I got a phone call from a neighbor that didn't have my phone number and my first thought was... OMG what horses are loose!!! But that wasn't the reason he was calling!
He watches his niece who is autistic and they had went driving in their golf cart and saw my horses and went crazy wanting to see them. So, he had driven over close to the fence and parked and let her watch them. She had a blast and it made her day. He wanted to make sure that it was okay with me that they do this.
I almost started crying I was so touched. I told him that if we were home I'd be happy to let her pet our old quiet pony.
I love my little (or big) therapists and it just made me so happy to hear that they had made a young girl so happy!
I haven't had a lot of experience with autism, but I know that animals can really have a huge positive effect on people with Autism. I can't tell you how much my neighbor made my day by telling how much his niece loved watching my horses!
That's a sweet story. I hope she comes over to love on your pony!
I used to volunteer at a therapeutic riding barn. Several of the kids that rode there had autism. One of the girls was non-verbal and after quite a few sessions began speaking - only while around the horse, and only TO the horse, but the tears in her parents eyes made those early Saturday mornings worthwhile.
Love it! There is magic between children and horses. At one time we had a group of developmentally disabled kids/adults that visited TIER on a regular basis. ALL the horses were enamored with these kids. Even our grumpy old men displayed loving behavior that we had not seen before.
Hopefully there will be an update about this young girl meeting your horses with pictures.
I had a Shire gelding I always brought to the draft horse expo...people got a chance to see all the different "heavy" breeds. My guy was very sweet and loved kids. I always had fun with the handicapped kids...they'd grab a hairy leg (scary) and when I put them up on his back, they'd either hug him or lay back and smile. The autistic kids were always interested but didn't say much, just petted and hugged my guy. One year, I recognized a boy from the year before....he walked up to my guy and told his family, "This is my friend Deacon, he's a Shire" He'd remembered my horse's name and spoke to everyone...He spent an hour talking to my horse and telling him how big he'd gotten while sitting on his back. What a priceless gift he gave me. Sadly, my horse died the next year for a horrible founder..but like to many horses, he really touched some lives.
Horses can do Autistic children (and other disabled individuals) WONDERS! I have been extremely involved in a NARHA therapeudic facility previously, and could endlessly tell stories of improved children/adults.
One little girl was nonverbal, and said her first words on a horse in our program. One of the preteen boys that rode was Autistic and a "busy body".. you could never slow him down and he was very high energy. He would focus so well while riding. One little boy was unable to walk on his own, and after a couple years of therapy riding he took his first steps after riding, all by himself without a walker or anything.
My favorite was an ADORABLE little girl who was very fearful of everything. She was overly sensative to touch and would not touch new things. She also didn't always speak clearly. She always rode my mare, and developed a bond with her. One lesson she was riding, and reached down and started stroking my mare's mane over and over. (we were LUCKY to get her to touch her mane for a half second before she quickly pulled away). We stopped my mare and stood there watching her stroke my mare's mane over and over and over; the whole time clearly yelling "MOM LOOK! I'M PETTING SHEENA'S MANE!! I'M PETTING SHEENA MOM!" we were all in tears. Something SO small was so monumental in her life, and the progress in that day was amazing.
I don't know what it is about horses. Some things are not meant to be understood. They just are.
Thats Exactly what i want to do in life is use horses to help troubled kids, not neccisarilly kids with autism but kids that have had a rough life, ones that have been through tragedies that upset them and use the horses to help them heal....this is my dream job when i someday win the lottery and have a huge barn with lots of critters!
Nothing better than an OTTB.... Just Plan Partners,Penny, you have stolen my heart<3