Friday, July 28, 2006

Therapeutic Horseback Riding for Iraq veterans

As you know if you've read my posts over the last year , I have a special place in my heart for those that work with Therapeutic Horseback riding. Now the "old guard" thats the 3rd Infantry Regiment from Arlington National Cemetary , are using the caisson horses to help injured soldiers
with their rehab. What a great idea. Having visited Arlington many times, I really respect the dedication of those soldiers and it must be much more uplifting to help those guys ride than to watch them be carried up that long road. MSNBC had a report on the program "The soldiers and the horses from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, also known as The Old Guard, are part of a pilot program at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in nearby Washington to see if troops with prosthetic legs can regain some mobility through horseback riding. The Army hospital has also experimented with other sports, such as skiing, to help amputees regain balance needed to walk again." If you have ever worked with or watched a program such as this you can really appreciate this comment "“It gives me the confidence to know that I lost an arm and a leg but not the ability to do certain things,” 1st Lt. Ryan Kules, 25, a Tempe, Ariz., native who was injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq in November, said Friday. The walking action of the horse helps the rider use hip,leg and back muscles that can weaken after injury helping shorten recovery time. “The way the horse walks, you have got to let your pelvis get into the rhythm of the horse,” said Ramsey, 36. Before they rode, a physical therapist tested the reaction times of Ramsey, Kules, and Sgt. Christian Valle, who lost most of both legs, to simple tasks. They were asked to get out of a chair, walk a few feet, then return to sit down. They also stood on one leg to see how long they could balance. Kules, who has done therapeutic riding three times, said he has seen his times improve in both tests. When he first began a few weeks ago, it took him 20 seconds to get out of the chair and sit back down. He did it in 13 seconds Friday morning.
Lets hope programs such as this ( like our local program) continue to expand around the country. Get involved (here)

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