Did I leave you in the grips of anticipation? Have you been clinging to the arms on your easy-chair eagerly waiting? Well, here's the answer: The course that made a huge impression on me was Therapeutic Riding. In the program, we as students, bomb-proofed the horses to use for the disabled children in their physical therapy through the use of horseback riding. About a dozen kids or so signed up to come in once a week on Saturday mornings. They exercised their muscles; increased their flexibility and balance; and in the process added to their overall well-being by helping achieve a sense of freedom, overcoming obstacles, and accomplishing goals. Some of these kids were wheelchair bound and for them to be able to ride and control a horse was nothing less than magical for them.
In the beginning of the semester, this class was very difficult for me because I was required to spend Saturday mornings (8-12) leading horses and spotting the children. Me getting up early on a Saturday morning was pretty much torture. But, as the semester progressed, I got to know the children and their families. As I watched these children transform through this process, I became aware of their progress not only physically, but mentally. It touched my heart and for the first time ever I think, my Saturday morning sacrifice became something more than me. There was a particular mare in the program that I became very attached to. She was a black Quarter Horse mare and she was basically mine. I trained her, I rode her, I lead her for those beautiful children. We were a good team and she was a very special horse.
By the end of the semester, we were ALL were changed. The students, the children, the teacher, the horses, the families, and even the physical therapist were all different coming out of this class. It was an amazing experience to say the least.
After college I trained Missouri Foxtrotter horses...yes horses are just
a part of me. So, when my family decided to buy a farm in 2004, I had a dream
of a therapeutic riding facility. I immediately found a horse (a big, stout, coal black Missouri Foxtrotter mare), paid too
much for her, and then found out she had breathing problems. Oh well...I
think it makes her even better for the program as you don't have to
worry about her running or bucking. Plus, she's kinda disabled herself.
But, as things turned out, financially it just wasn't going to be
possible. My dream got put on hold. Then I met and married my wonderful
husband and we started a family. LIFE CHANGING EVENT. But, horses will always be in my heart, so we bought and traded for a couple of
yearlings in 2007: a black quarter horse filly and a red roan blanketed
Appaloosa gelding. I really wanted to start these two myself, and do it
the way I wanted to. But, it's very hard (impossible really) to train
horses when you're pregnant or carrying an infant on your hip. So the horses and my dream got put off again.
Ok, back to the subject of the title...
-To be continued