I've heard of ponies used as therapy for kids with cognitive disabilities but I didn't believe it until I took my step son to a pony ride and in 5 minutes I saw a change in him. He was talking! He was saying sentences that weren't repeat of what I said!
Excited His father and I decided to get a pony for home. I already have 3 full size horses at home, but wasnt comfortable about putting him on any of them. After months of looking, this evening we brought a pony home. I hope she will work out and be a great therapy for him.
Wish me luck or give me advise on what to do I'll take all advise I can get.
That's great! We have a child therapist at our barn who wants to become certified to use horses in her practice, but it's a huge ordeal. it's neat to watch kids who have so many struggles enjoy the horses.
Here's an update:
Last week we had him lead the pony around and the pony was wonderfully behaved. We put him on and walked him around and he was so excited, he didn't want to get off. He kept saying "I'm still riding". The biggest and exciting part was that he helped clean the paddock.
I can see how this is helping and I wish there were more therapeutic programs around
I recommend reading a book called "Horse Boy" by Rupert Isaacson. It's a documentary of one man's quest to heal his autistic son through horses and shamans in Mongolia. It's also a documentary film. Fascinating and overwhelmingly inspiring. All the best to you and your stepson.
TWColaBear - I don't know where you are located geographically, but there are many programs throughout the country. Many, but not all are affiliated w/ NARHA, North American Riding for the Handicapped Association. The Association provides certifications for instructors and a slew of other information and benefits for their members. There are programs which operate out of backyards and small farms. They may not have the depth of knowledge and experience but still provide services. I was involved for many years as a board member for a large organization in Ohio and it was interesting to watch how their programs evolved, with a growing focus on cognitive issues and behavioral problems. They do great things for their students.
Go through NARHA and find the nearest organization to you. Even if they aren't close enough to make regular riding feasible, they will most likely be happy to be a sounding board or put you in touch w/ others. Good luck w/ your step son and the new pony!
We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........