Friday, October 20, 2017

Horse therapy

Ryan has started horse therapy and I'm so excited about it! I had heard about it a long time back from one of his therapists and looked into it a little bit. I called around and did some online research. I called a specific place I wanted to try but they don't start doing therapy with kids until they are four. I kept that in the back of my mind and finally over the summer, before his 4th birthday, I called and followed up with the farm I had my eye on. Timing worked out well because several of our family members gave Ryan a horse therapy session for his birthday present this year!

Stokes and William played soccer at the YMCA this fall and that obviously wasn't a good fit for Ryan, so I was really glad to have an alternate (and just as cool) activity for him! I don't want him to miss out without having a substitute - gotta keep it all fair(ish) with triplets!

Ryan started for the fall session of horse therapy on Sept. 8th and goes once a week to ride a pony named Cocoa for about 30 minutes. It starts out with Ryan getting his helmet on and the brace around his waist with handles so that someone can hold on to him on either side while riding Cocoa. Then he gets acquainted with the pony. Ryan will pet him and then the farm owner will do hand-over-hand with him to brush Cocoa for a minute or two. Some kids really like brushing the pony (or horse for bigger kids), but Ryan doesn't seem all that into it. Anyway, then he gets in the saddle and they make their way over to the ring. They will walk around the ring and stop at stations to put rings on a cone, for example, or put little stuffed animals into a mailbox or put a ball into a basketball hoop. Melissa, the farm owner, says she's seen an improvement in the skills and fine motor activities that are done while on Cocoa. She also said he seems to be sitting up straighter while riding and is improving with how in-tune he is with Cocoa during the lesson.

They say that riding a horse/pony is very good therapy for kids, or anyone, really, with disabilities. It's supposed to help with balance and core strength, among other benefits.

People have asked me if Ryan is enjoying it. To be honest, I think he likes it just fine. He's totally OK with it, but it's not a new obsession or anything like that. He doesn't cry or act fussy or mad, but he's not smiling and giggling the whole time, like I thought he probably would. He smiles mostly only when he's riding in an area of the ring close to where I am and he can see me. I'll call out to him and take pictures and that's when he smiles. In fairness, since he started in September, it has been HOT. Add a helmet on your head and direct sunlight and it feels even hotter for him. Things are finally starting to cool down now, weather-wise, but we're having to take a few weeks off for school Fall Break (the farm is closed) and for Halloween festivities next week. We'll see if we want to continue on in November or pack it up for the winter. We will most likely do some lessons again in the spring, but I'm not convinced yet that this will be a lifelong or at least an extended activity for Ryan. Only time will tell.

A compilation of pictures from Ryan's riding lessons:
Getting his helmet on
With Melissa, the farm owner
petting Cocoa

Some non-smiling pics. He definitely doesn't hate it, but does he really like it?!?! Not sure.

One time brothers got to come to Ryan's lesson. They wanted to ride a horse really bad!

No comments:

Post a Comment