UPDATED: Monday, October 8, 2012 - 3:04pm
COLLEGE STATION -- Children with disabilities and veterans suffering from injuries have a new form of therapy they can turn to in College Station because Texas A&M has established an equine therapeutic program to carry on the legacy of a former Aggie while improving the lives of thousands in the Brazos Valley.
Shelemyah Vasquez was born legally blind and with Cerebral Palsy.
By the time she was two Shimmy, as she likes to be called, still wasn't walking but that all changed when her mother, Kari, was encouraged to put her in equine therapy eight years ago.
"Within about six months of her starting to ride she began walking and we just began seeing quick quick progress."
Kari says the program has not only helped her daughter but also her husband as well, a veteran, suffering from PTSD and a traumatic brain injury.
"To see his therapy coincide with our daughter's and both to progress so amazingly through just one program under the same roof is nothing short of amazing to us."
Now others like the Vasquez family can benefit from the treatment in College Station thanks to the Courtney Grimshaw Folwer Equine Therapeutic Program established at A&M in honor of Fowler, a 1985 graduate.
"The fact that her family has chosen to leave this as her legacy and help develop this here at A&M is just an honor and a compliment to A&M and it's huge," said program director, Nancy Krenek.
Equine therapy is used to help children and veterans develop fine motor skills and balance.
"This isn't just about sitting on the back of a horse," said Krenek. "This is about people's lives being changed where they get back out and participate in the community."
Kari Vasquez says, "I can't tell you how excited I am for other families to have the same opportunity we've had."
An opportunity that will help change the lives of thousands in the Brazos Valley.