OREGON - Brian Sawlsville served his country for over five years as a member of the army. He would have given more service however on his third tour of duty a roadside bomb blew up underneath the tank he was riding in leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.
"Af first I thought it was a bad dream, like everyone else, but I guess reality kicked in and I just sucked it up and started doing what I can do to make life better."
In his normal civilian life, Sawlsville rode horses with his friends all the time. He never thought enlisting would have kept him from doing one of the things he loved to do.
"Before the army I went riding almost everyday," said Sawlsville. "After work or after school, just to go on a quick trail ride or a four or five day trail ride."
With the help of the volunteers at Pegasus Special Riders, Sawlsville is able to ride horseback again. The riding isn't just for fun, it's a neat alternative for physical therapy.
"The movement of the horse mimics that of a human being," said Wayne Copeland, executive director of Pegasus Special Riders. "And if anyone's ever ridden a horse, the next day you're sore. That's because you used muscles you weren't ever aware of."
The group says the horse therapy helps to achieve a variety of therapeutic goals including cognitive, physical, emotional, social, educational and behavioral problems.
Sawlsville hopes with the help of his friend Blackjack the horse, he'll be able to walk once again and do things for his community. He works at Focus House of Ogle County, a halfway home for troubled youths. He says he really wants to be able to help them to his fullest abilities.
"A lot of them come
to me for help with athletic stuff, working out and what not," said
Sawlsville. "They do a lot of things
that I'd love to do but it hurts and I wish I could do it again.
If you'd like more information on Pegasus Special Riders, click on the link provided.