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6-Year-Old Gets New Horse to Help with Autism

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Posted: Jul 8, 2013 9:01 PM

Updated: Jul 8, 2013 9:51 PM

PROGRESO - Today marks a new beginning for a 6-year-old boy who lost his horse. As CHANNEL 5 NEWS reported earlier, the animal died after getting caught in a drainage pipe in Progreso.

The loss was felt strongly by 6-year-old Jairo, who doesn't speak and was diagnosed with autism. He used the horse as a form of therapy.

His mother, Alma Esparza, said Jairo was very hyper, but that changed when his family put him on a horse.

"That was helping him calm down, when he was getting the hippotherapy here with us," she said.

Therapy with a horse is called hippotherapy. It's not something Medicaid would cover, so Jairo's family began their own therapy on a horse owned by the boy's uncle.

Norberto Rangel is Jairo's uncle. He said the horse was good with children and they decided to use the animal to help Jairo. But this weekend, the horse got trapped in a drainpipe and died.

A CHANNEL 5 NEWS viewer saw the story and offered to give Jairo a new horse. The Donez family brought Jairo a horse named Pinkie.

Eight-year-old D'Marco offered to give up his pet, which he's had for six years, to help Jairo continue his therapy.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS was there as Jairo met Pinkie. After a brief introduction, Jairo was back in the saddle again.

Claudia Donez told us about her son's decision. "You know it feels sad, but I know it's for a good cause, and he needs it. And I know he can find better use for him than what we have," she said.

Meanwhile, the drainage pipe where the horse got stuck over the weekend has been covered. Police in Progreso are trying to track down who might be responsible for it.

Topics: Progreso, horse, Jairo, therapy, hippotheraphy, therapy horse, donez, donation, Pinkie

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