One of the first things that we learned here was that Moxie’s pre-school teacher has a coincidental background in Special Education and practices horse therapy in her spare time. Some might call that “coincidence” but I like to call it the Universe aligning stars for our Rainbow. Cheesy, a bit? Yeah, maybe, but how else can you explain something like that?!
Stars aligned, we finally got Moxie’s health insurance straightened out and with that, the x-ray that shows that her atlantoaxial joint is not at risk for disclocation. Apparently a small percentage of people with Down syndrome have atlantoaxial joints that might dislocate from the head and neck movement that results from the horse’s walk – so an x-ray is necessary before you start with horse therapy.We got that taken care of.
And then set up a time and date to get going with the actual business of horse therapy!
Why Horse Therapy?
Horse therapy has a lot of benefits for people with disabilities:
Physical: The patient improves his/her vertical and horizontal balance, muscle tone, improves motor coordination, experiences the independent movement of the pelvis and shoulders, which are essential for enable healthy walking habits. Riding provides the same upper body sensations as walking.
Psychological: The patient feels a sense of general well-being, improved self-esteem and self-confidence. The therapy also helps to reduce feelings of insecurity and fear that in turn will help the patient gain more confidence in everyday life
Educational: Improves attention and concentration, essential qualities that any person should have for any area requiring educational skills. Overcoming the space-time domain presented by the therapy promotes thinking.
Social: The therapy promotes the development of respect, responsibility, perseverance and loving toward animals. The positive attitude that the student acquires, improves family and social integration.
(from Benefits of Equine Therapy)
Horse Therapy in Moxie’s case basically works everything: her muscle strength, coordination, direction-following skills – it even works on speech! Added to that, it’s fun and it’s affordable. That all spells win-win, doesn’t it?
Here are the photos:
Micah had attended Horse Camp with Moxie’s teacher over the summer, so he was a help in leading the way with Moxie
Look at that TEENY TINY saddle!!!
So that was the first round: they went to a few stations around the ring, then came back, then went to where Micah was and got a ball.
Moxie carried the ball back and then threw it in the bucket with water.
Very simple, right? But she’s working all of her muscle groups in those exercises, improving her self confidence in riding and balance. She was riding without holding on
“GO!!!!” (she literally said it)
– says it all.
Moxie finished on that high note and since we had some time and MacQ was just about DYING to get on the horse too, Moxie’s teacher let him.
Best. Place. Ever.
// the end.
Equine Therapy (Wikipedia)
Meriah Nichols is a counselor. Solo mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one on the spectrum). Deaf, and neurodiverse herself, she’s a gardening nerd who loves cats, Star Trek, and takes her coffee hot and black.