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Participant Highlight – Meet Jeffrey

By December 30, 2021News, Home page

A Weekly Outing that Means More Than Anything

Meet Jeffrey, a new participant at Swiftsure Ranch, who lives with multiple sclerosis (MS). A diagnosis of MS is life-changing for anyone who receives it. MS is a disease that impacts the brain and spinal cord which make up the central nervous system that controls everything we ask our bodies to do. The exact cause of MS is unknown, and receiving this diagnosis was a complete shock to Jeffrey and his family. While it’s unclear how MS will impact Jeffrey versus another person with MS, it is clear that therapeutic riding has become an integral part of his life. 

This past winter, Jeffrey moved home to his parents’ house after spending many of his adult years living in Seattle, Washington. It was starting to become clear that the things that Jeffrey loved to do, and his independence, were fading. Now working from the comfort of his family home in Sun Valley, his weekly trips to Swiftsure have become the highlight of his week. 

Jeffrey shared with us how much stronger he’s become in just two sessions. Each session lasts approximately three months and includes weekly riding. His core now supports him better than ever, his quads are feeling much stronger, and mentally he has gained clarity, which he loves. He’s been riding Dale and, Jeffrey noted with a chuckle, although he looks like a comfortable horse, he does make you have sore glutes by the end of a session! Dismounting takes a minute because Jeffrey’s legs have a bit of numbness, but overall his riding endurance has increased significantly. 

Pause, click the audio link above and take a moment to listen to Jeffrey’s story through his own voice. 

Not only does listening to Jeffrey’s story give you a moment of pause, but also listening to Tree, Suzanne, and a handful of volunteers talk about his improvements and dedication will solidify the impact that Swiftsure has on participants’ lives. Suzanne shared that Jeffrey’s comfort levels on and off the horse are tenfold from where they were when he first arrived. He was not used to spending time around horses and truly did not understand the positive impact they would have on his life. Like many, it took time for him to become comfortable and develop confidence and trust in his horse, Dale. This is a huge gift to many of our participants that extends far beyond the time they spend at Swiftsure.

Jeffrey loves the outdoors. While growing up, a good portion of his life was spent on a snowboard, hiking, and adventuring outdoors all over the Seattle area. MS has been slowly robbing Jeffery of the adventures and independence he loves. Swiftsure Ranch and several other resources in the Wood River Valley are giving Jeffrey some of it back. We are truly honored to have a role in his network.

A couple of fun facts about Jeffrey: 

  • He LOVES to bake and he brings the crew treats nearly every week.
  • He and his family recently got a puppy which is a fun way to keep them all active at home. 

We can assure you that this will not be the last time you will be hearing about Jeffrey—his story is remarkable and seeing the progress he’s making is truly the reason we show up every single day.