22 February 2012

 Meet Arnie! 

Arnegger (Arnie) is a seven year old American Warmblood Pony and is one of the horses in Conrad’s weekly therapy led by Nikki Salzillo, Kathy Rubbo and Diana (Di) Hellgren.

Since a horse’s gait mimics how we walk, the team is working to “wake up” those muscles in Conrad while improving muscle strength and his range of motion.  Riding also provides sensory integration and promotes balance.

Per Kathy, “Riding is a tactile experience. The horse is warm and fuzzy.  But it is more than just a pony ride for Conrad.  His body and mind are obviously working. He is tired when the lesson is over.  He has started to squeeze my hand to indicate that he wants his pony to move. He laughs and coos and sometimes even “scolds” us if he thinks we are standing for too long.  He wants to “ride!”

Kathy was the Executive Director of Pegasus Farm in Hartville, Ohio where she and Di offered a variety of therapeutic riding programs.  Now Conrad benefits from their customized routine and a 3 to 1 therapist to student ratio!  Di also owns Stoney, Conrad’s back-up ride, a 21-year-old quarter horse that used to be a therapy horse in their Pegasus program.

Nikki, Arnie’s owner, explains the powerful connection:  “While I can’t quantify it, there is an energetic transfer that takes place between Conrad and Arnie.  We’ve witnessed that exchange when Arnie gets near Conrad.  Conrad “jumps” when he feels Arnie.   Likewise when Conrad is on board, Arnie is on his best behavior.”

Conrad is quite fond of his trainers too.  We are so blessed to have these ladies who donate their time to Conrad’s recovery.

Conrad was recently in the news.  Steve Spriester, anchor for KSAT relayed our story along with the promise the research holds.  Thank you Steve!



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