BallyWho! Episode 2: Therapy with Horses

BallyWho! Episode 2: Therapy with Horses

I’m Erin Gannon. Therapy can be something
that people want to avoid but when it involves horses, it’s hard to rein in the
excitement. Welcome to StoneyBrook! Erin: Who can get help here? Sindy Diaz: We serve anyone, adults and children, with any disability is who we serve. When a person gets on a
horse it can help with their muscles help with their core, It also helps
with balance because our instructors they will do lessons, such as, you can
hold your hands up and not hold the horse and balance with the horse and now you’re doing your therapy so that does help with balance. Suzanne Ward: We’ve seen individuals come to
us that we’re very shy not wanting to talk not laugh no smile and you know a
couple lessons in they don’t want to get off the horse they’re laughing they’re
smiling and they’re starting to become more social outside of doing the therapy
so it’s been pretty incredible to see. Is there a favorite horse here? Everyone
loves Bria because she is so friendly. She has been in our program the longest
so she knows what’s going on really well here, and she loves to give kisses, she
loves any kind of treat you’re gonna give her and she’s just loving. Haley Hutchinson: So Bria
is a Norwegian Fjord horse. Fjords have a really unique characteristic of that
stripe right down her back it goes through and between her ears here
all the way down her tail. She likes being scratched up here. Erin: Oh you like being scratched?
Yeah? Yeah I know. *laughs* Yeah. Haley: Here, would you want to come over here and scratch her? Erin: Yeah. Haley: So right up here just kind of put pressure really scratch in general cause they like
that pressure. With a rider who has a disability, especially a social
disability who’s lacking in social skills, this
allows you to kind of interact with another being, build a bond and stuff, but
you also have to work with your riding instructor, too, and communicate what
skills you’d like to work on. You’re learning something new, you’re developing so much strength and muscle and you know you’re learning
to multitask as well, and having fun. I mean it’s very enjoyable I think it’s,
you know, I think just that connection and building a team with a horse I mean
that’s why equine therapy it’s just so special. Melissa Skiffen: I think for Keifer the best part of
working with the horses was that he didn’t know that he was working! It was
fun to him. Erin: How old is your son? Melissa: Keifer is eight. He is going into the second
grade He’s been riding since he was four Kieffer was diagnosed with Down syndrome
at birth so he also has Down syndrome and he was diagnosed with autism when he
was three so riding was a really big part of his life and very instrumental
in helping him in a lot of ways. How did it help Keifer? When he was four he
kind of started to figure out that therapy was work so he wasn’t really
interested in doing physical therapy or occupational therapy anymore, but when
you’re doing the therapeutic horseback riding it’s physical therapy it’s
occupational therapy and I think it’s even speech therapy. It really worked with
him to strengthen his core which he needed to go play on the playground and
do all kinds of stuff we also heard Keifer’s first word when
he was on a horse ride so it was a big big moment for us it was a very big
moment for us and for him. Erin: What is special about Stoneybrook? Melissa: I think
what makes StoneyBrook special was not just the environment but they opened up
this whole new world. The instructors at StoneyBrook were fantastic. They
understood all about Keifer, they understood what it was going to take to
work with him, they always made sure he was safe. It was just from start to
finish it was one of the best experiences Erin: StoneyBrook has helped people over ten
years it has been wildly successful because of their unbridled passion here
I’m Erin Gannon, see you guys later Come on Speckles

One Reply to “BallyWho! Episode 2: Therapy with Horses”

  1. Great reporting, Erin! A big thank you to the employees and horses at Stoneybrook Farm for understanding individuals with disabilities and opening up a bright new world of opportunities for them.

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