Tag Archives: Equestrianism

Hippotherapy Session One


After a week of having rain in the afternoon, my daughter was finally able to begin her Hippotherapy sessions. I was ecstatic as always to see how anxious she was in wanting to ride. Though, she started the session with a little humor. Her therapist and her daughter, who is leading the horse, already had the horse saddled and ready to go when we got there. My daughter calmly walked up to the horse and started to pet him.

She looked down at the ground and immediately picked up brown clumps asking, “What’s this?”

Her therapist replies calmly, “Horse poo.” I bit my lip trying not to laugh, but at the same time thought oh gross!

She instantly drops the poo and starts wiping her hands on her shirt saying, “Ew, poo! Nasty poo!”

I immediately reach for her arm, telling her calmly that we need to wash our hands now. After she was all clean she pointed to the horse, asking if she can ride. Her therapist pointed out where the horse’s mouth, nose, and eyes were before sitting my daughter on top of the horse. She then learned to make nice, calm strokes on the horses neck and not hard slapping pats.

Image

I watch her ride around the corral in one big circle, before riding off behind a house into a shaded pathway. The lead stopped the horse as the therapist began asking her questions, having her repeat words. Then they played toss the ring on a pole after her therapist asked her what the color of each ring was. The lead then had the horse stop in the middle of the circle where the therapist picked up some flash cards and began asking her what was on each card. This went on for an hour.

Image

After the session my daughter seemed happier and asked if she could ride again. I told her she will, though she would have to wait until next week.

Image

Getting Closer To Animals


Since I’ve been having my daughter do hippotherapy (horseback riding therapy), she’s been more calm and relaxed around animals to the point of getting close enough to pet them. This is not just horses, but it is also cats and dogs. We don’t have pets here at home because my grandmother doesn’t want them, so animals are not a part of my daughter’s natural environment. But since I’ve been taking her horseback riding regularly, she’s becoming accustomed to animals and is even seeing that they are actually okay to be near. Normally she would start screaming excitedly and try to get as far away from whatever animal she sees. If I am holding her she will try to climb up me to prevent whatever animal from jumping up and touching her.

ImageImage

This weekend I watched her walk up to a horse and pet it without me saying anything to her. She did the same to a couple of cats. One of my parents cats was sitting at a window, looking outside, my daughter sits right next to him and looks outside with him. My daughter even laid on a coffee table next to my sister’s cat and let the cat stretch out towards her.

To some this may seem odd that I am even talking about it, but to me these are the small steps that I have to take in an every day life with an Autistic child. Small steps are even considered giant leaps, depending on what the situation is.

ImageImage

Today, I was approached by one of my daughter’s teachers on how to help my daughter in some of her meltdowns. I was so happy that she had asked me, because I know how she is at home, she is going to be the same way at school. There’s a long list of things I have to instruct people on how to deal with my daughter, that are in her every day life, such as daycare. It’s good to see that she has people at her daycare that are willing to help my daughter and are willing to work with her.

I, as a mom and as a person who was bullied at home and at school, am concerned about my daughter’s future when she starts school. I do try my best to have her ready, but it’s the small steps that are necessary in getting there.

A Ride With Horses


ImageRecently my daughter has been approved for hippotherapy. Hippotherapy is basically horseback riding therapy. Since having my daughter ride yesterday, I’ve already been asked how does having my daughter ride a horse help her? Well, thank you for asking me, here’s the long and short of it…

According to the American Hippotherapy Association, “hippotherapy is a physical, occupational, and speech-language therapy treatment that utilizes equine movement as part of part of an integrated intervention program to achieve functional outcomes.” Hippotherapy can help people in all walks of life. From special needs to the disabled.

I took my daughter to Harmony in Hooves in Salem, Arkansas. Harmony in Hooves is an actual therapeutic riding facility for children and adults. While we were there learning about the horses and the facility, we got to see first hand how the facility works as two of their regular riders arrived after us. One was an adorable little girl with down syndrome and the other with a beautiful woman who was paralyzed. Riding helps both of them as it will help my daughter.

Equine movement – the movement of the horse – will help with posture control, speech, sensory integration, communication, gross motor skills, attention skills, and so many other things, especially security. It can even help with coordination and balance. It can be a big sensory input just from the contact of the horse and it’s movement. Hippotherapy isn’t going to teach riding skills, it is a slow pace riding to help with all of what I stated above.