Wednesday, August 02, 2006

pony love

As a person who had spent the better part of her youth obsessed with horses, when I started reading about Hippotherapy I knew I just HAD to get Jacob into a program. Then I checked into the cost -- and choked! We live on a farm, so we did the most logical thing. We bought Jacob a pony.

Actually, we bought him two. The first pony arrived in March and wasn't at all what I'd hoped she'd be. She was high strung and had very poor ground manners (meaning she'd just as soon stomp on you as hold still for brushing). I kept her a year anyway, and she really was nice to the kids when they were up on her back, but I was afraid she was going to hurt me (or worse, someone else) during her general care, so I ultimately sold her.

I was MUCH more careful the second time around. I spoke endlessly with the owner of the pony I was considering, and drove Jacob up to meet him. Jacob stepped in his stall, and the pony took a careful step forward and rested his chin on Jacob's shoulder. SOLD! A friend with a stock trailer drove up to fetch him home for me in June 2004.

Even without the benefit of a qualified PT to oversee our work, Jacob quickly became quite an accomplished little bareback rider. I can't say enough good things about owning this pony -- we now use the pony for OT and balance excercises while Jacob rides (reaching across his midline, etc), and we do brushing, feeding and caring for him with an RDI flair. (I have dreams of developing an RDI Riding program someday on our farm so that more kids can benefit from this sort of partnership with an equine. Fortunately, this little dude is only 6 yrs old, so he'll be around for a good long time. And I've already got another wonderful pony lined up when she retires from the lesson facility she works at.)

Jacob spent the summer riding ponies, playing with his dog, obsessing over playground equiptment, being exposed to as many different textures as I could think of, being wrapped up like a catapillar, and coming to realize that he not only didn't mind, but also sort of liked it, when I carried him around my sister's pool.

I spent the summer desperately searching for a Sensory Integration Therapist and dreading the start of school. Posted by Picasa

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