As a volunteer I am not privy to any information about the clients. I don't know John's case history. But I do know that John is probably in his 50's. He does not talk, but makes some sounds. He is basically confined to a wheelchair because he can not flatten his feet. The tendons have tightened and his toe point would make a ballerina jealous!
When John began riding a year ago he had very little core strength and found it difficult to sit upright and to keep his head upright. The helmet irritated John and he would often reach up and angrily wrest it off his head and toss it to the ground. That meant that he would have to be dismounted immediately. We think that John understands the 'No Helmet - No Ride' thing because on other occasions he has thrown off the helmet in order to end his day! They do say actions speak louder than words!! During his first sessions he tired quickly and often had to be taken off within 15 minutes. It is hard work to sit up on a moving horse when you have been in a wheelchair for a long time. One of the great things about horseback riding for handicapped people is that the movement of the horse accurately mimics the movement of a human walking, pushing your hips in the same way they would move if you walked. This forces your upper body to use muscles that you would be using if you could walk. The brain also gets to process the movement from visual feedback.
|John riding Gold|
John has come a long way in a year. John loves riding. It still takes two