Sunday, October 27, 2013
What She Learns
I promised to do a post explaining the details of Reagan's Equine Assisted Learning, so here goes. Reagan rides a pony named Sally whom she has come to love dearly and calls by name....cognitive, social and speech, check. ;) And that is pretty much how riding goes for her. Various parts of her ride work her in every area of therapy from gross motor through speech. Reagan rides bareback (with a bareback pad) in order to feel the movement of the horse more and encourage her balance. This has worked wonders for her muscle tone! Before she started riding when you picked her up she was a dead weight....she didn't hold herself up at all. I noticed the very first time she rode the improvement when I picked her up after.
Riding bareback has also improved her posture. When she first started she was nervous and hunched into the horse, now she sits tall with a straight back and corrects her balance. She even grabs the "reins" to "steer" as her confidence and balance have improved. She runs through a series of tasks and tells Sally to "walk on" (or as Reagan says "ahk ahn") after each stop.
She weaves through poles on which she drops colored rings. She has to say the color (cognitive, speech) and reach different heights and distances (gross/fine motor).
She drops a baseball into a traffic cone (motor planning, balance). She shoots a (small, she's tiny and the big one hits her helmet lol) ball into a basketball hoop (gross motor, speech.."one more time", "ball"). And she runs through a series of exercises extending her arms for balance.
She is learning to care for her pony, she now helps brush her before saddling up. She also know where her helmet is kept and gets it out and puts it away (life skills). There is nothing that has not been improved by her riding and specifically her speech has improved (started really) dramatically from the day she started. Now this is just what Reagan does. The big kids like Austen and Dakota also get to do groundwork with the horses which works on a whole bunch of other areas. Austen worked on communicating with the horses with speech and visual cues which works on his communication skill and patience. (Ok there was supposed to be a video here but it won't upload...sorry Austen) The horses are such a blessing and can help with everything from motor skills to emotional needs and we treasure the opportunity for Reagan to work with them and the privilege to help work with others like Austen and Dakota....and those of you who haven't started riding yet. You know who you are and I'm gonna keep nagging you to come out! ;)