Thursday, March 31, 2011

Help Make a Kid Smile!

Last year, we teamed up with Pal-o-Mine Equestrian, a therapeutic horseback riding stable on Long Island. We heard about them through a friend of ours who has a son, Jonathan, with Mowat-Wilson Syndrome. Since her son started working with Pal-o-Mine, he's made great strides in some of his movement and sensory issues.

I grew up riding horses and I found that being so close to these animals helped me focus. This concentration in turn helped me with my learning disabilities and my hyperactivity. There is something about being in the presence of an animal that is so big and powerful that requires your full attention. Riding horses allows you to connect on a very instinctual level; the horse picks up on your subtle movements and emotions. You can't be worried around a horse, or the horse responds. You can't be distracted on a horse, or the horse knows. You develop a strong sense of responsibility in caring for these animals and the equipment needed to ride them.

This past October, my boyfriend, Jack was on a horse for the first time. Growing up as a city boy, he never had any experience around horses, and he was quite afraid. He was nervous that the horse would bite him or make a break for it. Jack went trail riding in Moab, Utah where John Ford and John Wayne filmed their Westerns. I didn't want to tell Jack that the horses are so trained that they would walk the path even if Jack was sleeping, but I did tell him not to worry. After the brief ride on his horse, Jack came back more centered and at ease. Perhaps it was living the life-long dream of becoming a cowboy, or maybe it was the horse himself.

Being on a horse helps with coordination and muscle control. In addition to the physical benefits, riding can help encourage confidence, cooperation and self-esteem. Therapeutic horseback riding has been proven to help with autism, downs syndrome, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy and the effects of traumatic brain injuries.

Between my love for these amazing animals and my desire to help people like Jonathan, I dedicated my one-minute activity today to help support Pal-o-Mine Equestrian by becoming a Carrot Club Member.

If you are interested in this type of therapy - consider helping Pal-o-Mine Equestrian.
Please feel free to share your horse stories with me. I'd love to hear them.

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