By Srianthi Perera | Gilbert Sun News
Mesa resident Matias Cortiz, 16, loves horses but didn’t get an opportunity to be on one until a few months ago.
The autistic teen, a student at American Leadership Academy, receives a weekly hour of hippotherapy at Barn Yard Equine in Gilbert.
“He loves it. I think his language is more age-appropriate,” said Kathy Cortiz, his mom. “He’s been able to advocate for himself easier than earlier; in his area, vocabulary is difficult. Communication, social activities for him has always been very difficult.
“At 16 we have certain expectations. We’re finding he now has friends that he talks to on the phone; he’s actually having a conversation with them,” she added.
Barn Yard Equine was founded five years ago by Virginia McCarthy and Beth Ann Kaib, who functions as the director of therapeutic programs. McCarthy also runs Equine Connections, which offers riding lessons to those who want to learn riding as a hobby or those who need treatment for trauma.
“Horses can be incredible tools to help people of all ages over come serious challenges. By teaching patience and building confidence, every interaction with a horse has the potential for a positive outcome.”
–Adam Trenk, Rose Law Group partner and Director of Cannabis, Hemp and Equine Depts.