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Ellie's Story

posted Jul 9, 2010, 7:53 PM by Bill G Fitler   [ updated Jul 9, 2010, 8:10 PM ]
In August 2007 our little family moved to the Monterey area. Ellie was just 3 ½ years old, but clearly a resilient 3 ½ because moving didn’t phase her at all. I wish it was so easy for grown-ups!

As soon as we were settled in I began the daunting task of placing her in a pre-school and getting all of her services in place. She was eventually enrolled at AB Ingham and I attended the first IEP in our new location. That was the day I was introduced to Star Riders. Thank you sincerely, to Mr. Stan Cook, for that.

I called the number I’d been given and talked to Linda Martin. She told me how and why Star Riders came to be and the kinds of miracles that happen. I couldn’t wait to get Ellie on a horse.

Our first few weeks at Star Riders were…loud. Ellie had turned 4 but was only functioning at about an 8 -12 month level. She was born with severe hearing loss, poor muscle tone and balance, and she could neither stand nor walk unaided at age 4. Let’s just say that Ellie wasn’t keen on the idea of riding and I learned the meaning of tough love in no uncertain terms.

However, with loads of support and encouragement from the people at Star Riders, we persevered and, after a month or so, Ellie relaxed into riding and really began to enjoy it.

This is Ellie’s 3rd year at Star Riders and, looking back, she’s a different kid. She now sits tall and straight. She will ride for hours if you let her, much to the exhaustion of the volunteers. She can now stand unaided and is walking unaided and is beginning to use signs and to vocalize. She also smiles and giggles a lot and loves engaging the people around her. Three years ago I would never have imagined Ellie would be where she is now. She is definitely one of the Star Rider miracles... and the story continues...