We had been invited for the past couple of years to go horseback riding with one of our Autism support groups. It always seemed to fall on a day that either I had to work or we had other events going on, and honestly I didn’t think much about it. For some reason this year I felt compelled to make a point of attending. I was absolutely amazed and blessed after we went to see how beneficial it was!
This particular horse ranch is designed to assist people with any sort of disability and will teach them how to ride a horse in a safe environment. The trainers are certified and definitely know how to handle children with Autism! Our son found peace, he found joy, and I watched him actually be able to relax and be calm like I had never seen before. If you know anything about Autism in children this is very unusual!
When we arrived they gathered all the kids together and then they had them pick out their helmets for protection, before they could ride a horse. They then divided them into two groups and each group needed to find a buddy. Our son was in the first group… We started on the other side of the barn, where he was able to learn how to care and feed a horse.
Gavin was able to brush a horse named Lady, he was able to feed a horse named Terminator, he was able to talk to a horse named Finn and it was amazing to watch him and Finn together. The horse just stood there ever so kind, as Gavin just continued to talk and talk and talk to the horse. I watched a gentle and loving side of Gavin come out as he was able to connect with this beautiful animal.
In addition to brushing the horses and feed them…the kids were able to get some great lessons on the care of a horse in general. They then brought them to the next room where they lined up to have the opportunity to ride a horse.
One by one they brought them in and saddled them up with a horse based on the size of the child and the size of a horse. Once they were on the horse, two of the trainers walked them around three times in a very large enclosed barn. Gavin was able to also ride a horse as he did a gallop around the barn, which was a real treat!
I saw a different spark in Gavin’s eyes… this day was a huge blessing to him and I can truly understand why these beautiful animals are therapeutic.
We will continue with horseback riding lessons in this next home school year and Gavin also would like to volunteer there one day a week as well. Looking forward to some new adventures!
Lynn A. C. Wilson – Resume of a Mother