Island Horses Help Heal Hawaii's Disabled

Patti Silva
Patti Silva
Henry Lee
Henry Lee

By Marvin Buenconsejo

WAIMANALO (KHNL) - Anyone who has ever ridden a horse for enjoyment, knows the exciting, yet calming nature of the outing.

Tonight, we tell you about a group of volunteers, in Waiamanalo, who use that theraputic sensation to help rehabilitate patients, as their "Random Act of Kindness."

These magnificent animals amaze, thrill, and yes, even heal.

Patti Silva helps run "Manawale'a"

It's a volunteer-operated program that helps clients overcome mental and physical challenges.

''A lot of our children and clients are wheelchair bound," explains Silva. "So, this movement, about moving around like everyone else is so far from their minds that when they get on the horse, it's just an entirely different world opens up to them."

Henry Lee, fell victim to a massive stroke back in 2003.

Among other things, he lost he ability to speak.

Clearly, that has changed.

''I couldn't figure out why because I kept myself in good shape, I exercized every morning," says Lee, before realizing "It's all the things I ate when I was young. Too much sugar. Too much salt. Too much shoyu."

Lee's been coming here, every week, for more than a year.

As we all know, this week's weather hasn't really allowed for horse-back riding.

But, even tied to a post, standing idly-by, the animals still manage to work their healing magic -- as clients anticipate the next exciting ride.

''And once they're on a horse, they're no different from anyone else. They can walk. They can smile. They can move their arms."