Thursday, March 11, 2010

Therapeutic Riding....Lesson one...

Tuesday, Faith had her first therapeutic riding lesson at Eden Farms...
I was not sure that Faith would cooperate and even get near the horse as she has issues with large animals...
But she surprised us all....
They plopped her right down on Hannah, the horse and off she went like a professional equestrian...
I tell you, you could NOT wipe the smile off of her face! She kept calling "Ahna" (her word for me) and pointing to the horse. She had four girls working with her the therapeutic riding teacher and three volunteers, all who were kind and friendly and gentle and encouraging.
I am quite sure I have NEVER seen her smile so much in one hour! She was thrilled! The riding instructor kept commenting on what good posture she had and how she hardly needed any assistance at all! It was a wonderful thing to hear! I have become used to hearing negative things about her abilities but it was a real thrill to hear her talk about how great Faith was doing!
They let her ride the horse backwards to work some different muscles and she got to hold the horse's tail which was great! They wanted her to use her arms to push up while she was riding backwards but she wouldn't do it. But the girl said in a way that was a good thing b/c she had such good balance that she didn't need to. WOW!
Then they took her out of the riding ring and up a big hill to make her work her core muscles differently. She thought she was SO big!
I thought her posture was wonderful, she sat so tall and easy....

Faith was particularly fond of the girl in the pink shirt. She kept chatting away to her like a little mocking bird. I was amazed at how her speech came out, once she got up there!

Faith had the time of her life and I was on cloud nine! So happy, we both were!
She was head over heals in love with riding and now I have to come up with a way to fund this long term! LOL! It was a great dose of BIG medicine for Faith and for me!

I was so proud of my girl and we can't wait to go back, next week. I certainly think that this will be great for her muscles and for her confidence...

Some additional notes...
They did not use a saddle with Faith to help her feel the horse under her and to make her work her leg muscles more.
They did use a little handle that went around the horse so she could have something to hold on to and for the most part she needed very little assistance.
I was also very impressed that she tolerated the helmet because she hates hats but she never complained one time!
The horse, Hannah, is trained to work with special needs children. She was used to wheelchairs and being handled strangely and nothing bothered her.
It was very interesting to see how she did for strangers instead of me or her regular therapists...she just accepted whatever they did.
They told me to expect her to only last for about 20 minutes, as most kids with CP become exhausted quickly from the strain. But this girl rode for 40 minutes...

MY GIRL!


12 comments:

caryanne said...

WOW! That is all just fantastic! Thanks for posting so many pictures. My Ben is going to start therapeutic riding in May and we're super excited and nervous about it all at the same time. She really did amazing and her posture looks awesome!

Mo said...

We are about to start hippotherapy this month too!! Oia rode 1x last May and did awesome and I remember how amazing it felt to see my tiny girl on that big horse. I said the wind was making my eyes water but I was totally lying...tears of pride they were for sure. SOOO glad Faith gets the opportunity to do this and we can't wait to get started soon ourselves. Hugs!

BusyLizzyMom said...

She looks great. Elizabeth has been riding for 1 1/2 years and still needs more supprt than Faith. Hippotherapy has so many benefits after 6mths of riding Elizabeth could sit unassisted in a chair. The weather looks so nice, when Elizabeth rides we are freezing our butts off in an arena with no heat. Good luck finding funds, everything that has a benefit costs a ton.

The Henrys said...

She is a natural horseback rider! I am very impressed as well. She did such a great job and it looks like you found a wonderful place to take her. When Gracie went, they never did any of the things that they did with Faith. I love that she isn't in a saddle and that they went up the hill and that she rode backwards. I hope you can find some funds to keep going! It would be worth it for some good therapy for the body and the soul!

Jen said...

Oh wow, I am really impressed, you must be bursting with excitement. I hope you can continue, it would be fantastic to be able to do so:) Jen.

TheRextras said...

I am absolutely thrilled to see this post, Candace! You have a way of showing other parents that is incredibly important in terms of encouragement and reality.

Faith is amazing! (And beautiful, of course.)

I know the cost of hippotherapy is a barrier for many. I would just encourage parents to think in terms of the costs that parents pay for extracurriculars for children. I hear the screams that hippotherapy is not an extracurricular, but the fact is that children benefit from a wide variety of activities that are not part of 'medicine'.

We spent thousands of dollars on karate, swimming, dance and scouts for our children. ALL of those activities helped develop our children and was worth every penny.

Thanks for letting me say that here, Candace. Let me know if you prefer that I not make such long (opinionated) comments. Barbara

Candace said...

Dr. Boucher,
Your words are always welcomed here! I am thankful for them! Yes, I agree with you about the extracirricular activities! When I saw her on that horse I knew that I had to find a way to make it work. If nothing else than the shear joy she had doing it, even if it did nothing for her physically! They do have a scholarship program but I am not sure if we will qualify...will see.

Amber said...

She looks AMAZING up there! A huge smile on my face this morning. :0)

Katy said...

Sounds great! She looks fabulous on there too. I'd like to try Hippotherapy for Charlie when he's old enough--they have age requirements here.

Carla said...

Can I say AWESOME?!?!
Her posture is perfect! It makes me miss riding! And it never fails to amaze me what a horse can draw out of a child. And yes, going up hills is a workout for both horse & rider:) I am thrilled for you both to experience all that a horse can give:)

TMI Tara said...

This post got me excited about Chloe's horse therapy that is going to start in just a couple weeks! We all have so much fun there! And Chloe always seems stronger afterward, I love it :)

Witkowski Family said...

Found you over on Charlie's site...
What a beautiful entry, Faith looks so happy on the horse and I could tell just by this post how proud of her you were; amazing what one little thing can do to boost our moods!