CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — 9-year-old Aiden McCaskill loves riding his horse Cody. This love comes from a place of purpose and fun.
Aiden was diagnosed with Perthes disease, a rare condition that affects the thigh bone, causing it to temporarily loses its blood supply. As a result, Aiden is in a wheelchair.
His love for horses and equine therapy has helped him in the long run because the movements of the horse mimic walking.
Joanne Montesano, a certified therapeutic horseback riding instructor, said the Glenoak Therapeutic Riding Center provides a special way for kids and adults with disabilities to improve skills while also connecting with the horses.
"We have riders of very different disabilities," Montesano said. "We help them focus on what they can, we help them focus on a lot of physical things and we have a lot of riders with emotional help too."
Glenoak has been in the Coastal Bend for over two decades and continues to be a pillar in helping those with physical and emotional disabilities.
"Some of our younger riders, we see them improve with their legs," Montesano said. "We see riders who really who hadn't had a lot of possibilities of walking and we see them with strength and able to do different things and skills on the horses."
Laura Cable, mother of Liesel Cable who has Down syndrome, said she's been taking her daughter since she was a toddler and has noticed significant growth.
"It just has built a lot of things for her," Cable said. "We are trying to get Liesel independent enough to ride a bike and we can't tell you how much riding a horse is helping that."
Horseback riding therapy might not be as well known to many in the Coastal Bend area but it is available and continues to change the lives one ride at a time.
The Glenoak is always in need of volunteers, for those interested or wanting to find out more about the therapy offered there, contact the center at (361)537-3495.