Kade, Kelsey, and the whole family love being in the Forward Stride community. “We are so grateful! We would consider Sheila a second mom to all of us, and have learned so much from her.” When asked what she hoped for the future, Kelsey said: “I hope that the community can continue to scale what they do so well and give more kiddos and families the opportunities that we’ve gotten to have. I personally am looking forward to being able to volunteer when the twins are older – and put the boys to work mucking stalls!”
A gift of $50 buys 10 bags of shavings that our volunteers use to bed our horse’s stalls every day after they muck. Happy horses mean better therapy! Consider a gift today!