When you are told your child at the age of three is severely disabled and might never communicate, it feels to parents like your world is falling apart. This is a helpless and desperate feeling, even for a family with medical resources and familiarity with the special-needs educational system. Desperately trying to help Antonio break through the autism curtain that held back his intelligence, his creativity, and his expressive personality, we tried every treatment, private tutors, special diets, you name it . . . but what we saw emerge had only to do with faith. This medical family learned that faith in our child, in each other, and in the Lord that protects us, was all we needed. When you believe in your children, you will see miracles emerge all around you. Antonio’s experiences inspired our family to create Sycamore Lane Therapeutic Riding Center, a place where anyone with disabilities can find love, nurturing, and people who believe in their potential—all through the magic of equine therapy.
Suzanne S. Cleland-Zamudio, M.D. B.A. M.S. is an Otolaryngologist and has been in practice in Portland, Oregon for over 18 years. Dr. Cleland-Zamudio has trained residents, published in medical journals and has done educational public speaking. She has behavioral training and has cared for high risk adults and children her entire career. She understands the daily struggles of caring for a family member with a disability. She is also the founder of Sycamore Lane Therapeutic Riding Center. While growing up on a farm, she raised and trained Welsh-Arabian cross horses with her four sisters. She had always dreamed of owning the farm some day and wanted to turn it into the peaceful, nurturing sanctuary that it is today. It is a place where people with mental, physical, emotional, developmental and cognitive challenges can laugh, progress, and flourish, through the magic and power of equines. Her husband and two boys, Seve and Antonio made this dream come true and currently live on the farm where Sycamore Lane lies.