Life Advice: Athos the Horse (Almost)


Yohan and Athos: Friends for Life!


My birthday is on March 9. My buddy, Yohan and I are turning 26 years old. Besides a stiff leg and a couple of pigeon fever bumps on my chest, I’m doing pretty well for an old guy. Yohan took really good care of me for a very long time. His CMT got in the way of his riding, but we are still best of friends. Now, Yohan’s mom rides me once in a while and she and her friends pamper and play with me. Life could not be better!

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Yohan on Athos – Gilles on Chyna

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot from my human and equine counterparts who have attempted to shape my behavior and teach me proper manners. Here are a few takeaways tidbits I hope you find useful:

Maturity is overrated! Play, have fun and don’t shy away from a little dirt. Messiness has its perks, people. Since it rains so little in California, I love rolling in puddles on the freshly rain-soaked ground. Who doesn’t like a mud bath? Lounging on my back feels soooooo good, especially since I don’t have the means to get a professional back massage. What feels better than a good roll in the mud (and so much better than a roll in the hay-hahaha)?



Most humans just look at me and shake their heads. They might think “Athos should have been born a pig!” Say what they may, lying on my back moving to and fro takes the “itchies” away and fends off those pesky flies.

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Better yet, when Elizabeth sees me in such a sad state (she says sad but mud makes me happy!)  I get another rub down as she brushes my coat, untangles the knots in my mane and removes the stubborn cakes of mud stuck to my tail. Once she leaves, it takes me about 5 minutes to get all dirty again. Live and let live! Life is too short to worry about a few stains.

Today’s a camouflage day!


The Carrot is Mightier than the Stick! Over the years, I’ve had a lot of owners and a lot of riders, all with new and innovative ways to make me “behave”.  Looking back, I must tell you that positive reinforcement is much more powerful than punishment, which fills me with fear and uncertainty.  In all honesty, I live for praise (and treats) and a soft pat on my neck (and a few more treats). In fact, my favorite lessons include a clicker, praise and ….you got it – treats. I’ll do almost ANYTHING for a carrot (low-sugar snacks work just as well). If you’re around my forever home at the Horse Park in Woodside, bring a couple of carrots! I’ll show you all my silly stunts….you don’t even have to ask!


Everyone is on Some Sort of Spectrum – I never made it to horse size. I fall a wee bit short, and everybody points it out.  Whatever.

I look like I’m a big dog here. I am a HORSE!!


I’m vertically challenged (short), horizontally challenged (on the heavy side, especially after the spring grasses), and move with a “gimp” (a word used by a vet to describe my walk, which I find horribly offensive) due to a past injury. I’ve learned to love myself deeply despite my apparent “flaws”.  In fact, the more I love myself, the more others embrace me.


Children are my favorite riders, especially as I get a little older. They are light, trusting and gracious. When kids are around, I’m groomed, spoiled, led around an arena 2-3 times and everyone’s happy- no long trail rides or boring arena lessons.  They love me unconditionally, cellulite and all!


Respect is Earned – In the horse world, there are tons of complicated hierarchy rules. The bottom line is that I have little clout, so I have figured out how to survive by being kind to all creatures big and small.  Another technique is to find intimidating friends.

Me and my new friend, Goliath!

In the end, if other horses do not like me, that’s their problem. I just stay away – their loss.

Recently, I had to be isolated in a stall for a ridiculous amount of time. I was so lonely. When I went back to my “family,” my rank and mere presence had to be renegotiated. After being bossed around for a day, I decided to put an end to the nonsense. Stomping my hooves, standing my ground and vocalizing my frustration were the only way I got everyone to respect me. So, only put up with so much before setting boundaries! Everything is hunky-dory now.

Stuck in a stall – UGH


Knowledge is Power – I am a flight animal by nature, so I am exceptionally keyed into my herd’s anxiety and the fear people carry in their hearts and soul. I’ve been told that many fancy pancy horses jump obstacles in the field, only to run like the wind to leap over another jump as fast as “horsely” possible.

Does this look like fun? NOT!

Whoever invented that stupid sport? Personally, I’m baffled at why any horse would want to expend the energy to compete anywhere, anytime…….period!  I bet they don’t even get a treat after they jump. Geez.  Way too stressful and exhausting, in my humble opinion.

So if I’m on the cross country course and a seriously focused horse and rider gallop on by in the opposite direction, you can bet your bottom dollar that I’m following the fleeing horse.  I’m not going to be the idiot who gets eaten by real or invisible monsters – no, not me! I may be short and chubby, but I’m no dummy!

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Ready to Run!

But, the best rides are relaxing and scare-free. On weekends, I take walks with my pasture friends, Bailey, Szcarlet and my sister, Chyna. I love those rides, even though,  Szcarlet has made it perfectly clear that she doesn’t care for me all that much. Girls are a mystery to me.

Here’s a goofy picture of Szcarlet! Don’t tell her I went public with this one…..LOL!


I must say that she is truly beautiful AND she has papers, a lineage, a noble family – the works.  But, if I so much as look in her direction, with even the briefest of sideways glances, she chases me away. In fact, she’s always been pretty up front and blunt about her feelings towards me (she has none).

How do I handle her attitude? I do what I know how to do best – annoy her. When she’s in front of me on the trails, I stretch my neck out as far as possible and try to give her a love bite on her behind. If I don’t watch it, I’m going to get kicked in the face. Has not happened yet, but one day I might be sorry!

Hey, I never said I was perfect!

My family – from left to right: Szcarlet, Bailey, me and Chyna!

I have more words of wisdom, but all for now. I have grass to eat and mud to roll in. If you can relate to any of the above or have any questions for me, please feel free to ask. I love helping horses and humans alike.

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Your friend,



PS: My friend Micaela snapped the Featured Image of me. We were playing Peek-A-Boo!

HELIOS® Braces

by Mitch Warner, CPO

The Helios® orthosis is a custom made energy storing carbon fiber AFO. The Helios® provides balance, stability, and a more natural gait pattern.  Utilizing triplanar control*, dynamic response*, and floor reaction*, these corrective forces stabilize the foot and ankle to give standing and walking stability that is necessary for normal walking that many people with CMT lack.

Utilizing the most cutting-edge materials for the Helios® orthosis, we can provide true energy return through dynamic response.  This energy return will help spring you forward, and help you walk with less fatigue, enabling you to live your best life.

Listen to Stacy’s experience:

Being a custom made orthosis, the Helios® is made to fit you properly, be strong enough for your lifestyle, and addresses your specific needs and concerns.  No two Helios® orthoses are alike.  There are different models and configurations of the Helios® orthosis depending on the needs of the patient.  The appointment is usually 5-days (Monday through Friday), and this includes evaluation, casting, diagnostic brace fitting, and final carbon brace fitting.  Our custom made diagnostic braces are actual permanent style AFOs that we use for diagnostic evaluation. You will finish your appointment with final adjustments and your new brace.  We verify that the brace fits you properly, you can use it properly, and that it is giving you the most progressive fit and function.



The Helios® orthosis, because it is custom made for your specific needs/combination of needs, is beneficial in helping a variety of problems such as;

  • Footdrop
  • Eversion/inversion
  • Pes cavus/pes planus
  • Hip-hiking
  • Knee hyperextension/quadriceps weakness
  • Strength loss
  • Balance instability
  • Fatigue


These problems can be caused by a variety of diagnoses;

  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Stroke


The Helios® orthosis has a unique patent for balance control combined with energy return.  Our current Helios® models include the Helios® E/I, Helios GX®, and the Helios® KAFO.  We are the originators of the Double Helix™ AFO which uses anterior and posterior dynamic response struts.  A CMT Study with the Helios® has been published in the Journal of Gait & Posture.

To determine if the Helios® orthosis would help you, we ask you to send us video according to the instructions we can provide to you.  Once we view your video, we determine if the Helios® orthosis will help you and we provide you with a realistic expectation of what we can do for you.

  • Dynamic Response: Energy storing uprights in the Helios® that compress during patient loading and then performs like a spring with a dynamic response to propel the lower limb forward.
  • *Floor Reaction: Helps control frontal plane stability while the foot is on the floor, by transmitting stabilizing forces of the orthoses below the knee.  This provides balance in conjunction with the Helios® footplate that is engineered for balance control.
  • *Triplanar Control: The patient’s foot and ankle have corrective forces applied in all 3 planes of movement.  Dropfoot, foot deformity, and joint collapse, create deviations in all 3 planes of movement that need to be corrected and controlled, to prevent further deformity and loss of balance and function.
  1. Frontal Plane
  2. Sagittal Plane
  3. Transverse Plane

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These 3 planes of movement, Triplanar, occur in the Ankle Joint, Subtalar Joint, and Midtarsal Joint.

The cost for a pair of Helios® braces is right around 13,800, but is dependent on the level of correction needed, and what type of device is being custom fabricated.

We do not accept insurance, but will bill your insurance for you after your visit is completed.

Give us a call or email us to see if the Helios® orthosis can help you.


Ortho Rehab Designs

2578 Belcastro St., Suite 101

Las Vegas, NV 89117

Toll free: 888-696-9909

Phone: 702-388-9909