Horses used to heal cancer patients

July 22, 2008 3:57:27 PM PDT
A Chester County farm is using horses to help cancer patients and their families. The program is free of charge and is making a big difference in the lives of those affected by the disease.

Four years ago, Caroline Maguire was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Last year, she learned she had malignant melanoma.

Last month, she found the therapy that has helped her take her mind off the disease.

"It shatters your invincibility. Once you've been diagnosed with cancer, you're always looking over your shoulder for fear of recurrence, so to me when I'm here, I'm just focused on working with the horse and with Ryan," Caroline said.

Caroline and her son, Ryan, are in the fourth week of a 16-week program, offered free to the patient and one family member.

8-year-old Ryan confessed he's been worried about his mom.

"I was nervous like 24/7, basically," Ryan said.

But now he's seen the positive change in her and agrees the program is not only good for her, but also good for him, as well, even if he was intimidated initially.

"The first lesson, I was nervous, just when he tipped a little bit?now, I'm pretty confident," Ryan said. "So it's pretty good experience for me."

Barbara Kosoff, director of Horse Power for Life, gives the lessons.

She along with Shiree Sansone cofounded the program after both lost family members to cancer last year.

Horses like "Detour", a Chink-a-Tink pony, are also trained for the therapy, but says "Detour" doesn't always listen.

"Sometimes if he's in a good mood he will. He responds more to physical demands than vocal commands," Ryan said.

You can contact Horse Power for Life at 484-341-8393