Years ago, Lyn participated in a hippotherapy program as part of the speech therapy she received through her high school.  She participated in the horse therapy program during her freshman and sophomore years there.  The teachers decided that this would be a good option for her and sent home a permission slip for Mom to sign.  The school had already established a partnership with a hippotherapy program for a number of their students.

Hippotherapy is the practice of using horses as an aid to a therapeutic session.  Participants in such programs may have cognitive, emotional or physical challenges which can benefit from the combination of receiving therapy while learning to ride horses.  Hippotherapy is used for a wide range of challenges including, but not limited to, Autism, visual and hearing impairments, brain injuries and even PTSD.

The horses were every well trained and accepting of the therapy participants.  You could describe them as rock solid.  The therapists could put a student on the horse, even facing backwards, and the horse wouldn't flinch regardless of the behaviors the student was exhibiting.  If a student was afraid of the horse or if they started to panic once up, the therapists would take the student down and then have them mount facing backwards.  For some of the students, this allowed them to grow more confident and comfortable before being turned to face forwards.

Lyn never had that issue and would mount properly.  Lyn would ride the horses while receiving her weekly speech therapy lesson.   After the riding session, she would participate the grooming of the horse she had just ridden.  During her session, she would have an assistant on either side and one at the head of the horse leading it.

She had ridden horses before the therapy sessions and has been able to ride from time to time since.  The picture above was taken at our uncle's home.  He's had horses since before Lyn was born.  He has hosted riding sessions for the family's children with all of his horses.  If Lyn wants to ride, he makes it possible.

Lyn's riding may have been limited to going around the paddock, but she loved it.  While it was hoped that she would have better speech therapy results as a result, Lyn had no memorable changes to her speech.  However, she had fun riding and enjoyed the social aspect of the therapy.

Additional Information Sources:
Horse Therapy Gives People with Disabilities Opportunities to Succeed
Horse Therapy Helps Youth Deal with Life Issues
Horse Therapy - Changing Lives


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