“Horse! Horse! Wook , Mommy, Horse!” Ryan yells from the back seat. His face pushed up close to the window…hands spread wide. We pass a few stalls of horses on the long drive. I’m thrilled he’s excited because it’s not often he gets this passionate about something. But sometimes even with the picture schedule; I don’t think he really gets what I tell (and show) him we will be doing. I made a new piece for his schedule with picture of him on a horse and next to it the words: “ride a horse”. Per Dr. Hunter’s group, I now make his schedule with pictures and words, so when he gets better at reading we can take off the pictures. I love the idea of him actually reading a schedule. I am a calendar freak, always have been, so I appreciate making his daily schedule. I have to do it for myself. And I know how much it keeps him organized and knowing what to expect.
“Yes, bud, I know. You are going to ride a horse today.” I say for the fourth of fifth time today, as I pull in to the dirt parking lot. I think we are still a way from just words on his schedule or words to remind him. No mater, he’s happy to be here right now and I am too.
This isn’t just horse lessons, its ‘therapeutic riding’. I thought we should try it as he loves horses and maybe we can find something he can be involved in. Therapeutic riding isn’t a new concept, and I had looked into when he was first diagnosed, but most of the places weren’t close by. When I was looking to have a horse riding birthday party a few months ago for Ryan, the Riding House Therapy Group came up in my internet search. They didn’t do parties, but I liked that they were nearby. When we saw how much he enjoyed his birthday, I decided to give it a try. I liked that they served all disabilities as well as autism.
He opens his door and starts to jump out before I can turn the engine off.
“Hold on Ry, you have to wait for me.” I practically scream. I quickly pull the keys out and swing wide my door to block him. I grab his arm and then reach in for my purse as he is struggling to get away from me. He is straining his neck around the door to see the riding ring with a horse, rider and three assistants. Wow three people to one rider. That seemed like a lot, but I can see the rider has a physical handicap. I’m pretty sure, it’s for safety.
I grab his hand and walk down the gravel way to the small area with picnic tables and cabinets. We are spotted by a lady in a straw hat. She smiles broadly at us.