Two-and-a-half years ago, I completed my first long-ish-term story. It was about Mason — a young boy going through hippotherapy — and it was my first time spending more than a few hours or a day with a story subject.
Recently, I completed another story involving hippotherapy. Unlike Mason, Andrew is going through additional therapies and has more significant obstacles to overcome. You can read Bill’s full story, which involves another family as well, and check out all the photos I put together for the story — but here are a few of my favorite pictures from my time with Andrew, including some that weren’t published:
© 2012 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Andrew Breault, 7 of York Township, stands up in his saddle atop his horse Clover, with assistance from Leg Up Farm equine director Megan Giordano, to strengthen his core and leg muscles on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012. Breault was born with epilepsy and suffers developmental delay, low muscle tone and partial chromosomal deletion. He has gone about 1.5 years without seizures, and in addition to horse therapy at Leg Up, receives speech, physical and occupational therapies elsewhere.
© 2012 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Andrew Breault, 7, right, outstretches his hand for his father Dave to hold as he steers his battery-powered ATV down the family’s York Township street on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012. Andrew Breault used to ram his tricycle into objects, but since he began his horse therapy at Leg Up Farm, his steering ability has improved. The Breaults bought him the ATV after seeing how well he was steering one at a friend’s birthday party and deciding it would help reinforce the motions he learns during horse therapy.
© 2012 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Dave Breault administers medicine to his son Andrew, 7, as he and mother Kathleen watch a TV show about large vehicles on Netflix after dinner on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012. Andrew Breault’s favorite things are emergency vehicles, but even a show about street sweepers was enough to distract him as his father gave him several different medicines.
© 2012 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Kathleen Breault waits for her son Andrew, 7, to finish steering a toy police cruiser down the stair railing as they get ready to go to Andrew’s horse therapy at Leg Up Farm on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012. Andrew’s fascination with emergency and police vehicles extends to a large collection of toy cars on display in his bedroom.
© 2012 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Christopher Breault, 4, and his mother Kathleen wave to Christopher’s brother Andrew through a large viewing window as Andrew undergoes his horse therapy session at Leg Up Farm on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012. Father Dave Breault watches from Kathleen’s left.
© 2012 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Kathleen and Dave Breault sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” with their son Andrew, 7, as he holds up a small American flag in his bedroom at bedtime on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012. Thanks to a slew of therapies, Andrew Breault can now form three- and four-word sentences, but is able to sing the national anthem — his favorite song — because his parents would sing it to him every night.
Interestingly, the behind-the-scenes of this story resembles that of another, one-day story I did in Atlanta. It was the first time I got to spend a significant amount of time just hanging out with a family in their home, and it started out a bit awkwardly. First, they hadn’t been expecting me. Then they asked what they should do for me and my camera, to which I answered that they should just carry on with their day and I’d be as much of a wallflower as possible.
It worked out, much to my astonishment, and I’ve since relished every minute of being a wallflower.
With this story, the Breaults had indeed been expecting me, but they were a little uncertain in front of the camera at first. They soon warmed up, however, and were extraordinarily gracious and open as I tagged along with them to the ice cream shop, Andrew’s therapy and a pre-bedtime run to McDonald’s.
I can say this about any number of families and individuals I’ve met in York, but I’m so thankful, as a photojournalist and as a human, that so many people are as welcoming and wonderful as they are.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Bill’s story and the full slideshow of photos.
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