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Patient Stories:Becky Caldwell
When you first see Becky Caldwell on a horse you do not think about how she got there or why. You notice the grace and the oneness of woman and horse. And when you speak with her, one of the first things she tells you is “the outside of a horse is great for the inside of a woman.” She is one of those people whose story you want to hear.
Rebecca “Becky” Caldwell went to work one day in 2005 as Associate Vice President for Human Resources at the University of Saint Joseph. The next thing she remembers is waking up 18 days later at Saint Francis Hospital after suffering a ruptured brain aneurism. She will tell you how she had lost all strength, coordination and balance, and was unable to walk or lift anything.
Immediately upon her return home she knew she had to maintain an active lifestyle to get her life back. With the support of her husband Brian, Becky researched therapeutic riding options on the internet and found Manes & Motions Therapeutic Riding Center in Middletown, CT. She had previously volunteered as an instructor in therapeutic riding and had ridden her own horse, so she understood its value.
Becky says Brian and the Manes & Motions staff and volunteers were integral to her recovery. “When I started riding at Manes & Motions I could not even sit or balance on the horse without being helped by the side walkers. They encouraged me with every little baby step, which became big steps. Now, look at me!”
Therapeutic riding, she says, is “therapy while having a good time. Riding uses your legs and core muscles to communicate with your horse.”
For the past 10 years Becky has ridden weekly at Manes & Motions, now year round, thanks to Manes & Motions new indoor arena. “Janice Anderson of the Manes & Motions staff has been a common denominator in my life for all these years. I appreciate how much she helped me achieve.”
When Becky missed riding at Manes for just a couple of weeks and went on a long car ride, she began to feel a loss of stamina, balance and strength, and it became harder to walk. She credits the horses and people at Manes for helping her maintain her improved physical and psychological state.
Becky exhibits a true commitment not only to her own essence but also to that of others. She talks about how she has seen how the motion of a horse’s legs move children’s muscles and the delight kids feel as they connect with and control a horse.
Becky not only talks the talk but walks the walk as well. She makes a significant financial donation to Manes & Motions every year. Thinking long term, she has included Manes & Motions in her estate plan as a beneficiary of her IRA. She and her husband Brian are recognized for their foresight as members of the Hospital for Special Care Legacy Society.