Enhancing Independence

Visiting the arena at Camp Courage is Jordan’s favorite time of the week – which is clearly evident in his smiles and giggles each time he is in the saddle at True Friends Therapy and Adaptive Riding.

“When Jordan first arrived, he had very little trunk control or core activation of his muscles. After a few short months, he became more vocal, and his muscles started firing,” Shari Mangas, Director of Therapy and Adaptive Riding, shared. “When the horse is moving at a walk, a participant can get all of that activation in their core in a one-hour session that they couldn’t get in a traditional therapy setting.”

Jordan’s mom, Mandy, said that the program has impacted their family so much because riding has made Jordan happier, and has shown him more of what he can do.

“For awhile, he stopped talking at all,” Mandy shared. “And now he’s saying ‘mama’ again, and a lot of other vowels we haven’t heard from him before.”

Jordan especially enjoys the basketball activity during his lessons – which allows him to continue to build core strength and fine motor skills. He also loves going on trail rides with his favorite horses, Tuff and Kal.

“It just has so many benefits,” Mandy shared. “When you ride the horse, everything in your brain lights up, and it’s easy to do a hand-over-hand teaching. And that’s basically what we’re doing now with him.”

Mandy has also enjoyed the opportunities that the program has provided for her to connect with other families and caregivers, and to learn about their experiences with their own children, which has given her new ideas about how to help Jordan achieve his goals. She added that the environment is great for relationship building, and that it has helped to create a sense of community – both for herself, and for Jordan.

“This program has greatly impacted us because we see how much happier he is and how much more he can do,” Mandy said. “It’s also nice meeting with other families that you can connect with. I think that anyone that came here would really enjoy it.”


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