Capital Region Cares Capital Region Cares 2017-2018 - Page 59

Dr. Kristine Corn sits behind and supports Ava, a young client of the Ride to Walk program. Ava is building both muscle strength and emotional strength on Ranger, one of the clinic’s therapy horses. start to ride independently at around 7 years old, depending on their progress. For Rebecca O’Callaghan, that progress changed her life. O’Callaghan was born a “Micro Preemie,” (she weighed less than a pound at birth) and is a former client of Ride to Walk. When she came to Corn at 6 months old, she fit in a Kleenex box. “At the time there were not the same neonatal facilities we have today, Micro Pree- mies weren’t expected to be able to walk or talk,” Corn says. O’Callaghan was referred to Corn’s physical therapy clinic, to aid her de- velopment in building muscle strength and independence before she could even walk. Today she and Corn work together in the clinic, where O’Cal- laghan is an occupational therapist who gives back to the community she was a part of. The Ride to Walk program has op- erated since 1985, and they have been improving their ranch since moving in 18 years ago. Use of the property is available to the public from dawn to dusk. To keep up with costs, the ranch also boards non-therapy horses, and the lake on site is also open for catch and release bass fishing for a $5, rec- ommended donation. (The donations help the ranch provide rides — Corn’s clients pay half the cost and the ranch pays the remaining half.) Volunteers also help with therapy rides and main- taining the property. The program costs $500 a month, but every client is given a scholarship for half their costs, and it’s also possi- ble to sponsor children’s riding or vol- unteer to assist them. “It’s a program that doesn’t exist without volunteers,” Corn says. n Danna Sweidan is a freelancer who writes about travel, arts and culture. She graduated from Sacramento State with a government-journalism degree, and works as an independent travel consultant. comstocksmag.com | 2017 CAPITAL REGION CARES 59