They are just two simple words: Walk On.
But to our eight-year-old daughter Veronica they are the words that have changed her life and ours. It has been a three-year journey, with every lesson at the EquiCenter a wonder.
Veronica was diagnosed early in her life with Development Coordination Disorder, a neurological condition affecting her gross and fine motor development, muscle strength, memory, and speech. Before the EquiCenter, there had been several failures in mainstream classes coupled with bullying in preschool, both of which damaged Veronica's self-confidence and demeanor. We hoped for a place where our daughter could just be a kid with an activity that would not end in tears, frustration, and fear. We joined the EquiCenter unaware of how riding a horse could help our child's neurological disorder, but desperate to find a physical activity at which she could succeed. We found that and much more at the EquiCenter.
The EquiCenter's patient instructors, special horses, and an amazing team of volunteers provide the nurturing environment Veronica needs. Therapeutic riding has helped improve Veronica's core muscle strength, coordination, flexibility, and balance, while also enhancing her communication skills, self-confidence, and independence. Her excitement to ride Angel and her supportive instructor quelled her fears that typically prevented her from doing the simplest of childhood activities, such as swimming, swinging, going down a slide or even leaving our side. In her very first lesson, Veronica spoke clearly, which was amazing considering her words were usually unintelligible!
The EquiCenter experience has also been full of valuable lessons for Veronica. She has felt the success and accomplishment achieved from her hard work. When she is scared to try something new, we remind her that only a brave girl can ride such a big horse! When she is sad and feels she has no friends in school, we remind her of her many friends at the EquiCenter, especially Maddy and Eliot, with whom she has been riding for about two years. Each week they are just three friends learning to ride and care for horses and each other. Whenever she is upset, we simply have her think how happy she feels at the EquiCenter.
Veronica has had many gains in her development over the last three years, and we are so very grateful to have become part of the EquiCenter family. We do all we can to support their efforts by helping with special events such as the volunteer appreciation party, the golf tournament and even simple gardening. We also donate to the EquiCenter whenever we can, as its programs only exist with the generous support of the community. We hope you, too, will consider a gift, enabling children like Veronica who are waiting to say those two little words: "walk on."
Your generosity will help change their lives forever in wonderful and unexpected ways. Gratefully yours,
Mary and Patrick Petty