Saturday was Oia's first hippotherapy session. In addition to OT, PT, and ST, she will also now get hippotherapy 1x/wk for 30 minutes. Hippotherapy helps improve postural control, balance reactions and mobility in ones hips and upper body. While mounted on top of a horse, Oia or anyone like her, can accurately feel the sensations of a typical gait/stride through the horses natural mimic of this. We are thrilled that she has the opportunity to experience such a therapy and not only that, but she really, really enjoys herself doing it.
The helmet on the other hand...not a fan. I strategized with her and said that this is what the 'professionals' wear when they ride. I'm sure that concept went right over her head but she went with it anyways and quickly mounted her new friend, Mr. Bojangles.
I was thoroughly impressed with the first session. Nothing too hard but appropriate for the first session. Oia felt at ease. She sat forwards, backwards and side-ways on the horse. There were two separate hand-holds for Oia which is perfect for engaging Righty. She did great keeping a strong grasp with both hands. They played music for Oia while she rode a few laps, played a stop and go game, and she even got to toss a ball back and forth with one of the spotters. The time was very engaging for Oia and she straightened her posture very quickly after seated on top.
They had Oia trot lightly for short bursts but most of the session was done at a walk. She didn't mind the bounce at all. In fact, she prefers the thrill.
Oia got to feed a bowl of treats to Mr. Bo after the session was over. She shuddered a bit with uncertainty having such a large animal so upclose and personal but she handled it well. I think next time she'd like to request a little more personal space from Bo. Or maybe perhaps we'll just bring Bo a carrot next time.
The session painted huge smiles on all three of our faces. For Rob and I to see her riding seems a bit magical to us. Call me a sap, but I get chill bumps every time I see my little girl holding her own on top of a horse. Just proud...really, really proud.