Yesterday Jackson started riding horses (there is a short video of it below this post). We had been on the waiting list for hippotherapy for a few months so to finally get a slot was super exciting! A lot of people have asked me what Jackson could gain from this, other than having fun of course. I’m no expert on this type of therapy but I do know that horses make similar walking movements to what we humans do. Being on the horse will hopefully “train” Jackson’s brain that the movement he is feeling is the movement he needs to make. It will also build up his core strength and balance. Jackson has an incredibly strong core (you should feel his belly muscles!) but his balance is still undeveloped. Learning how to use that strength to balance and build up the muscles needed for balance will give Jackson a better chance of walking. Also riding horses provide a ton of sensory input, which Jackson craves. All in all it will teach Jackson a lot of skills he needs.
Jackson’s hippotherapy sessions will be 30 minutes long. Yesterday he lasted maybe 15-20 minutes. He started off very well, sitting up straight and really enjoying the riding. But he slowly started deteriorating. He would lay back on the horse or lean forward to lie on the horse. You could tell it was hard for him to sit up for that long period of time. Also, he had his legs spread pretty far sitting on the horse, a position he is rarely in. He actually did better than I anticipated and it was so fun to watch him riding. We will go back next week and see if he can hang in there a little longer. I am sure it will take a while to build up his tolerance for a whole half hour session.
Adding this therapy to our schedule made us have to rearrange some other therapies. Jackson now has a very full schedule of therapies. Every week day afternoon is now filled with a therapy of some sort. The kid has a busier schedule than some business executives! I always envisioned that someday I would be a soccer mom. Running around town from practice and games, spending most of the day in the car. Instead I am a therapy mom, running from school to therapy, spending most of the day in the car. Not exactly how I imagined my life, but after seeing Jackson on Chester the horse yesterday, I couldn’t be prouder to be a therapy mom.