Practical Access Podcast

S8 E2: Equestrian Horse Therapy

July 22, 2022 Eric Imperiale Season 8 Episode 2
Practical Access Podcast
S8 E2: Equestrian Horse Therapy
Show Notes Transcript

Drs. Rebecca Hines and Lisa Dieker are starting Season 8 with their first guest, Jeannie to talk about Equestrian Horseback Riding. Please don't forget to tune in! 

Don't forget we love to hear from our listeners! If you have any questions, feel free to reach out. We look forward to receiving your questions on our Google Phone (407) 900- 9305, Facebook (Practical Access), Twitter (@AccessPractical), or Instagram (@Practical_Accesss).

Lisa Dieker: [00:00:07] And I'm Rebecca Hinds and Lisa. Today's topic, when you think about fun. A lot of people are going to think this sounds like a lot of.  

Rebecca Hines: [00:00:16] A lot of fun and a fun mom to go with it. Our friend and colleague and disability extraordinaire, Mother Jeannie, 44, thank you for joining us. JEANNIE Oh, thank you for having me. So I know you're going to talk to us about something to do with animals, but before we get to that, would you give us a little background about yourself and maybe talk about that rock star son of yours? Sure. My rock star son is is who I am, basically. I grew up in the area and I grew up riding horses. So I've always been an outdoor person and into outdoor sports and just want to, I guess, grow up that way. You figure when you have kids, they're going to follow the same way. So I have a daughter that is 35 and she's a rider, pretty accomplished rider has just returned back to riding. And then I have a son, Jonathan, who's just a year behind or he's 34. So they both grew up on a farm here locally and grew up around horses and riding. I just had to adapt it a little differently for Jonathan as he was born with cerebral palsy. So the walking and the talking and the balance and all of that was a was a different issue for him. So they grew up on a farm and I wanted them to have the same experience of horses, dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, everything we had. So fortunately, they're both animal lovers and they're not into, you know, soccer or baseball or swimming because that wasn't my forte. They followed me into horses. So that's pretty good.

Lisa Dieker: [00:01:52] I mean, Jimmy, you're being really modest here and you're really making this sound like something so simple. And the truth is, Lisa and I both know Jonathan a long time, and he has significant physical disabilities, and your expertize reaches far beyond being a great mom. So we invited Jeanie today because she is. Intricately involved in therapeutic writing and admirably committed to helping people in our community with all kinds of abilities when it comes to horseback riding. And so, Jeanie, can you mention some of the things for Jonathan, like the balance, etc.? But I know that you work with other types of kids as well with therapeutic writing specifically. Can you give us an idea of kind of what you what you see when there's different types of kids out there on a horse?  

Rebecca Hines: [00:02:46] Yeah. He runs the gamut. We work with kids who are anywhere on the autism spectrum, kids who are recovering from any type of an injury, kids with Down's syndrome, cerebral palsy, kids with attention deficit, etc.. What we see, what I see right away is a communication that you don't typically see among maybe their own peers or even their own siblings, as they seem to connect right away to the horse or taken to the horse, whether it's if it's its size, it's the whole wonderment of it. And it's neat to see them develop as a person as soon as they're kind of touched by the horse. They want it. They want to touch it. They may have some sensory issues, but they want to reach out. I think a lot of it is just curiosity. And our horses are obviously specially trained and they have this really unique connection with with us and with the students in any way. So I think it makes it that much easier for the student to connect.  

Lisa Dieker: [00:03:46] So you mentioned your horses. Can you give our audience an idea? These are personal horses. Do you work with some agencies? Do you freelance?  

Rebecca Hines: [00:03:59] Well, I don't have my own personal horses anymore, so I do contract out to two different local riding centers. One of them is free to ride in Orlando, who has been around for, I think, 20 years, just of 20 years, maybe 22. And they just relocated from Lee Road to Bear Lake Road. So they're a couple miles away from where they were in Orlando. So it's kind of a hidden treasure in Orlando's 25 acres on Lake Bay Lake. And we've got probably a dozen horses out there now, and we may see maybe 100. Folks that come through in a week. And then I also, ten years later, started a program out in Stanford called Chop's, which is a center for horseback riding and personal success. And that's in Stanford. So I maybe see 30 folks that come through there a week. Well, the horses are specially trained. They're not my horse. They're owned by the center. Well, and, you know, our viewers can't see us because this podcast is audio. But when you talk about the horses and the kids is priceless. And. And our theme this summer is fun. And so, you know, our listeners kind of spread the world and across the United States. I'm kind of curious, if not if not local, where else might is there a national network? Is there an organization to figure out where I might have this beautiful fun with these horses? There is the national network that most of us should be or not already associated with is called PAL, which is the Certified Instructors Professional Association of Certified Instructors. So there are over 800 member centers in the United States and abroad, and there's probably over 5000 certified instructors. So you can go on the Path International website and they can look, they put you in their state and they'll come up have certified centers. You can have a path certified center, which means the whole establishment kind of falls under the path guidelines. Or you can have a smaller center where just the instructors are certified. So it depends on how big or how small the center is. You just want to make sure that they're qualified instructors, that they have been around the disability world and they've been around horses because it's a different blend.  

Lisa Dieker: [00:06:20] And so, Jimi, because you and I have brainstormed a million times in a million ways over the years. So. So if I'm if I'm a person who might live in a rural area and, you know, maybe I do have horses have been into horses, you know, is there a path for me to get started offering this kind of service if I wanted to? I'm just I'm literally just curious to know.  

Rebecca Hines: [00:06:44] If you wanted to open a center.  

Lisa Dieker: [00:06:47] Yeah, sure.  

Rebecca Hines: [00:06:49] Well, like I said, anybody can really open a center. If you've got some land and you've got some horses and you're a horse person. I would certainly put that to work connected to horse people. If you don't like horses or like I don't like I don't know if dogs and cats are your thing, it's a little different. But but yes, if you want to experience that, you can certainly bring in people. They have to go through pretty much a year's worth of mentoring and volunteering at centers of Mentoring, and then they have to pass passing tests in order to be qualified as instructors. But yes, you can pretty much anybody can start one. If there's a need, you can certainly put it out there. And there's people in the community that could help you.  

Lisa Dieker: [00:07:29] And are there are there ways for a parent who may not want to open a center but wants to learn more for their own child and maybe they do live, you know?  

Rebecca Hines: [00:07:40] Well, there's a lot to be learned if they go to the website or they just look up therapeutic riding in general, because there's different types of therapeutic riding. You can just do where they get on the horse. And it's pretty much now called adaptive riding because the word therapy gets tricky. Is it really counseling or is it therapy? So adaptive riding is just, for instance, Jonathan, who's in a wheelchair. Getting him up and getting him on a horse is very different than my daughter getting up and getting a horse. So you've got to have your ramp. You've got to you can have a warrior or people to be able to transform it, to have certain range that they can hold certain certain saddles, certain talking equipment that's adaptive. There's other equine assisted learning that maybe not involve being on a horse at all, but it's just being around the barn environment, being around the horse environment, learning about how to care for something, nurture something, set boundaries with something, especially because it might weigh 1500 pounds and how to be quiet around something, how to manage your own behaviors around something. And so that comes under equine assisted learning. And then there's equine assisted therapies where we do an occupational therapist, a speech therapist, a physical therapist is often trained and certified or present, and that comes under hypnotherapy. So they're looking at the movement, they're looking at the fine motor skills, the gross motor skills, and all of that helps develop some of the speech because of how they're setting up their core, they're opening up their lungs and all that comes into their breathing, which of course helps into your speech. And then there is now work with veterans and there's now work with just the counselors that work with mental health. So it has grown from let's just take and put some person on and pony them around for balance to to working with people with severe PTSD. So it's it's a growing field. It's very interesting today. And one of the things that I'm curious about from the parents standpoint is, you know, fun and fun and and funding are always sometimes in conflict with each other. So, you know, my dream would be, you know, drive my kid and do all of this. But it sounds like some of it might be covered under insurance and is a lot of it pay? And can you give a range? Are there scholarships? What would you say to families? As I really want to do this, but we just don't have the funds. Well, there are some scholarships depending on the center. There are stay. Well, I'll through CMS. So there's insurance covered. And typically what they will cover is ten lessons at a time. And no, no, I think they're trying to do a little bit more than that. Ten lessons not being a lot because lessons are weekly they're not let's take and I do it all ten lessons I can go almost a whole year we can go ten months. So just like anything else, you're not going to really get anything out of participating in something once a month. So it basically has to be weekly for any gain and then they can reapply. So that's through, I guess, stay well with CMS or maybe it's sunshine now. I think they've gone into some changes in what was the Gardiner Fellowship, which is now the Family Empowerment Scholarship. They also recognize therapeutic writing just as they do music and art, so they are reimbursed through the scholarship. We also try to raise money and look for money all year long so we can have some scholarships where the the families typically pay $50 for the for the session each week. If they're scholarship, then that's usually cut in half. Or maybe it's a 3020 depending. Got it. So again, it might be a great thing for those listening that might want to donate to something if there's a local Ebola therapy session. Again, that that's providing families with fun. And almost all of the three CS, there's a tax write off for that or not? Yes. Yes, they are. Yeah. You've got your Bible on C three. That is a write off. We have like a lot of our volunteers donate toward our our students writing. We have helpful hands in Seminole County, always recognized outdoor sports for kids. So they've picked us up and they've donated. So that carries that strictly for scholarships for our students. It goes to nothing else. So that helps them participate in their weekly lessons. I also have families go back to saying, you know, hey, if it's a go to your church, go to your neighbors, go to your family when it's birthdays that you know what they they have what they need, but they really are enjoying and benefiting from lessons. So maybe you can donate to to that to keep them writing for another few months. So I had to do that when Jonathan was young. So there are different ways to do it. I think Make-A-Wish Foundation also has granted in the past. So Kiwanis Club here has been donated. You just have to be like anything else. Pretty creative and asking, but centers are always looking for donors. They're looking for community folks to donate, looking for volunteers. They're looking for any ways to be able to support the folks to benefit writing.  

Lisa Dieker: [00:12:22] Well, Jimmy, as I as I kind of wrap up my questioning, my my last thought is, you know, we do have listeners who are teachers. And as you mentioned and as I know from working with kids with emotional behavioral disorders, and there's a lot of learning that can happen that goes beyond just the writing part of this. So so as a teacher, if I wanted to at least introduce my kids to the idea or get them interested in or if I wanted to use it, tie it to my curriculum in some way. Do you know, recommendation of like a website that I could go to with with young people or that parents could go to to learn more about horses and possibly therapeutic riding, but the very least to help instill in them this this this love of of of horses.  

Rebecca Hines: [00:13:11] Horses. There are there are different. Well, one that I've just started on probably two years ago, right before through the COVID, is the horse powered reading, which came out of the Midwest. So I have my little certification in that. So I have done that at Chaps and we're going to start that hopefully in the fall at Freedom Ride and where we basically work with kids who are struggling and reading and we use those horses as the backdrop for that. And you can also do that with math. You can do the science so they can go to the horse powered reading website, they can go to path. Pretty much when you go to pass it to the different centers across the country and international, you can go to those centers and read what they have to offer and oftentimes there's videos so they can kind of see the experience of what it's like. I would certainly encourage and all the calls that I get, I always want to have people to come out to the center, come out to the farm, take a walk around with us, watch class, groom, horse, come up close to a horse, get the horse, walk around, see what it's like. Some kids take to it. There are some that don't. There's some of them are frightened and it's like, well, that's really not what I want to do. So sometimes it might take three or four times for them to come out and just be with the horse, pick up some brush, touch the horse, groom the horse, and then eventually they may get on the horse. But there is you're right, there's a lot to be learned without even writing it. What I like to do is teach the skills for writing because there's a lot that goes on with the writing. There's several things that happen at the same time, and we always want to make sure that that follows through how we live. I mean, there are certain things we have to do when we get up and get dressed and go to school that they fall in a certain order before we get in the car and go to school. So it's the same thing. We're basically putting putting order in our life and developing a routine and following directions. I love it. And my last question for you is, you know, I'm a big believer in people with disabilities, and I know you are, too, that we make them givers, not takers. Let's give them every opportunity to give back. And I'm curious, someone that's listening with a disability or have you had experience, wants to volunteer to be a volunteer. What's been your experience there and how might they go about that? Well, just yesterday I brought on a young man who started riding with me when he was like eight. And he reminded me yesterday he's 16 and he is coming back and just did orientation to volunteer. So he will start volunteering three days a week. So he's very excited to be on the other side of that. So yes, if they're able to volunteer, which means they have to be able to kind of groom a horse, go out and help get the horse out of the pasture. And when they're old enough, which is 15, they can start working the classes, which means they could lead a horse in the class so they could sidewalk. If a rider needs some extra support for balance, then there's the opportunity to do that. So again, you're there helping to groom the horse. They're interacting with the riders, they're interacting with the families and the other volunteers. So it's social skills, it's time management, it's following directions and it's certainly a lot of physical work. So it's good for them. And I would love to keep as many people as they can come back and be active to volunteer. I love it. I love it. Well, we thank you so much for all that great information. And really not only sounds like fun, but it sounds like fun and growth at the same time for kids and families. So we appreciate you, treasure you both as a friend and a colleague and all the work you've done to really change the lives of kids. So if you have questions, you can send us a tweet at Access Practical or you can post a question on our Facebook page. Thank you for joining us. All right. Thank you, guys. Appreciate it. Thank you.