Monday Musings about Youngest…

I know I’ve talked about my youngest son before in some detail but not too much lately. He was only 31 when his dad passed away last year and he is also special needs.

Dave works out with a trainer at the park district three times a week, but he’s needing more to occupy his time. He started a therapeutic riding program a few weeks ago and loved it from the start. He has rarely been as excited about anything before (unless it involved a Chicago sports team😉). I really wasn’t sure when he got up close if he’d get on the horse, but he did and he’s never looked back!

The first night they used a western saddle, then an English saddle to challenge him more and the third week he rode with just a blanket. His horse’s name is Dakota and Dave told me he couldn’t believe how warm the horse was. He’s fed him carrots and apples even though he was a little leery of Dakota’s teeth!

Equine therapy helps with core strength and is a wonderful gait training exercise. It also involves lots of bending and reaching on horseback which helps with flexibility and balance.

Most importantly is a developing relationship with Dakota in an activity that is youngest’s alone, as no one else in the family rides. It may even evolve into a volunteer position down the road. So excited about the possibilities!


14 responses

  1. Ooo this is awesome! So glad he took to it so nicely!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am thrilled that he loves it so much!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s fantastic Dee. Horses are so good for so many things. Dave will discover muscles he didn’t know he had! I started lessons at the age of 40 ( a couple of years ago!) and really loved it. They are very good listeners too!

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    1. He’s been having a blast. Hoping there might be some volunteer work he could do there too! I was so surprised he took to it like he did!

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      1. There is so much work to do in looking after horses. Owners always welcome all the help they can get. I get to talk to horses every day. They have very specific ways of communicating and welcome people they recognise. They are able to express all sorts of emotions and can be quite moody at times.
        I hope Dave continues to benefit from these beautiful creatures for many years to come, and they from his love and care.

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  3. Dee, this is so wonderful! It is amazing what a relationship with animals can do for people with special needs from helping with PTSD and other emotional issues to health issues. I think people have always sensed that the animal-person bond could be a strong therapeutic one, but now it is being recognized, formalized, and studied. I am so glad you have found this program that is such a good fit for your son!

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    1. I think that’s very true. I was delighted he wasn’t afraid and he can’t wait for each Wednesday to get here! He’s working with the state to get some job training and hopes he might be able to work with animals eventually!


  4. How great that he loves it! As a long time rider myself, it’s been the best therapy in difficult times, such as when I got Lyme disease and could barely walk. 20 minutes on my mare every day was the only time I felt human. And she knew- she walked as slowly as possible, and she was fizzy as hell usually. Also in times of bereavement or other emotional stress. It will work wonders, you’ll see. I support a charity in France which offers equine therapy to kids with autism and other problems. Last month I met a kid, Ryan, who at ten had not uttered a single word when he started with them. At sixteen, he rode in the day’s competition! And then spoke to the whole roomful of people about his journey. Horses are miraculous creatures (I think like dolphins, but easier to access!) Best of luck and I hope he has loads of fun. X

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    1. I was surprised that he liked it as he’d only been on a pony as a small boy. But he adores it and I haven’t seen him this excited about anything in awhile. I know he misses his dad a lot and I think he took this big step to make his dad proud 🥰. I’ve not ridden in years and I must say I’m a little jealous lol!

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  5. You’re happy, Youngest is happy, Horse is bound to be happy. 😀 Seriously it is great that your son has this great hobby, great for his body, mind, and emotions.

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    1. Yes, he looks forward to it so much! And I’m networking with the other special needs moms, something I haven’t done for awhile 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  6. So glad your son is enjoying his equine therapy. Over the summer I went to a women’s retreat where we had equine therapy (didn’t get to ride the horses though). We learned so much about how the horses interacted with us and other horses. They are so intelligent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree! They are so in tune with humans.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Great post to read as it brought back fond memories of my mum who used to help out with a local riding group, i was often brought in to walk beside ponies and their rider. I think I learnt a lot from these great people of different abilities.


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