Lauren has been getting Hippotherapy every week for the past year or so. Hippotherapy does not have anything to do with hippopotamuses. The term literally means “treatment with the help of the horse” from the Greek word, “hippos” meaning horse.
Lauren missed one of her sessions last week, and had a make-up session on Friday morning. Since I was off that day, I went to the stables to watch (for the first time). The therapist not only works with Lauren while she’s riding, but also incorporates therapy into the preparation for riding and putting the horse away. Lauren doesn’t really like all the grooming work, but it’s part of the session and she must learn to go through the steps and to be patient. Then she gets to ride. During her ride, she works with flashcards, songs, and positioning for strength and balance. Judging from the smiles on her face and the chattering and singing she did while riding around the corral, I would say she loves it.
Nathan goes along most days, and he gets to be a helper, too. He stands right beside Lauren and does all the brushing and preparation with her, then helps lead the horse to the corral and open the gate. At that point, he sometimes has to go back out and just watch, but sometimes, he gets a ride on another horse while Lauren is riding. He loves it so much, Carrie has started him in real riding lessons. (His riding instructor was not there yesterday, so I didn’t get to see him ride, but Carrie says he has learned to mount, handle the horse all by himself, and can trot a little bit and do figure eights already.)
I posted some pictures in Lauren’s photo gallery. You can see them here.