Day 9… 2.25 hrs – Total: 25.75 hrs

Baileywyck Shoppes Pony Pics 003

Therapy horses (and ponies!) must be willing to go with the flow!

Tonight was the third Thursday night class (also the halfway point for this class session), and I think it was the most fun we’ve had yet—hands down! We’re all getting more used to one another, and I was assigned to work with the same rider, which helps!

Also, we got to have class in the outside arena, thanks to the unseasonably reasonable weather that has continued to grace Kentucky! I enjoy working outside whenever possible; the arena is bigger, which allows us to do more. I also think it provides a greater challenge and is more satisfying for the riders I’ve worked with.One reason for this is that the horses tend to be a little bit more headstrong when outside—Ceeray was VERY interested in the mares grazing in a nearby field tonight, for example. My rider happens to be very competent (and sits beautifully on the horse) despite her physical disability, and I think the extra work it took to get Ceeray to go through his paces was a fun challenge for her. For example, the rider really had to work consistently to get him to stop looking at the mares, and also had to work to stop him from heading towards the center of the arena (the dismount area) and the exit gate!

While this may sound frustrating to some, the rider (an adult woman who has no mental disability, only physical limitations) seemed to delight in experiencing repeated success with getting Ceeray to do what was being asked of him. The physical challenge it presented for the rider to correct Ceeray’s antics seemed monumental at first, but after a few tries—success!!! And then the smiles… like little rays of hope… Yes, I can do this! … Breaking through the doubt… What an amazing thing to witness!

After class the biggest challenge still waited to be overcome, rising in the form of a simple hill leading back up to the barn. I could tell that my rider (now dismounted) was hoping to be able to make it without too much help—an understandable, fierce independence is deep seated for many who have physical limitations—so I was silently keeping my mental “fingers” crossed. At the crest of the hill it almost became too much, but the rider pushed on… Amazing, I think… Simply amazing

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