Local boy benefits from Open Arms Therapy
Caleb Hiner, three-year-old grandson of Rocky and Cindy Hiner of Dalhart, has been receiving BOTOX® injection treatment shots in both of his legs, his right arm and his right hand every three months for almost two years. Caleb has Cerebral Palsy, Cortical Visual Impairment, Mental Disorder, Autism, paralysis on his right side and very little upper body strength. Within a few hours to a couple of days after the botulinum toxin is injected into the affected muscle(s), the spasms or contractions are reduced or eliminated altogether. The effects are not permanent, reportedly lasting anywhere from three to eight months. By injecting the toxin directly into a certain muscle or muscle group, the risk of the treatments spreading to other areas of the body is greatly diminished.
In December 2008, Caleb required six shots in his legs. According to Cindy Hiner, Caleb’s grandmother and caregiver, it was becoming increasingly difficult to dress him. “His legs were so tight that they would not straighten and his feet pointed down to the floor; they just would not bend.” Caleb started therapeutic riding with Open Arms Therapy (OAT) in January 2009. In the beginning the muscles in Caleb’s legs were so tight it was almost painful for him to ride. His riding time was limited at first.
Caleb and his grandparents never gave up. They continued with the OAT therapeutic riding lessons, two days a week. Over time, Caleb’s legs became more limber and he was able to ride for longer periods of time. Cindy said, “It was so great to see (his improvement) every time I went to put him on the horse, his legs just started to open more and more till now he has no problem with getting his legs around his horse. He just smiles and slides right on.”
The number of injections Caleb has received over the last six months has declined significantly. Where Caleb required six injections in December of 2008, he only required three in March of 2009. Miraculously, on June 10 he received no injections in his legs. According to the doctor, Caleb’s legs were limber and showed little or no muscle contraction. “It was so awesome to hear Caleb’s doctor say that he was doing so amazing, and that he did not need injections in his legs this time,” said Cindy.
Many other improvements have been observed in Caleb as well. He no longer requires a brace for his upper body when he rides due to improved development and strengthening of his core muscles. He shows signs of contentment and joy by the soft “cooing” sounds and the relaxed, happy facial expressions he makes while riding. Caleb has also demonstrated strength in his legs by supporting his own weight while pulled-up to a stationary object and standing for several minutes after riding; something he has not had the strength to do previously. Due to his many disabilities Caleb has yet to demonstrate the ability to crawl or pull-up like a toddler until now.
Caleb’s grandmother, Cindy, shared the following, “The therapeutic riding has made all the difference in the world to Caleb. It is so amazing what horseback riding has done for my grandson. Not only has it alleviated much of the pain caused by the spasms and contractions, but also the fact that he no longer requires the very painful shots. I’m so thankful God gave us this amazing animal we call the horse and to Open Arms Therapy and the wonderful volunteer’s for making it available to one very special three-year-old little boy, it is changing his world with every therapy session.”