Hey there, Waldo again. Nope, hippopotamus are certainly not a creature that can be found at the stables. However, we are great fans of the concept of hippotherapy at the stables.See, we mules and horses aren’t able to explain exactly why but we know that riding is therapeutic. Perhaps it’s the findings on companion animals. The geriatric crowd uses all sorts of critters (dogs, cats, etc.) for companionship.
Alternative youth programs have demonstrated powerful connections between horse and animal care programs to teach youth responsibility and form powerful emotional connections. For us, it simply works.
Much like Josh’s blog from January (A Guest Thank You For ACE Superstar Josh), some of the people that have visited us have made a lasting, positive memory and we’re proud to be a part of our guests’ trip to West Virginia.
Hippotherapy is defined as “a treatment that uses the multidimensional movement of the horse; from the Greek word ‘hippos’ which means horse. Specially trained physical, occupational and speech therapists use this medical treatment for clients who have movement dysfunction.” I’m a mule; what I do know is that horseback riding can be a great activity for all ages and abilities.
Though some disabilities are not suited for trail riding, such as epileptics, others find riding is not limited by physical or cognitive challenges. Our program here is for the general public and we try to work with all of our guests to provide the best riding experience.
Jeff, our owner, used to volunteer in a certified program run by a friend of his in Charleston. He’s seen first hand the wonderful experience working with a challenged population can provide for both the participant and the staff. At New River Trail Rides, we are not a certified hippotherapy center but support these programs and the clients they serve.
Last week, local law enforcement teamed up for the annual Torch Run for Special Olympics, a prelude to the state competition. New River Trail Rides has supported this run in the past. While these folks were conducting this activity, Noah visited the stables.
The 9-year-old nephew of one of our staff members spent 30 minutes with my stable mates and his new friend, Harry, the pony. He was experiencing the New River Trail Rides motto, “Where Smiles Last for Miles” and was led unassisted by “Jeff, the farmer.” For half an hour, he was a rider at the stables not defined by his disability, experiencing independence and having a blast.
Next time he’ll bring a different treat for the staff (seems Jeff and Caroline aren’t fans of carrots, but I and my stable mates love them). And now that my story’s complete, Waldo’s off for a canopy tour!