The EquiCenter is changing my child’s life. These seven words convey a heart filled with hope and joy for my son, Willie. Willie is diagnosed with a non-verbal learning disorder known as Autism Spectrum Disorder. He is delayed in his fine and gross motor skills and has “motor memory” problems, which means he can do something one day, and may not be able to do it the next. He also has difficulty “reading” people and their facial expressions, making him anxious and wary. But, because of the EquiCenter and its volunteers, we are watching all of this change before our eyes. Willie has been riding at the EquiCenter since September of 2005 and has made great strides in his physical capabilities. He has learned to balance on a horse and do a posting trot—a huge step forward for a child with balance and coordination issues.
But more than that, I cannot begin to tell you what this program has done for his self-esteem. When Willie first started at the EquiCenter, he was fearful and combative about riding and being around people he did not know. But the instructors and volunteers just kept calmly working with Willie to help him gain his confidence around horses and become less anxious around new people. I will always remember the first time he did a sitting trot on a horse named Charlie. As Charlie began trotting, Willie threw his head back in joyful laughter that I will never forget — it was complete joy coming from his heart. He kept saying, “Did you see me Mom! I didn’t fall off!” I was so proud of him, and I was so happy to see him genuinely happy that I was wiping away tears.
Please consider making a donation to help support the EquiCenter’s programs and its very special horses and staff. You too, can help change a child’s life, like the EquiCenter has done for my son, Willie.