Sunday, October 3, 2010

All Creatures, Part III

Part III: Courage Reins

Bridgette has been riding horses since last April. Usually she enjoys it very much. Shifting to adjust to the horse's gait is supposed to help non-walkers move their hips in a way that mimics human ambulation. Although we can't pinpoint how much her recent mobility can be attributed to the therapy she's received at Courage Reins, we are quite certain it hasn't hurt.

Our new hurdle is speech. Bridgette's cognition is good and her receptive language skills are excellent, but she's still really struggling with speech. She rarely says two syllable words and has difficulty stringing more than one words together appropriately. Hippotherapy is supposed to help with that too, learning to give commands to the horses.

The first two photos were taken the week she turned 2 years old. The third photo and the video were taken in August. The rest were taken two weeks ago, on September 21.

The Shetland, Max, is the hardest to ride because he is so bouncy and his back is so narrow.

Hella, the Norwegian Fjord Horse, is a gentle ride -- sometimes far too gentle for a rider with a posture as sturdy as Bridgette's. My preference is for her to ride the full-sized quarter horses, but riding order is decided on arrival time and natural rotations with the other kids, so we rarely get to choose.

Helmet wearing is hit and miss. On some days she doesn't care an iota, on other days she eventually concedes, and on yet others helmets are right out.

In fact, last week not only did she refuse to wear a helmet, but for the first time, she refused to ride. They put her over the saddle on her tummy, like a sack of potatoes, head hanging over one side of the saddle, feet over the other. She finally sat up but would only ride backwards, facing the horse's tail. She cried the whole time. It was hard to watch.

If that continues, I will pull her out of lessons. Hopefully it was a one-time occurrence.

The floor used to be a spongy rubber material, but they recently changed it to dirt. It kicks up like crazy, choking us all. Even my camera was coughing.

Once riding lessons are over, the real fun begins. We get to feed the horses, pick up rocks, and generally play in the parking lot.


Can you see the "almost run" in this shot?

So, in the last post about the zoo, I mentioned Bridgette's fascination with poop. It's understandable, given how thoroughly her life has revolved around it. She found some horse poop in the parking lot, and it was hard to drag her away from it. She insisted (I have no idea why) on covering it in dirt.

Guess what! Yep. An airplane.

Filthy & rehydrating... slyly.


Lisa Merkley said...

I loved all of her facial expressions whilst playing in the dirt and feeding the horse in the parking lot. Her face is elastic!

Lore said...

So many girls can only dream about horses. Bridgette gets to live the dream.

I hope her interest in riding is soon rejuvenated. What a unique opportunity it is for her!

Anonymous said...

Too bad Bridgette's not here. Our zoo has had a special exhibit all summer called the "Scoop on Poop". I understand that lots of kids are fascinated by the subject matter.


HeatherH said...

She's definitely growing out of the baby - she's getting to be such a big girl!