Tax Appeal – Therapy in a fun way!
“Emma’s grit and determination is wonderful to see.
“She’s got that awesome attitude, giving anything a go. You can see the concentration on her face, the excitement in her eye – the tip of her tongue poking out – determined to achieve success.
“She has many challenges, and faces them with enormous heart,” commented Janelle, Emma’s Coach at Pegasus.
I love hearing my team of dedicated Coaches and volunteers conveying the stories, which in Janelle’s words, ‘catches you in the throat’. And with this appeal, I hope I can do this story justice, and demonstrate to you the positive impact your generosity can have on children with a disability – just like Emma – developing abilities and enriching lives.
Emma, now six, started at Pegasus just over two years ago. She’d been diagnosed with a syndrome that resulted in congenital heart disease, hearing loss, and her low muscle tone; impacting on her balance, coordination and speech.
She will always have challenges. Recently diagnosed with epilepsy, and with a possibility of also developing vision problems, some of the outcomes of this disease have been stemmed by the unique, rounded and empowering therapy that our programs at Pegasus encourage – facilitating, in Janelle’s words, ‘therapy in a fun way’.
When Emma first started at Pegasus, Janelle remembers her as a withdrawn little girl. She didn’t have the strength or coordination to put on her boots, the flexibility to mount the horse, the balance to hold the reins above the saddle, and was totally non-verbal; only communicating with sign language.
“Her challenges will continue throughout her life. But since she first sat in the saddle, I’ve seen that little girl grow into the most fabulous child,” says Janelle.
“I get so excited about every tiny little milestone. Today, Emma has dropped almost all of her sign language. She can say quite a lot of words – our program encourages that. Emma now uses a big strong voice to tell her horse to ‘walk on’ or ‘whoa’.
“She is so amazingly caring about other people. She recently introduced a new rider, Ruby, and as they walked from the car park, Emma took Ruby’s hand and led her to where the hats and boots are, pointed out our volunteers in the room, then standing straight and looking me clearly in the eye, she proudly announced, “Ruby”.
“She has progressed onto a bigger horse, Taverners’ Bill.
“Bill signalled a step up in maturity and seniority, and now, I think she has taken on a bit of a leadership role, if you can say that about a six year old!” says Janelle.
For Janelle, the Pegasus program has been early intervention in the true sense of the word.
“I think she definitely is a child that shines in this environment – interacting with both humans and horses. The pure and simple stride of the horse has just given her so much core strength and balance, essential for everyday living.
“Her fitness and overall strength has developed. She would get tired very quickly, now she can sit upright most of the lesson, she can hold her reins up above the saddle, and at game time, when reaching to grab a toy from Bill, she can now regain her balance without help.
“And, Emma’s mum told me that the physio credited much of her increasing physical and social development to her experience at Pegasus, saying, ‘You don’t actually need to come back and see me for a while – just keep riding , because the riding is giving you what you need; muscle strength and balance’.”
Thanks to the support of our donors and sponsors, Pegasus is able to subsidize the cost of the program to families by more than 80% – ensuring this specialised and unique activity continues to be a trusted program, supporting people with a disability, and aimed at developing abilities and enriching lives.
Donations can still be made to our Tax Appeal. Contact 02 6254 9190 or visit pegasusact.com.au/your-donation for donation methods/options. All donations over $2 are tax deductible.