I thought it was rhetorical :-)

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I guess without living with Sam day in and day out, it's not obvious that that look of intense focus only comes with GREAT excitement.  A few people have criticized me for "leaving them hanging" with the last post, and I apologize!  Sam had a blast and has been talking about Bailey the Horse ever since.  (Thanks to Keith for the replica, which she hugs on constantly!)

The program is really interesting.  Sam is paired with a girl with mild autism.  They have a number of goals for the girls, including social interaction, basic cognitive skills, and overcoming tactile/sensory hypersensitivity. They don't FOCUS on the horse, the horse enables the overall experience.  On Tuesday, they were hunting for "bugs".  They had placed colorful, plastic ladybugs in prominent positions around the arena.  The girls had to find bugs, ride to them, pick them up, determine the color, count the spots, then ride to their "friend" and show her what they found. 

They felt the different textures of the blanket, the horses' hair, the mane.  They had to make eye contact with each other and the volunteers (3 per rider!).

At the end of the session, Sam took the instructor's hand, the other little girl grabbed Sam's other hand, and they walked hand in hand back to the tent to put up their helmets.  The other mom and I were both amazed and delighted (both girls were having their first session). 

The next day, we took Sam and Ally to watch their babysitter Deanna's riding lesson.  Deanna is very talented.  She aspires to be on the Texas A & M equestrian team and regularly shows horses (hunter/jumper).  Sam was amazingly comfortable in the barn environment and wiggled her hands and feet as she watched Deanna ride while issuing constant commentary:  "She's a COWGIRL!".   "She says "Yee Haw!"  "Giddyup!"  Deanna is so fantastic.  She let Sam "help" her by holding the lead rope while she rinsed down her horse, let her help dry it off, and even helped her take a short "ride" on the stable's donkey.  Sam was so excited when Deanna asked her if she wanted to ride the donkey (named Shiner!!!) that she ran as fast as her little legs could carry her (holding both of my hands, of course).

I think this is going to be a great thing.

FYI, I am going to be moving my blog to WordPress, so I will shortly be issuing a new domain name (I think samandally.com, but I'm not sure),  I'll put a link here when I do - but want to give everyone a heads up that there will be some changes.  The good thing about this change is that it will allow me to do mobile posting with either my iPhone or Android phone, and should also be easier to add to even from my computer, allowing more frequent posting.  But, it may take a couple of days to get it live. 

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This page contains a single entry by Kimberly published on May 2, 2010 9:04 PM.

Hippotherapy: Day 1 was the previous entry in this blog.

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