Posts

We’re Thrilled, Dalton!

Image
  Last week we saw this sign posted on our school district’s Facebook page.  What a great way to start the school year! As I mused about children’s happiness my mind turned to our visits to Triangle Therapy Services earlier this month, I realized that the common thread in those visits was the beautiful smiles on the children’s faces. Dalton, all smiles Dalton’s smile is memorable. Last fall, his smiles, grins, and giggles, accentuated with his dazzling dimples, lifted our spirits. When we met him again a few days ago, he was just as radiant.   “He’s doing amazing!” his mom, Angie, says. Dalton was born with cerebral palsy and has been in therapy all his life. In addition to physical therapy during his hippotherapy this summer, he’s been in intensive therapy at Cincinnati Children’s since last summer when he underwent surgery. He’s since grown three inches in his legs alone! He’s recently had Botox injections in his legs to relieve the spasticity; he’s just getting used to the rel

Miller. Hard at Work

Image
Miller enjoying his job We gather outside the barn, leaning on the fence, to watch Miller at hippotherapy, while his brother, Andy, takes on the climbing wall in the playground behind us. Miller’s riding helmet covers his blond hair, and he’s hard at work this evening. While physical, occupational, and speech therapists create exercises that are also games, because children learn and grow through play, the tasks they design increase strength, ability, and coordination, and require concentration and effort. Miller was born with cerebral palsy and severe gastrointestinal problems. He’s undergone an ileostomy and he uses a wheelchair. At eight, he’s been doing therapy for years, and has received hippotherapy for the last two summers.  He’s in physical therapy at Triangle this summer, strengthening his core muscles tonight, including lots of reaching and stretching across Paco, his horse. These exercises improve Miller’s balance, strength, and coordination. It’s quite a workout, as Paco

Owen Owns the Arena

Image
  Owen, Enjoying Hippotherapy  Owen’s already perched on Paco’s back in the arena when we arrive at Triangle Therapy this evening, and from the look on his face, it’s clear that he thinks hippotherapy is THE way to do physical therapy. Mid-exercise, he looks up, smiling as he sees us lined up along the fence, and waves.   What a welcome!  We’re thrilled to see Owen and his mom, Amanda, again. Since last summer, when Owen’s hippotherapy was focused on speech, he’s made great progress, Amanda tells us. “Your gift made such a difference – his speech has improved so much!” We watch as he completes each task his therapist, Shannon, gives him. He’s riding backwards, up on his hands and knees, (can you do this?), enjoying every moment. “He’ll try anything he’s asked to do in hippotherapy – he loves it!” Mom says. “When we’re at home during the week, he’ll say ‘hippotherapy!’ and he’s ready to go.” Just a few weeks ago, Owen had a cardiology appointment. He’s doing well – no shortness of

Owen on the Trail

Image
  Owen, ready for a trail ride. "Owen has shown a tremendous draw to the horses during therapy time,” Margie Benge, of Triangle Therapy Services, wrote me when she recommended him for a Jacob’s Fund scholarship. When we met Owen in late October, nothing could have been more obvious. Once his mom, Amanda, had helped him out of his seatbelt, Owen made straight for the barn and his horse, Dusty. When he slowed down long enough for introductions, he smiled, waved, said hello, and then quickly returned his attention to Dusty. We understood – Jacob felt the same way about his horse, Major.   Fall hippotherapy is all about pumpkins! One of the most rewarding parts of our work with Jacob’s Fund is meeting the children and their families. They remain in our hearts, and we love sharing their stories. Amanda and Josh, Owen’s parents, have four children. This afternoon, Owen’s twin brother and little brother accompanied him to hippotherapy. They played on the playground while Owen rode Du

A Treat to Watch: Dalton’s Hippotherapy

Image
Dalton and Jack O'Lantern. Dalton’s five. When we meet him at Triangle Therapy Services shortly before his birthday, we are dazzled, not just by his delightful smile, but also by his dimples!  Joy radiates from this little boy. He picks up the jack-o-lantern at the entrance to the barn and holds it in front of his face and urges Bernie to take a photo of him. He giggles when his horse starts to trot - and we do, too! He grins triumphantly as he completes each task his therapist assigns him.   Dalton was born with spastic diplegic cerebral palsy. He’s been in therapy all his life. This summer he underwent surgery and therapy was interrupted while he recovered. Now he’s in intensive therapy and, under blue October skies, surrounded by the rich golds and reds of autumn trees, he’s back on a horse and loving it.  When You've Found the Pumpkins! Therapy, including hippotherapy – using the horse as a therapy tool – is hard work.  Dalton works at strengthening his core, balancing

Corbin, Beating the Odds

Image
Corbin grooming his horse We met five-year old Corbin,and his mom on a beautiful Thursday evening in the serene countryside in southwestern Ohio that Triangle Therapy Services calls home. As Corbin prepared his horse for the session – helping taking the horse from the stall, grooming him, completing all the necessary steps, we watched him carefully follow the pictured directions in order while we talked with his mom. Corbin had been up since 6:30 a.m. and spent the entire day undergoing a series of tests at a hospital almost two hours from home.   Mom said she could tell he was tired, but at 8:15 p.m. he had completed dozens of exercises his therapist had designed for him, including doing sit-ups and holding his hands in the air – all while balancing on the horse, laughing and smiling.   And he still had enough energy to play on the swings and the slide in the playground when hippotherapy was over. Therapy = fun on a horse This lively little boy fi

Miller, Back in the Saddle

Image
Miller, all beautiful smiles We at Jacob’s Fund find getting to know the children we provide scholarships to and their families greatly rewarding. We have missed that these past few months During the months of Covid-19 closures, both our partner facilities, McKenna Farms in Dallas, Georgia, and Triangle Therapy Services in Eaton, Ohio, have been providing telehealth therapy while working hard to ready their therapy centers for in-person therapy. In June, both centers had completed modifications and put in place safety protocols, including mask-wearing and sanitizing procedures, so that hippotherapy and therapeutic riding could resume. So we were excited to meet Miller and his family at Triangle Therapy Services early this week to watch his hippotherapy session. “How will we recognize him?” we asked Triangle’s director, Margi Benge. “Well, he’s an adorable little blond boy,” Margi told us.   Miller with his speech therapy team She is so right.