Our daughter, Ellie, has been riding at Healing Reins since she was 2. She’s now 14! Her physical therapist of the past 12 years, Georgia Merrifield, retired and Ellie now sees Laurie Schick for Hippotherapy with Aesir every Thursday.
Ellie was born with Phelan-McDermid Syndrome and Autism. She is non-verbal and has low muscle tone. When Ellie first started Hippotherapy, she looked like a little rag doll with no muscle control. Ellie did not walk until she was 3; riding helped strengthen her muscles so she was able to walk on her own.
Ellie also has learned to communicate with her horse by giving him commands. Ellie looks forward to her Thursday rides, and this experience has brought so many smiles and joy not only to Ellie, but to our entire family as well.
Thank you for supporting the Healing Reins scholarship program in honor of Ellie and Aesir’s special bond.
Renae G., Ellie’s mom
When Aesir* was first brought to Healing Reins for trial as a therapy horse, he had a bouncy walk/trot— which is desirable in Hippotherapy—and a penchant for cart driving. He truly loved cart driving, at which he excelled, but he needed to be schooled for his second career as a therapy horse.
Years ago, I used to ride and compete in dressage, but due to an automobile accident injury, I had given up riding. Encouraged by other Healing Reins volunteers, I signed up for a weekly volunteer riding class and gingerly made my way back into the saddle. To my astonishment, I was riding again.
Thus began Aesir‘s and my second chances at Healing Reins. He’s thrived on the challenge of learning basic dressage under saddle; he comes to the gate to greet me, and he’s offended when I fetch other horses. He’s still a clown and loves to play, and he’s happy with his work at Healing Reins. Like me, he’s immensely grateful for being given a second chance.
(*Aesir means a race of Norse gods or a Norse deity.)
Jennifer D., Volunteer