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Our daughter Ella started riding at the EquiCenter when she was just two and a half years old. Now six years old, she has participated in every session of every season, winter, fall, summer, and spring, since she started riding in March of 2013. It has never crossed our minds to not make the forty-minute drive once a week, as riding at the EquiCenter is essential for OUR family. For Ella, I consider riding a medical necessity.

Ella has a rare genetic syndrome called Pitt Hopkins Syndrome and from that, she suffers from severe gastrointestinal issues. Riding helps Ella to work through some of the pain that she suffers. It also provides Ella with a number of other opportunities. 

Six years ago when we received our diagnosis, the doctors told us that Ella most likely would not walk or talk, and would be severely developmentally delayed. Today, Ella is taking independent steps to get onto her horse. We attribute this monumental success to our friends (staff, volunteers, and the horses) at the EquiCenter.

In addition to the physical benefits that are associated with horse therapy, a gift that Ella receives each riding session is the enormous amount of love that surrounds her. Ella is nonverbal but has her own way of communicating and that is brought out through the love and trust that she receives from everyone at the EquiCenter. 

Ella’s team knows her noises, hand movements, picture card cues, and many other ways that she communicates. Everyone at the EquiCenter has become more than a group that provides services for our daughter, they are our FAMILY.

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