A Story of Hope
Will Burciaga was a bright, energetic child trapped in a body that did not allow him to walk or talk. He was born with a genetic defect that affected the large and small muscle groups of his body from his tongue to his legs.
"He was always smart, always learning new sign language," said his mother Jamie Burciaga of Spring. "You could tell he wanted to be doing the things his siblings did, but his body would not let him."
At three he was already a veteran of a variety of therapies. "Our goals weren't cognitive or social, it was all physical at that point," she said.
The first time he rode a horse at Inspiration Ranch in Spring his mother, father and grandmother were in the stands - stunned by what they saw.
"Once he got up on the horse, he just sat up straight. He was engaged and not at all afraid," she said.
And that was just the start.
Because the gait of a horse mimics that of a human, it can help riders stimulate muscle memory in a way not possible in an otherwise unsteady life. On Will's fourth birthday, four months after that first ride, he took 103 steps.
"I was filming him and counting each one. I couldn't believe it. He had never been able to do more than a few at a time before" Burciaga said. There is no question in her mind that this breakthrough would not have been possible without the horses and staff tucked away on a 15-acre tract along Panther Creek at 25902 Glen Loch Drive in Spring, just outside The Woodlands.