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Chapter 19: Kate—Paralysis, Auto Accident

Naomi Scott University of North Texas Press PDF

Chapter Nineteen

Kate—Paralysis, Auto Accident

Kate Stuteville was a good athlete. She had fun in the first grade, particularly while playing sports. She was also a good student and enjoyed learning. Before she knew it, the first semester ended and holiday vacation had come. More fun times for Kate—her first Christmas as a student, not just a little kid any more. Neat things under the tree, like cool sweaters to wear to school and other grown-up items. She was anxious to go back to school. It would be another week, which seemed like a long time to a six-year-old.

It would be a long time before Kate entered a classroom again. The day after Christmas, an automobile accident sent her to the hospital. A spinal cord injury kept her there for two and a half months, paralyzed from the waist down. Tragically, the injury was complete. Kate could not walk.

Her fighting spirit, however, suffered no damage, if anything emerging stronger than before the accident. Only ten days after her release from the hospital during spring break, she went back to school, courageously tackling a new, unknown life in a wheelchair.

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Chapter 7: Procedures for Riding Sessions

Naomi Scott University of North Texas Press PDF

Chapter Seven

Procedures for Riding Sessions


The best approach to initiating a riding program is to contact NARHA to locate the nearest center. Call the center and have a preliminary discussion with an instructor or therapist about the candidate’s history.1

NARHA’s “Precautions & Contraindications” delineate physical conditions which could possibly lead to adverse effects from riding. Guidelines set down specific safeguards to be followed, or stipulate if the candidate should not ride.2

Upon determination that guidelines are met, the new client or family member is advised to request a doctor’s release to ride, and, if hippotherapy is indicated, a prescription for physical, occupational, or speech therapy.3 There is possible insurance coverage, for which the individual company should be queried. Various grants, government and private, are offered. Information about availability, and qualification requirements, can be obtained from the center or NARHA.

The next step is to visit the center. The instructor or therapist gathers information about the client’s capabilities and limitations, utilizing questions and an examination based on knowledge of human anatomy, and determines which match of horse and equipment will provide the most benefit.

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Chapter 18: Larry—Parkinson’s Disease

Naomi Scott University of North Texas Press PDF

Chapter Eighteen

Larry—Parkinson’s Disease

“I’m sleeping six and a half to seven hours straight now. Before I started riding, many nights I didn’t sleep more than two or three, because of back pain.” Larry Walls said this less than two months after he began hippotherapy.

Dr. Ronald Faries, D.C., remarked on Larry’s progress at this stage in the riding program: “His balance, strength, and stamina have increased tremendously. Many times he comes into the clinic without his walker.

Before he started riding, he didn’t have the ability to maintain upright posture.”1

Eight years earlier Larry was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. I had heard about his remarkable results, and asked to include his story in the book.

“Sure,” he said, slowly climbing the ramp to the mounting platform.

Two of Larry’s friends had told him about therapeutic riding and urged him to try it. One was volunteer Cecil Hill.

“Cecil kept talking about it, explaining some of the benefits people had experienced, and the procedure. But I was skeptical,” Larry said.

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Naomi Scott University of North Texas Press PDF

GLOSSARY ing the people, animals, nature, and situations therein, emphasizing emotional, mental, social, physical, and spiritual well-being.

Frog (horse anatomy): Wedge-shaped substance in the sole of the hoof which acts as a cushion.

Gerontology: The scientific study of the process and problems of aging.

Hackamore: Circular device fitting around a horse’s muzzle, an alternative to a metal bit in his mouth, by which the rider communicates signals.

Half-halt: With a rider mounted, the horse is slowed almost to a stop, and then abruptly urged back to normal speed.

Harrington Rod Insertion: A procedure to stabilize the spine by fusing together two or more vertebrae, using either metal (Harrington) rods or bone grafts.

Hemispherectomy: Excision of one cerebral hemisphere, undertaken due to intractable (not adequately controlled by medication) epilepsy, and other cerebral conditions.

Hippotherapy: From the Greek word for horse, hippos, literally meaning therapy with the aid of a horse.

Infantile Spasms: Brief (typically one to five seconds) seizures occurring in clusters of two to one hundred at a time, with possibly dozens of episodes per day.

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Chapter 27: Nick—Down Syndrome

Naomi Scott University of North Texas Press PDF

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Nick—Down Syndrome

At a Special Olympics horse show, thirteen-year-old Nick Hogan, a veteran of many years in the saddle, walked around eating a bag of French fries and visiting folks along the shedrow. Several people teasingly asked him for one of his fries, and he would turn away, protecting his snack. As he walked up to me, he fished out a long, shiny fry, dripping with catsup, and extended it toward me. Nick is somewhat limited in his verbal skills, but smiling, he offered the token. His mother, Sandy Hogan, laughed.

“You should feel honored. He doesn’t share his fries with just anyone.”

Well, I absolutely did. I took that piece of potato from him and ate it, trying not to imagine where his fingers might have been as he played around the horse barn.

Nick has Down Syndrome and a spunky, compelling personality that gets him a lot of hugs—and sometimes, sent to “time out.” Horseback riding is his primary source of exercise, socializing, and self-esteem, while it also helps to teach him communication skills and discipline.

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