Samantha Yamamoto

August 21,2010

When my daughter Alise and I first arrived at DreamRider in the summer of 2005, we really didn't know what to expect. Alise was six years old and was using primarily sign language to communicate. She spoke using one key word to try and get her needs met, but once she began riding Treasure, her verbal communication skills steadily improved. That was a gift in itself but the truly amazing result that came from this experience was the beautiful relationship that was formed between Alise and Treasure. There is a special bond between them, one that I believe has helped Alise become physically stronger and more confident. The expression on her face when she sees Treasure is something I as a mom thought I may never see. She becomes alive when she is on Treasure. Something inside of her lights up and she becomes so expressive. It's wonderful to see her have something in her life to look forward to each week and that's why it was so difficult to say goodbye.

On August 1st of 2008, Alise had major surgery on her legs and hip joints and was in a body cast for seven weeks. Her second surgery was one year later on her feet and she was put in casts up to her knees for six weeks. For close to two years she was in Physical Therapy to help her get her strength and range of motion back. She finished therapy in May of this year and has progressed well in spite of all she has been through. She still wears orthotics on both legs to help support her.

One month later, we saw the wonderful article in the Alpine Sun about DreamRider. We were so happy that Catherine had returned to teaching after suffering her own physical setbacks and we immediately contacted her. Alise couldn't wait to see Treasure and Catherine again. Her first session back was on the 4th of July and it is so good to see that look of pure joy again on my daughter's face. We truly have been blessed with these special people in our lives; Catherine and her volunteers have been wonderful, not to mention the very gentle, patient and lovely pony called Treasure.

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"...but once she began riding Treasure, her verbal communication skills steadily improved."

Alise spoke in sign language her mother translated to Catherine and volunteers

In 2005, she spoke only in sign language. Her mother, Samantha translates for Catherine and
volunteers, Nina Gould and Cyndi Levine during one of Alise’s first lessons on Treasure.

AliseTreasure

 

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Catherine Hand, survivor and NARHA Advanced Instructor has dedicated Dream Rider Equestrian Therapy to helping other breast cancer patients survive and thrive.

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