Using horses to help those with disabilities

Using horses to help those with disabilities


BOONE, N.C. — Ethan Love is a vibrant, happy 10-year-old boy. His favorite thing to do is throw rocks and grass into the creek.

Doctors diagnosed him with tuberous sclerosis when he was just months old. 

“A genetic disorder that makes tumors grow on any organ in your body,” Ethan’s mother, Jennifer Love said.

It’s a condition that causes seizures every day. 

“He has tumors in his brain, in his kidneys, he has some skin tumors and in his eyes,” Love said.

The tumors make it difficult for Ethan, but his family works hard to keep him happy.

“They told us he might never smile or walk or talk but here he is,” Love said.

All the medical needs cost a lot of money, which makes it hard. 

“From the time we put on his cowboy clothes at home and the time we get here, he knows where we’re going,” Love said.

He spends time with Lakota to help him improve his skills. Lakota is part of De La Cruz Farms and is one of the horses used for hipotherapy. Bencity Brooks brought the idea to the area. She’s been working with Ethan since he was 5 months old.

Lakota helps Ethan communicate as he uses a device to let them know he wants to keep going. It also helps his body.

“Twenty minutes on a horse provides a lot of input to the spine to help individuals improve their skills, whether it’s their thinking skills, motor skills, fine motor skills,” Brooks said.

They give him skills to do like opening a mailbox, throwing a ball or even blowing bubbles.

All of this is provided to the families for free through private funding. 



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