This morning Madison had the oppertunity to meet with Pat and Kendra at Windreach Farms. They offer therapeutic horseback riding lessons for toddlers, children and adults with both physical or cognitive disabilities. When we first heard about this type of therapy this is what we found:
“Hippotherapy is a physical, occupational or speech and language therapy treatment strategy that utilizes equine movement. Hippotherapy literally means “treatment with the help of the horse” from the Greek word, “hippos” meaning horse. Specially trained physical and occupational therapists use this treatment for clients with movement dysfunction. In Hippotherapy, the movement of the horse influences the client. The client is positioned on the horse and actively responds to his movement. The therapist directs the movement of the horse; analyzes the client’s responses; and adjusts the treatment accordingly. This strategy is used as part of an integrated treatment program to achieve functional outcomes.”
During the first part of our visit Pat explained to us about their goals at Windreach. She said:
” Our program offers individuals with special needs with the opportunity to improve balance, coordination, mobilization of trunk and pelvis, muscle strength, normalization of muscle tone, and to prevent contractures. Spending time with our horses is enriching and improves overall quality of life.”
The stables and grounds were beautiful! The first thing Madison did was try on a purple ridding helmet which she didn’t mind putting on. We then looked at all the stalls where the horses sleep and walked around the heated indoor riding arena. They then took us to the back field to see the outdoor riding ring used in the spring and summer and to the different fenced in areas where the horses and pony’s were out running and eating. Madison loved meeting the horses! The smaller horses (pony’s) were fun to meet. Their names were Max, Joe and Vinnie. Madison would ride one of these. They are very gentle, calm, eexperienced and weigh about 850 pounds each. Madison loved watching them. Our tour finished with a visit to the indoor lounge that has a viewing window to the indoor arena where Mommy and Daddy can watch Madison. We were thrilled with what they had to offer. Our next step is getting some medical forms filled out and figuring out a training day as Madison will start out with 1:1 lessons. When she rides she will have a guide for the horse who is the teacher and two volunteers to walk on either side of the horse. She will start out with 30 minute sessions in the beginning and then move to group training sessions as she gets a bit older. Madison loved the visit and we can’t wait for her to start!
We feel very grateful and blessed that we are able to provide Madison with this oppertunity thanks to the funds raised through the Mike Gregoire Memorial Golf Tournament!