Thursday, April 23, 2009
Therapuetic horseback riding begins its season
The season for therapeutic horseback riding has begun already. This is the fourth year my family has volunteered at the center. The first year, my daughter is really the only person to do anything, but the year after we all began helping whenever we can. The boys are getting big enough that they can actually help now. They raise the flags, help carry water and work with the horses when they get a chance.
My boys even got the chance to work with the horses. They help get them from the pasture, brush them and warm them up some before the students get on them. It is great to see them grow and want to help both with the horses and the students. It is amazing for them to really comprehend that despite everything life can throw at you, there are always things that could make is so much harder.
My daughter started working a couple years ago as an actual employee helping make sure the barn is ready for when the students and volunteers get there. She is paid a minimal amount to do the preparation work, but still volunteers her time side walking with the students or leading the horses. Many people really don't understand how hard it is to walk in sand next to a horse and hold a rider up at the same time. Each class walks about two miles during class. My daughter and I have walked multiple classes each night--my daughter has done it up to three times a night for three nights a week in the past. I have tried to limit it to only one class held early one of the nights for a group out of Rochester because I am usually pretty sore afterward.
It can be messy work too. The kids have all picked up poop to remove it from the riding area. Not pleasant, but someone needs to do it. Brushing the horses in the spring is like brushing a shedding dog. Hair everywhere. My son was covered all over after doing it one day. We have been getting tired and burning out. We decided this year to only work on Tuesdays. It is very draining to work six to eight hours at the end of a day for so many days a week. Even just driving back and forth gets old--and expensive. We like doing it, but when you do that much, other things get sacrificed. I want to finish my book by the end of the year and do some camping. It should be a pleasant summer--I am enjoying planning it.