Unique approach to rehabilitation gives horse trainer hope

Head Horse Trainer Devon Gibson of Miraleste Farms

Head Horse Trainer Devon Gibson of Miraleste Farms was faced with a lifetime of paralysis after her horse riding accident that caused severe spinal injuries.

ROLLING HILL ESTATES, CA (December 22, 2013) — In the blink of an eye, life can change forever. Devon Gibson, head horse trainer for Miraleste Farms in Rolling Hills realized life would never be the same after the events of Feb. 22, 2013.

Her passion for horse riding nearly came to an end after her horse “scissored” a jump, causing the horse to flip over and send Ms. Gibson into the air landing head first. The accident caused severe spinal damage and a prognosis that she would be paralyzed for the rest of her life. She and her family were hoping for a miracle–a miracle that ResCare’s Rehab Without Walls would soon become a part of.

Her first bit of good news came when Ms. Gibson learned that her injuries has resulted in “incomplete” paralysis, meaning that following a spinal surgery, she would have a 95 percent chance of making a full recovery.

Following surgery, Ms. Gibson started the long road to rehabilitation. She chose Rehab Without Walls, which tailors each patient’s care to meet their specific goals. For Ms. Gibson, there was one main goal – to ride again.

Ms. Gibson and horse Belafonte meet again on her last day of therapy.

Ms. Gibson and horse Belafonte meet again on her last day of therapy.

“I qualified for Rehab Without Walls and they got me very mobile around my house and my living area,” Ms. Gibson said. “From the minute I started working with them, their main goal was to get me back to work and on a horse, for both the known physical help riding would do for me, as well as my own psyche.”

The therapists pushed her and assured her that if she gave it her all during therapy she would see the results that she wanted. Ms. Gibson progressed more quickly than she imagined and she saw improvement in a matter of weeks.

“I had an occupational therapist and a physical therapist,” Ms. Gibson said. “They both worked in very interesting ways. They laid out plans for the day that were subject to change as they saw progression. For some this would be frustrating, but to me it was a lot like a riding session so I understood the loose structure and appreciated their creativity and being able to work on the go. After only three and a half weeks of in-home physical therapy, I was able to go back to work and teach.”

Life happens everywhere, and so should rehabilitation. Rehab Without Walls is dedicated to removing walls that slow recovery, whether those walls are physical, emotional or geographical. When asked if Ms. Gibson thought that Rehab Without Walls helped her recover more quickly than a traditional physical therapy program would, she replied, “Absolutely! The therapy was amazing. The therapists showed me exercises I can do at home with house hold items such as a desk chair or a day bed.”

With Ms. Gibson’s never-give-up attitude and Rehab without Walls’ dedicated therapy program, Ms. Gibson is now able to continue her passion of riding.

With Ms. Gibson’s never-give-up attitude and Rehab without Walls’ dedicated therapy program, Ms. Gibson is now able to continue her passion of riding.

It’s been eight months since her injury and, thanks to Rehab Without Walls, Ms. Gibson is back to teaching and she is also riding and waterskiing. In fact, she spent her final session with her occupational therapist trotting on a horse.

“My recovery never ceases to amaze me. Just when I start to get down because I think things are not progressing something starts to work again or get back to normal,” Ms. Gibson said. “95 percent would be my expected full recovery. I’m not sure where I am right now, but I know that at not even eight months, I am far ahead of schedule.”

Author : Moriah Dietrich