All children are miracles, a gift from God. My son Jordan is no exception. I often say he has a little extra
magic thrown in with the miracle. Jordan was born seven weeks early with all of his major organs compromised as a result of a circulation problem at birth. We were told not to get our hopes up for his survival. But after numerous medications, procedures, and tests, Jordan was able to come home after nine weeks in intensive care.
We weren’t sure what lay ahead for Jordan. Would he have some major life-threatening problems because of the trauma at birth? We knew we loved him and will be forever grateful for the gift of his life, no matter what the road ahead may bring. At nine months of age, the long road of therapy began for Jordan.
Today, Jordan is a five-year-old VERY energetic boy with a sense of humor that will have even the most stoic of people laughing. He also has cerebral palsy, sensory needs, and very low vision. Jordan’s arms are relatively strong, but his core muscles are weak and his leg muscles are tight. Jordan’s balance, coordination, and gait are greatly compromised.
When Jordan was three years old we looked into a new therapy for him called hippotherapy, physical therapy on a horse. At first, Jordan said, “No want horse.” We tried coaxing him to just pet the horse, but Jordan didn’t always like to touch things. This went on for the entire first lesson. After watching someone else ride, Jordan surprisingly said “Yes,” and then rode around the ring twice. I was thrilled. This truly was the beginning of a beautiful partnership between our family and the EquiCenter. Jordan has been riding ever since. After just a few sessions, we noticed an increase in language due to an increase in Jordan’s control of his body and diaphragm.
As I compare videotapes from the past two years of riding, the improvement is astounding. Jordan has increased the number of sit-ups he can do on the horse from 5 to 20. He can kneel on a horse for almost a minute and can stand for almost 30 seconds. This is slightly unnerving to watch, but for Jordan, his smile and sheer joy say it all. During all of these activities, the horse is constantly moving. Riding has given Jordan something that is all his. Jordan is clearly motivated to do his “work” on this wonderful animal.
Hippotherapy has been amazing for Jordan’s trunk control, upper body strength and increased range of motion. Jordan’s doctor has noted an improvement in the alignment of Jordan’s hips, which is rare and directly related to Jordan’s therapy on the horse. Jordan went from saying “no want horse” to “I love you, Macho.” He wraps his arms around Macho’s neck and kisses him. The EquiCenter is invaluable for Jordan and our entire family. Many family members come to cheer on Jordan, and I can see the pride on their faces. Jordan’s latest accomplishment is to ride around the ring balancing and supporting himself in complete control of his body. As he passes me, I see him sitting up tall with a big smile on his face as he says, “Look at me Mom, I’m doing it all by myself!”
It is now hard to imagine Jordan’s life without the EquiCenter. At this time of holiday gathering, we are so grateful for what we have as a family and for what the EquiCenter has brought into our lives. Please join us in supporting the EquiCenter for all of the “Jordans” who can, if given the opportunity, exceed expectations.
Your gift will truly make a difference in the lives of many, and will allow Jordan and Macho to continue to “Walk on!”