Thursday, September 5, 2013

Therapeutic Riding Lesson #1

Sorry it took me all week to give you an update but Cate LOVED  her therapeutic horse lesson as expected.  We had a little glitch in the "earning" rewards process because there wasn't a swim practice Friday for her to be good at and she got a yellow at school so we were two short as of the end of the school day.  I gave her some opportunities to earn "horses" by being good at while I was at the chiropractor and then helping me with sorting laundry so she got there - phew.  The barn isn't as far away as I had expected which makes is possible for the future and Cate was really good for almost the whole lesson.
meeting a horse when we first arrived
 Cate was so ready for this that she wouldn't even wait in the cute gazebo with nice soft chairs - she waited right on the concert outside the area of the barn she saw the horses coming from!
She immediately took to her instructor, Miss S.  They spent more than half of the lesson learning the process of getting the horse ready.  Cate's horse was named "Hersey" and was a palomino.  She was very excited to meet him.

Next they walked him over to the grooming area (sorry I don't know the real terminology yet) to begin to learn all the steps and safety processes.

Cate was really engaged in learning the steps in getting the horse ready.    She readily repeated unfamiliar words like "bridle" and didn't push back at all when Miss. S gave her instructions.  They brushed the horse with the different types of brushes and even cleaned his shoes with some sort of pick.  The whole time Cate was listening intently and focusing on the tasks - I didn't hear much out of her except her little instructions like "Hershey be still" and "Hershey stop moving your legs"!

After doing the grooming process then talking about the equipment they got him saddled up and Cate put on a helmet with no fuss at all.  They took the horse down to the ring and started working on voice commands.  Cate firmly told me to wait in the barn so I missed the first part until I couldn't stand it anymore and headed down to watch.  They led the horse around for quite a while.
When it was finally time for her to ride, Cate actually got a little nervous and wanted Miss S to go first.  They ended up watching another lesson for about one minute before Cate said she was ready to go.  I think the problem in the mounting for her.  They put up a step but of course the horse won't stay still since it takes her forever.  We ended up having me hold the horse and Miss S give her a fast leg up.  Once she was up there she was ready to go.  After a little while of listening pretty well even on the horse she started to get her imagination going and ask to run or started telling a story.  Miss S dealt with it really well and they kept on practicing "whoa" and "walk on".

I would consider the whole lesson a success.  I think there is value in it outside the core muscle strengthening to following instruction and self confidence.  Especially after this part Cate is already asking when her next lesson is:
I know the video is hard to see since it was with my phone but Cate is learning to say "trot"!!  She loved that little bit of speed.  I think I have created a horse riding monster!!


  1. So fun! I'm glad Cate is enjoying it. I've wondered about having Owen try it, but he gets freaked out when he gets close to animals right now. So maybe we'll think about it in a few years.

    Ride 'em, cowgirl!

    1. Lucy is terrified of any animal bigger than our cat! She wants to ride a horse but freaks out everytime she gets near one. I haven't figured out anyway to help her with that so if you figure something out let me know!