Check out the joy on these faces:
Ryan rides the little horse, Spud. And Spud is TINY. Logan’s on Jenn in this picture (a touch of irony there…), but he usually rides a horse named Appy. Jenn’s pretty little compared to Appy. They ride every Wednesday afternoon, and it is the highlight of their week.
Logan’s riding for therapy. We’ve seen incredible improvement in his core strength and his speech since he started. With 7 weeks down, he’s loving every minute of it. I suspect his favorite part is that HE is in control of the horse. These horses are incredible—if Logan doesn’t ‘turn his belly button and his nose’ in the direction he wants to go, then Appy or Jenn will simply walk right into the obstacle he is supposed to be steering them around. He’s learning…and one of the great lessons is that with control comes responsibility! He doesn’t fight me anywhere near as hard, since he now gets that making decisions means paying the consequences of wrong ones. (Yes, he’s directed his horse into a few fences. Corwin and Natalie stop the horse before anyone is hurt!)
Ryan’s also riding for therapy. In his case, it’s not for physical therapy but instead for help with his overwhelming fears. Hence the pony. Even after just 2 sessions I can see the benefits—Ryan’s not as afraid of going upstairs on his own, or going to bed a night. Amazing how conquering a fear of large animals can transfer to other areas of life.
(Ryan and Spud get to lead on the trail ride last week)
Both boys have 2 people with them when they ride (part of the therapeutic riding program at this arena.) Pepper and Eli work with Ryan, and Corwin and Natalie work with Logan. It’s perfect—Pepper is friendly and outgoing, just what somewhat shy Ryan needs. Natalie is partially deaf and wears hearing aids, just like Logan. Natalie has challenged Logan at every turn, not letting him slack off and get away with anything less than hard work. Pepper is encouraging to Ryan, gently reminding him that he is okay, that he will be fine, and that Spud won’t hurt him. They both give the boys some responsibilities at the end of the lesson, although Pepper discovered quickly that Ryan was more suited to putting away the saddle blanket than the saddle! Logan LOVES the hard, heavy work, though and thrives on helping out.
They both want to go to Equestrian Day Camp this summer right here where they ride. I’d LOVE to send them! They would be at camp from 8:30-4:30 Monday through Friday, riding horses and learning about their care. They would absolutely be in heaven! Sadly, you have to be 52” tall to participate, and although Logan will be that tall by summer, there’s not a snowball’s chance anywhere that Ryan will be. At not quite 48”, he’s got a long ways to go before he gets that tall. Especially when you consider that he’s only grown 20” in the last 7 years!! Oh well. Hopefully, a spring term of therapeutic riding is in their future. Maybe that will ease the pain of being too short for summer camp.
Need me on Wednesday afternoons? I’ll be at the barn, watching my boys have a blast! Enjoying the fact that sometimes therapy (and hard work) are truly FUN.