Below are just a few case histories.
Case Study One:
While we were extremely delighted to have a high number of re-turning clients to the program, nothing could have prepared us for some of our new clients. In particular, Justin Schmidt, a young Navy veteran, helped launch our participation in the Horses for Heroes program.
While on duty in Afghanistan, Justin was struck down by an aneurism in the back of his brain resulting in severe impairment to his nervous system and speech functions. When his mother brought Justin to Cadence physical therapist, Jeannie Aisenbrey, Justin focused on his strength, balance and coordination. He came twice a week and worked very hard.
In the beginning, he needed the aid of our side walkers to maintain his balance. But by the end of July, he was sitting straight and tall with ever increasing strength in his legs and torso. With Jeannie’s expertise and Justin’s extraordinary resolve, the transformation was nothing less than dramatic.
Throughout Justin’s summer therapy with Cadence, we helped him mount his horse with the aid of a ramp from which he settled down on to the saddle.
Then, his parents brought him to the Cowboy Gathering parade to participate with Cadence. That morning, Justin took a giant leap, as it were, on a dare. He handed his cane to his mother and, with a little help putting his left foot in the stirrup, he grabbed the saddle horn and mounted up. It was a proud day indeed as Justin rode in the parade with other Cadence clients and staff. It is safe to say, he is eager to rejoin the Cadence program in the spring. And we are delighted to be part of his recovery process.
Since then, he has shown more encouraging signs of improvement. Each little sign of improvement may seem like slow-going to Justin, but from our perspective, each step forward has been a dramatic one.
We have incorporated Horses for Heroes, which is a NAHRA program for the veterans in our area, into our general plan. Your support for this and other vital programs at Cadence will be most appreciated.
Case Study Two:
Phillip Cordova loves Cadence. Once diagnosed as terminal, he’s shown everyone, including the doctors, that he is more than a survivor. Phillip is ready for every challenge that comes his way. (See Phillip in the Movie on the home page.)
Phillip, a master horseman who, over the past several years, has suffered a stroke, heart attack, surgeries on both hips, and shoulder surgery. According to his wife Sharlette (he likes to call her, “Charlie”), when Phillip was at his lowest ebb medically and emotionally, the doctors said he probably wouldn’t survive.
She told them, in no uncertain terms, her husband was not a quitter and that she was taking him home. Since those difficult years, Phillip has been working hard with his physical therapists and doctors.
Then, in the early summer of 2008, Phillip decided “enough is enough” regarding the stationary bike. He knew it was time for him to get back on a horse. His physical therapist recommended Cadence to supplement his regular therapy. So Charlie brought Phillip to Cadence in mid-July. He enthusiastically embraced the chance to finally return to his love of riding horses.
In the beginning, he was unable to sit straight in the saddle, and it was also too painful for his legs and hips to get his feet in the stirrups. Within one month, thanks to his off-site physical therapist and his work with Cadence, he was sitting straight, and he could get one foot in the stirrup. From the beginning, when Phillip was in the saddle, there was a smile on his face to back up his determination.
As you can see in our video, by the end of the season, it was clear that Phillip’s never-say-die attitude, his knowledge of equine behavior and his expert horsemanship proved extremely valuable in his amazing progress in so little time. From the beginning, we also knew that the love between Charlie and Phillip would play a crucial role in his comeback. He’s very enthusiastic about working with Cadence again this season.
We have been able to accommodate students from two of the elementary schools in the area.
Riverview Elementary and Park Elementary brought some of their students, challenged in one way or another, to participate in the Cadence program. They loved the horses and the riding experience. For some for the first time.
It was really heartwarming to see their reactions as well as improvement in many areas. For the clients, improvements in physical health and mental outlook were gratifying us, as well. Our wonderful volunteers have stepped up to the plate to help make a very successful season and we give them our heartfelt thanks for all their wonderful hours. We could not do it without you guys!
Speaking of volunteers, how about you? If you would like to share your time and interest in bringing joy to others, we would like to hear from you. Please navigate to our Volunteer page.