Saturday, March 18, 2017

Back at the Therapeutic Riding Center!

We pulled into the driveway with much anticipation . . . welcomed by smiles, hugs, the smell and sounds of horses, laughter, a buzz of activity, excitement in the air . . . the spring session at the therapeutic riding center started up again last week!

On the day we volunteer, they dropped one of the children's classes and bumped up the veteran's class so Leah and I are back to working with the veterans again. That is so nice! Since my hands and mind were pretty involved during the children's classes, I only took one blurry cell phone picture during the veteran's class and the other is from a friend . . . .

Therapy in progress. K. did a great job back after a winter without riding!
(Photo courtesy of his wife A. Both of them have become special friends of ours!) 

Out on the trail

Note the short sleeves in the photos! The day was forecast to be sunny with a high in the 70's . . . it started out that way and we were thoroughly enjoying it, but an unexpected large storm that arrived shortly after the veteran's class along with a significant temperature drop had us very thankful that we brought jackets along (and made us wish we had brought something warmer!)

With thunder, lightning and pouring rain, we did several of the sessions in their entirety in the covered arena. Strong, cold winds, though, blew the rain in getting us a bit wet in the process. Needless to say, we were quite chilled by the time we made it home! Despite that, it was such a wonderful day! We loved our time there.

Some highlights from our first time back with our riders (and some new ones) were . . . .

~ Working with the veteran's again! It is always special and an honor to work with them.

~ One of my sweet riders (now age 3) who really struggled last year with tears and fear was SO excited to ride again. She remembered me too! As soon as she saw me, her face lit up with her precious, infectious smile, her little hand waved emphatically, and she shouted out "I ride horsey!!" That exclamation was made many times as I carried her over to her horse and mounted her. The joy in her face and the increasing strength in her body was so wonderful to see!

Borrowing a photo from last year . . . her and I

~ A new rider who is five was struggling before his class so the instructor called Leah and I over to be his sidewalkers. We helped get him mounted, safely held in the saddle, and then Leah, the girl leading the horse, and I started off with him. Knowing that children with certain special needs respond very positively to music, I started singing. Old MacDonald had a Farm was a definite hit with this precious boy, and almost immediately, he calmed and a beautiful smile spread across his face. We sang that song until our voices were going a bit hoarse, and MacDonald had quite the diverse set of animals on his farm. :)

It is so good to be back, and we are looking forward to the many special and memorable days ahead at the center!

2 comments:

  1. I have recently been reading about the work with veterans who have returned from Afghanistan with PTSD, and riding is one of the things that has helped enormously. It's the bond between horse and man , I think, that makes a difference to confidence.

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    1. It is indeed amazing, Elizabeth, what a help therapeutic riding is for veterans with PTSD! Being involved with this type of therapy has given opportunity to see it firsthand, too. Several years ago as a part of our training at the center before we began working with veterans, we watched a powerful documentary on therapeutic riding and PTSD. It was incredible to see how so many different aspects of the therapy can help in such diverse areas in the veteran's lives and healing process.

      I am so thankful that our veterans have opportunities across the US to be a part of something like this. I wish, though, that there were many, many more programs like it for them!

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