Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Meet Sage

Sage is 2 ½. He started riding at Hearts in September, 2010 and since then he has fallen head over heels in love with being a cowboy.

Sage loves not only riding, but raking the dirt, feeding the horses, and pointing out to whoever may be near that a horse left poo-poo on the ground.

Riding at Hearts helps Sage learn to speak. He can understand everything and is very smart, but his brain is not able to communicate to his mouth how to form sounds and therefore, words. This is a very frustrating and scary disorder. One of the biggest factors in how soon and how well Sage will learn to speak is how many times he is able to get effective speech therapy. Sage sees a speech pathologist twice a week and rides at Hearts once a week where he also works on his speech.

Sage’s mom reports that “Even though he has speech therapy twice a week at home, it’s his lessons at Hearts that make the biggest difference in his progress. In regular therapy it’s easy for Sage to get bored and distracted. However, when he is atop a horse, he is always excited and engaged. He longs to be able to communicate with his horse Cocoa, and he has made incredible progress since he started riding.”

Right now Sage has about 15-20 words and half of those words are in some way connected to his time out at Hearts. Being at Hearts has made a huge difference in his desire to speak and in his confidence in trying new words. When he asks a horse to “walk-on” or “whoa” and the horse does it, there is an immediate reward for Sage and he realizes the power of communication.

Because of Hearts, Sage is finding confidence in himself, and --- literally --- because of Hearts, we are hopeful that Sage will learn to talk one day. His mother is grateful to our supporters. She writes, “I cannot thank you enough for all that your generosity means to Hearts and especially to children like Sage and moms like me who get to watch their children thrive atop a horse”.

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