A MESSAGE FROM MOM: Sarah first rode a horse at Girl Scout camp and loved it, so I thought she might enjoy riding lessons. Many areas have therapeutic riding programs but our philosophy over the years has been to first enroll Sarah in activities in our community that her school age peers are in. We first started at an equestrian center not far from our home at the suggestion of a neighbor. Sarah really enjoyed it and was progressing nicely. Then one day she witnessed a girl fall from her horse. The girl began screaming very loudly and continued to hold onto her reins as the horse tried to get away. This confused and hurt the horse so he became agitated which caused for a few tense moments. From that point, I could not get Sarah near the barn without her crying hysterically. So we stopped going.
A few years later the resident camp that Sarah attends each summer built an indoor arena and began to offer therapeutic riding. It is a good distance from where we live, but I hated that Sarah had ended her riding with such a bad experience. I thought maybe since she was familiar with the camp, she would be more comfortable there with the horses. I was wrong.
It took the staff and volunteers three months or more before Sarah would even enter the ring with a horse. The difference though was the training they received because it is a NARHA accredited center. Each week they patiently and gently worked with Sarah in the stall area until she was comfortable petting the horse. From there, they had a plan that eventually got her back on the horse utilizing the wheelchair lift they have. Slowly she started to make progress. It has been about three years now, and each session she is doing better than the one before. She now really looks forward to her ride each Saturday.
I thought you might like to see the report we got for the last session. I just love how independent and confident she is becoming. As you read this, you will also pick up that there is definitely a love affair with Doug. What a great and dedicated volunteer he is. I wonder if it is By Chance or By Design that he is scheduled on Saturday and has this special relationship with Sarah?