Sophie is waiting anxiously to get on a horse.
Without even looking back, she grabs the complete stranger's hand and walks through the gate towards the horses.
Once they got her situated on top of the horse, she turned around and said "bye mommy". Absolutely no fear. No hesitation. Just pure joy.
Here she is holding onto the reins. Looking like such a big girl.
They do activities throughout the lesson.
Like put your hands on your helmet.
Or put the rings on the stick.
These were pictures from Sophie's first lesson. On our way home from this lesson, Sophie almost said the ABCs in entirety. She usually says ABCDE and then gets distracted. But this time, she said A through T. Then later that night, she finished T through Z.
Every day since then, she asks to "ride Scout" (the name of her horse). She is so very proud and loves to show everyone the pictures I printed off for her. It is an amazing form of therapy. Most of the people that work with this program are volunteers. Each rider must have three people with them at all times. One to lead the horse and two side walkers. They do a lot of fundraising events to help subsidize the cost. And if you absolutely cannot afford it, then they request that you put in some volunteer hours instead. (In other words, I highly recommend looking into this program wherever you may live.)
I am hoping that this will help with Sophie's ability to focus for longer periods of time. I am unwillingly (currently) to put her on any ADHD medications. I am trying to find some kind of alternative approach.
Therapy has always worked for Sophie. She retains the information. She just has issues with getting it to show. First it was the daily seizures. All that knowledge that she retained in the three years she received therapy through Early Intervention and preschool just came pouring out after surgery. It just proves how important therapy is even when you are not sure if the child is learning or retaining any of that information. It is absolutely amazing to watch her cognitive development take off. On the other hand, her lack of ability to focus is preventing her from showing us her full potential. So, hopefully, equine-assisted therapy will be another form of therapy that will help supplement what she is learning in school.
I think if Sophie could express it in words, she would tell us she wanted to move to a horse ranch and ride in wide open fields all day long. Because in her second lesson, she stood up in the stirrups and started bouncing up and down as to try to make the horse go faster. Here is a video from her first lesson...