Written by Rick Delia, Cody’s dad & former Carousel Ranch Board President
I think back to the end of 1998 / beginning of 1999. I believe that was the time frame when Cody started. He was such a little guy at the time. We were right at the beginning stages of understanding what we needed to do to help him start to succeed. We were dealing with doctors and specialists and therapists and grandparents and...the list goes on. About 6 months prior we had found out that our son had a stroke before he was born. We assembled a team of clinical staff that went to work right away doing what they could to help him. For an infant, doctors and therapists are not a lot of fun. We needed to add a component that was not only challenging, but FUN!
And…we found Carousel Ranch!!
From the moment we stepped foot on their property, we felt like we were part of the family. Denise and Becky were so warm, friendly, caring and knowledgeable. But, most importantly, they were fun! They explained everything to us. From that first experience on the back of the horse - Cody was a different little boy. The smile on his face could light up a room. He couldn't wait to get to therapy, and he wouldn't want to leave. It never ceased to amaze me how much fun he had. He progressed through the years from being assisted on both sides of the horse, to just one side, to riding by himself. At times, he would ride with other riders. Together, Becky would have them going through their "therapy" assisting each other, building a relationship not only with Becky, but with one another. Cody rode at the Ranch until 2014 when we moved to North Carolina. He was 16 years old, and ALWAYS looked forward to going each week. Cody is now a successful baseball player. He doesn't have a lot of use of the right side of his body, but when you see him come up to bat, you better move back. Even though he only bats with one hand, he can still hit the ball out of the stadium almost every time he comes up to bat.
I look back and am always amazed at what he accomplished with Carousel Ranch. When we found out about the severity of what happened to Cody, the doctors couldn't give us much information about what he would be able to do as he got older. They just didn't know. That is why Carousel Ranch was such an important part of his development. I am convinced that he is so much better today because of the love and therapy we received each and every week from Becky and Denise. It didn't matter if it was 105 degrees, if it was raining, or if it was windy outside, Cody had to go. They ALWAYS found a way to battle the elements and to bring a smile to his face.
I know that the doctors couldn't tell us if Cody would be able to crawl, walk, talk or run. But being on the back of a horse... well that changed our life forever in ways I cannot even start to explain, except to say that the work that Carousel Ranch does CHANGES LIVES..... FOREVER!!
I think back to when I used to be the one announcing the demonstration at this annual event? At the end, I would ask everyone to close their eyes and think about the cheering that would go on for a football team or a baseball team when a player would score the winning touchdown or hit a home run. I would explain that these families might not ever get to experience that on that grand of a scale. I get to do that now. I get to see Cody hit the winning home run. I get to hear the crowd cheer for him and go nuts with excitement. I get to see his teammates cheering for him and giving him high fives. And you know what? That is because of Carousel Ranch. You have helped him every step of the way. You have helped him become that star!
I APPRECIATE YOU AND THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART!