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Sophia

Sophia

Our daughter Sophia is now 14 years old and has been riding for 8 years.  She has been diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and Diplegic Cerebral Palsy.  She has learning disabilities as well as physical disabilities that prove to provide her with many challenges.  Sophia was delayed in all major milestones, crawling, sitting, walking and so many more.  She has low muscle tone, and tires easily, her leg muscles are especially tight, her trunk is weak and the list goes on.  Learning in the traditional sense is difficult for her.   Despite all this we have always encouraged Sophia to have as normal a life as possible.  We want her to know no limits. 

Ivy Hill has helped to level the playing field for her.   Sophia began riding at Ivy Hill at the age of 6.  She was completely non-verbal.   However when she walked through the barn doors none of that mattered, she didn’t need to speak to ride, or be able to walk without fatigue.  The great thing about animals, in this case horses, is that they don’t discriminate.   She made instant friends with her first ride Bean and they bonded.  In fact Bean became one of her first words when she began speaking.  The connection made between rider and horse is one of acceptance and understanding.  But beyond the horses, Ivy Hill has something that we have never encountered before or since, something that makes them unique.   The staff, especially our Instructors Megan and Janna, is honestly what takes this program from good to exceptional.  They are game changers; in fact for us they have reinvented the game.  I have watched Sophia grow from a shy non-verbal little girl to a confident young lady, who will be happy to talk your ear off if given the chance.   Ivy Hill treats Sophia like Sophia.  Janna and Megan believe in our daughter as much as we do, and they have become among of the most important people in her life.  They push her when she needs it, they pick her up when she falls, they encourage her to make goals and support her attempts to reach them and they celebrate with her when she succeeds.   They are her friends, her teachers, her role models and her biggest supporters.   Riding at Ivy Hill has changed Sophia’s life, and I can’t imagine where we would be without this team along side us. 

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