Our Success Stories

Luis — Age 18

We are proud to introduce you to one of our riders, Luis. His Spastic Quadriplegia Cerebral Palsy means his only way to get around is with the use of his power wheel chair.  His original diagnosis was worsened by the lack of services available to him which also prevented him from learning to speak until he was 14 years old.   

At age 18, Luis developed the desire to ride a horse.  However, at his evaluation he lacked sufficient range of motion in his hips to be able to sit astride of a horse.  With absolute determination, he worked for an entire year in physical therapy to gain enough movement in his hips and trunk control to sit on a horse. 

Luis then began a new and exciting phase of his life.

Luis had his first ride in November 2018.  Since then, he has gained sufficient movement and control to help his mom transfer him from his chair to his bed and is now also able to roll himself over while in bed.  His progress is an amazing testament to the unique work that humans and horses do together at Ride to Walk.

Donovann — Age 13

Donovann, now 13 and a 7th grader at Western Sierra Collegiate Academy, has come a long way from when he started the riding program at Ride to Walk almost 8 years ago. Physically, we have seen a major improvement in his muscle tone, coordination, and capabilities. As a parent you long to see your child confident and happy. Sometimes I drop him off and he is rushing to the gate, other times he drags his boots through the dirt and won’t look up, but I always get him back with a smile on his face and a fire inside him. Something is working.

I will forever be grateful for Dr. Corn telling me what no one else did, “there is always hope” and we have clung to that through the years of tribulations, doctor appointments, tests, evaluations, therapy and strategy meetings. No matter what others would say to us about his limitations or diagnosis, I would always remind myself that “there is always hope.” His developmental delays never stopped us from helping him “try and do.” The equestrian therapy has been fantastic, but there is so much more to his experience here: developing self-confidence, verbal and non-verbal communications, friendships and bonds, as well as participation in demonstration riding.

Donovann says, “Horseback riding has made me more comfortable around animals. When I was about 5 when I first came to Ride to Walk. At first, I didn’t want to go near the horse since they are so huge. Then I got to know them more and we became friends. I am an independent rider now and I can bridle and tack my own horse. Wendy challenges me with some difficult tasks, but when I am on a horse I feel strong and confident.”

We have seen him overcome some huge hurdles thanks to Ride to Walk. From a kid who couldn’t step on wet pavement or get his head wet, he begged for a chance to go through the mud pits at the Mud Run. The bonding he does with his horse is like nothing else we can give him. Ride to Walk has been a blessing in his life and overall development in so many ways. There is an awesome kid in there and he is coming out slowly but surely.

Thanks for helping us share him with the world.