When we first opened our barn doors in 1998, it was to a young girl who suffered severe health problems. She suffered from a condition called dysautonomia. In this condition, the autonomic nervous system misfires.
When experiencing joy, sadness, anxiety, or any of the other normal emotions children experience, her autonomic nervous system would misfire, and she would lose consciousness.
To further complicate her situation, she was diagnosed with severe learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder. She could not take medications to help her ADD because these medications triggered her dysautonomia.
Taking these medications would be life threatening.
Dr. Beth Macauley, a professor in speech language pathology at the University of Alabama, came up with an idea. After having studied the effects of therapeutic horseback riding on cognitive processing issues, she decided that equine-assisted therapy would be the best treatment.
Now, over 20 years later, that same young lady holds a degree in childhood development and special education. She serves as the program director and primary instructor at TROT. Her name is Melanie Williams.
We experienced the first ever miracle of Therapeutic Riding of Tuscaloosa, and our purpose is to make more miracles happen here for others every day.
Our primary goal is the same now as it was back then: to serve. To serve those with cognitive and physical challenges in their lives. To serve their families as they do their best to give these children a fair chance in life.
~ Dr. Marguerite (Margo) Malone, Clinical Psychologist of Therapeutic Riding of Tuscaloosa