More than riding…

Courtney was super agitated today. She had a tough 2 1/2 hour session with one her home therapists. Struggled during occupational therapy. On and off whining the whole hour ride to the ranch to see our favorite horses. The agitation magically stopped as soon as we were with our favorite pony, Bumble.

I was asked one time what Riding Therapy was like, what did they work on, how does it help children with disabilities? I explained how it is so much more than just learning to ride a horse. I had mentioned to another person that Courtney has made so much progress with horse therapy and they asked, “how has it improved, is her posture better?”. Again I replied that it’s so much more than riding. When asked by both of these people, Courtney still hadn’t gotten on Bumble by herself.

In the pictured I shared above above the top picture is of Courtney at our second session. It’s hard to tell, but she is crying as she was petting the pony. I questioned why I was making her do this the first few sessions as she cried through them. She was so overwhelmed by the new experience, the noises, the big animal but we stuck with it knowing you can’t give up so early. After a change in location that ended up being much more conducive to her sensory needs, we finally started making progress.

Progress in what? Progress in her ability to tolerate the different noises in a barn, her ability to tolerate being around a big animal, her ability to follow someone’s lead, her ability to hold on to the rope. And now…we can say she’s made progress because she now rides Bumble without me! Just look at that bottom picture! That’s the same girl that was crying in the top picture because we had her touch the pony. And it’s the same girl what was whining out of frustration all morning. Horse Therapy is magical!

Ms. Christine has been so amazing with us this whole journey. Watching her work with both girls with different approaches based on their needs and in both cases in a loving way. Let’s just say there are few people that Alyssa will go to when I’m around. Ms. Christine is one of those people. I sat back today and watched Ms. Christine and her volunteer work with my girls. That’s progress! It’s more than just learning to ride!

And…I’m truly learning to ride!!! I’m making progress too! I got Capone to trot two weeks ago!!! I won’t blog about how at peace I am for 30 minutes when I have my turn to ride. But I am!

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