When Carlianne joined UCP Saddle Pals – an adapted horseback riding program – at age 5, she could barely walk without falling over.
After just one year of riding, Carlianne could not only walk without falling, she could climb onto her horse.
“The horse motivates her,” said Carlianne’s mom, Rachelle. “Her physical therapist can ask her to do something 10 times in the office, but when she’s doing it on the horse, it’s different.”
But with government funding for the program completely cut, Rachelle relies on the community to keep the horses – and her daughter – in the ring.
“These services are the reason Carlianne has a chance of performing anywhere close to the same level as other kids,” Rachelle said. “Cuts to programs cut her chance to be like other children.”
Learning to ride a horse can help improve coordination, balance and posture, and it helps the student to develop better self-awareness and self-esteem.