Monday, March 10, 2014

For the love of horses

"She did better than I thought she was going to do."  I have heard this statement or one very much like it so many times in the past six years that I have lost count.  I have heard this from doctors, therapists, nurses, etc...folks that quite frankly don't know our girl.  They don't know how strong she really is but they find out soon after meeting her.

I applied for Sophie Kate to be in a horse therapy program called Special Equestrians...2 years ago.  Yes, you heard right there is a 2 year waiting list to get into the program. Well, it's finally our turn and we went for Sophie Kate's evaluation on Saturday.  As so many of you know, a lot has happened in the past two years as we have been waiting for our turn with the horses.  There are so many concerns for someone like SK in a program like this because she requires so much assistance while riding.  Would they have enough volunteers?  Would it be safe for our girl while riding?  Would they physically be able to support her on the horse?  These were all questions the staff was very concerned about regarding our girl.  They are certainly valid.  They were not sure if this would work out for us and consequently neither was I.  I think deep down inside I just didn't want to get my hopes up once again and then be so sad when things didn't work out.  

I have loved horses my whole life.  I have wanted to be a "horse person" my whole life.  I am not one, but there is something about these animals that I have always been drawn to.  Just ask my daddy, he knows how long I have loved these animals.  I have had small snippets in my life where I have been able to spend time around these beautiful animals and it has always made me so so happy. I even volunteered at a program exactly like this in Tennessee when I was in college.  Yes, I volunteered to assist special needs children in riding horses years ago and now here I was with my daughter on the verge of participating in pretty much the exact same program.  

I volunteered in the program back home around the age of 20 and I have to admit that I was drawn to the program because of the horses.  I learned to bring them in to the stables, brush them, saddle them, help with the riders and tend to the horses afterwards, even down to scraping out the packed in mud and dirt from their hooves.  I love these animals.  There is something about them, something in their eyes, something about their movement...I am just drawn to them.  I could spend time just touching them and talking to them and be happy for days.  I know I probably sound very strange to some folks right about now and I can assure you that if you really knew me it would only confirm that for you, but that's okay, I am quite comfortable in my weirdness.  

Sophie Kate started out on what they call the "jellybean" to see how she might do sitting on a horse and to get all of her safety equipment fitting properly...

Then it was go time...
 First time on a horse ever in her life such a neat moment.
Her helmet was a bit ill-fitting, but I think that may be a small smile I see there.
You can see what a job this is for the staff and volunteers, these kids are not riding little ponies.
 Needing a bit of adjusting...

This is amazing, look at her sitting so nice and tall on that horse.
Looks like she is taking in everything we are all saying to her.  
Y'all all know this girl travels with an entourage and this day was no different.  There was no less than 2 camera phones and one regular camera on her at all times.  She has gone to almost every baseball, basketball and football game her 3 brothers have ever played in and now it was her turn.  
It was her turn...and they were all there watching her.  So back to my opening statement, we were told once again that "she did much better than I thought she would do." That's our girl, all you have to do is tell her she can't do something and then just sit back and watch her do it.  She did fantastic and she is going to start her class next week.  
There is so much emotion for me in this one picture.  We have a "horse person" in the family after's my daughter.

1 comment:

dawn said...

i know exactly the feeling of how excited and proud you are. i felt this way last year when emmy started hippotherapy. but then we had to stop because she just wasn't strong enough at the time. i was so disappointed as i'm a horse person and just really wanted this for her. but we are trying again tomorrow and i'm hopeful! so happy to see SK doing this. she looks great up there!!