Friday, February 10, 2006

Horses and Me -- and Hippotherapy

Horses. Like many little girls, my first love was a horse. I lived to ride, I loved to brush her and walk her, I kept her paddock and tack room clean with no complaints. I even felt comfortable with the way I smelled when I walked home from the stables. Life was good. My parents had to move so we sold Domino.

It was okay. I would get another horse later, and I would see other horses until then.

I taught horseback riding at a girls camp one summer. I rented horses for a ride when I could. I taught my boys to walk rented horses and then to ride. It was okay; I would eventually have horses of my own again. But then this MS thing came along and the plans changed.

There's still hippotherapy! Licensed therapists use horses with qualified disabled people. I'm not sure how to be qualified, but a doctor's okay is the first step.

The horses used in this therapy are mature, gentle, and specially trained for unconventional mounting.. The horse's rhythmic gait can lead to improved posture and balance as well as other functions, normalizing muscle tone and reducing spasticity. It sounds good, but what if I can't balance? Volunteers walk beside the horse and disabled rider to guard against falls.

Tell me more -- provides information, including locations of hippotherapy locations. I found six in Texas. The American Hippotherapy Association provides detailed information about therapy with horses.

Horses! It sounds great to me.

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1 comment:

Garry said...

C'mon, now, how can anybody find a hippo to ride???