Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Therapeutic Horseback Riding

This is on the last day of Courage Riders, a therapeutic horseback riding program that Olivia has been a part of since she was 3 1/2 years old.

The person standing next to her is one of the side walkers...a volunteer who donates her time to the program. For each rider, there are 3 volunteers (two side walkers and one lead walker).

Olivia is legally blind in both eyes, has speech delays, developmental delays, and Sensory Integration Dysfunction.

Because of these challenges, she is able to take therapeutic horseback lessons through the Courage Center. The program has made a tremendous difference in her life.

When she first began riding a few years ago, she couldn't even sit up on the horse. She was slumped over and had very little muscle control in her trunk.

She also was unable to say more than one word at a time. During the program, she put two words together for the first time.

This year, I noticed that Courage Riders included more activities with speech and letter/word identification which was interesting. I continue to find it fascinating the impact that horses have on people, especially children.

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