I am very proud of my wife Barbara. She has a terrible disease to deal with called Wegeners' granulomatosis which has weakened her over the past decade, besides obliging her to suffer innumerable operations and hospital stays. She was accused by one spiteful local newspaper article of having a self-induced injury - although they were unable to explain how this could have come about - and, over the years, she has been sorely treated by her own two brothers, who live nearby.
Despite these setbacks, she remains strong and positive, and she has done this to a large degree by taking to horse.
Barbara worked for many years, both in her native USA and here in Spain, with disabled children; introducing riding for the disabled into Spain in 1986 and starting her association Animo around the same time. She now works on a hippotherapy program in a centre in Almería called Animo-Albero.
Barbara has meanwhile developed a program which has helped to keep her strong and has attracted the interest of her doctors - this is to sit bareback on a horse, allowing the animal's own strength to exercise and stimulate her body (it's close to the philosophy behind hippotherapy). This has not only energized Barbara but has slowed down or even reversed some of her symptoms.
She was sent a beautiful therapy horse called Cookie by the therapeutic riding cooperative Cadí Moixeró (an RDI centre in Barcelona) last September and, previous to this, she had been riding in Almería once or twice a week at the Centro Albero, helped by the owner and trainer at the centre Loli Berenguel. Cookie is now in Almería working with the disabled children and Barbara has now acquired a second horse, pictured, thanks to a donation from a local businessman called Diego Mañas Romera, at the Yeguada Valdesol in Sorbas.
Barbara is strong and has all my love and support.