A five-year-old boy who benefits from ridden therapy has met up with a vet who raised funds for the centre that helps him.
Maks Butrym developed cerebral palsy after his premature birth at 25 weeks, and his parents were warned he may never walk.
Two serious infections as a baby also left Maks with a visual impairment and other special needs, and he is still has to receive extra nutrition every night through a feeding tube in his stomach.
But Maks has managed to build up his strength through weekly riding sessions at Clwyd Special Riding Centre in Llanfynydd, near Wrexham.
Specialist therapy under the guidance of Lynne Munro has helped him improve his balance, co-ordination and core strength.
Maks’s mother Aneta said: “Maks loves to go riding and it is not just the therapy he enjoys, but also being around the horses. He loves animals and because he is visually impaired, animals are something he can get the information about through his other senses. He feels they are alive through their movement and it brings him a lot of joy.
“When he first started the riding, he couldn’t sit himself on the horse independently and he was more like, lying on them, but now he is like a different boy and sits up and rides by himself with someone walking beside him.
“It has really helped with his back and his core strength so this type of therapy is very important to his ongoing physical development.
“For me what I like most about it is that I know he loves it and enjoys it. It’s an activity he can have for himself and learn and improve at.”
The centre received an £800 donation through vet Kate Sumner of the Willows Veterinary Group’s Hampton Veterinary Centre in Malpas, after she nominated the charity at the group’s Christmas party.
Kate chose the Clwyd as the practice has a long-standing relationship with 30-acre establishment, helping to take care of their 24 horses.
Kate said: “The breadth and scope of what the centre offers is very impressive, the team who work there are great and the horses are always well turned out and looked after which makes working with the centre a real pleasure and it’s why I nominated them.
“Meeting Maks gave me another insight and to see first-hand the enjoyment and dramatic benefits which families who use the centre are able to experience. It highlights for me the fantastic work they do and we are pleased to be able to do our bit to support it in some way.”
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Sorrel Taylor, centre manager at Clwyd, said it costs in the region of £250,000 a year to run.
“Without support from Kate and Willows Veterinary Group we simply wouldn’t exist because everything we do is based on donations, fundraising and applying for grants.
“The more money we raise, the more we can do to reach out to as many children and adults with additional needs as possible and work together to make a real difference in their lives.”