It’s been years since I was in a horse barn; probably twenty years. I was taking a young child with moderate to sever Autism to equine therapy classes. I was trying everything I could that was non-traditional because the traditional approach to Autism was medication and enrollment in a ‘special school.’ And, back then, it usually didn’t change things for the child. Oh, no, none of that! So, when an acquaintance told me she had some positive results from equine therapy classes, I decided to try it. I came from a non-horse background, so I didn’t understand. But, I was so desperate to help this little one, who did not speak and rocked in a chair the majority of the day at age 5, we got in the car and drove 30 minutes to class. The results were amazing! I found incredible results in booth her attention and interactions with others due to this therapy. It was worth every dime and at that time, my dimes were pretty sparse. We attended about 2 years. It was life changing and helped change the trajectory of her development in a positive direction.
Over the years, this sweet little one grew away from the Autism Spectrum and is now a modern, tough as nails woman who works, drives a car, is involved in clubs and organization and well on her way to a happy life. Now, in my later years, I want to give back to others the things I found helpful back then. My hope is to enlighten the Autism world about such therapies, and the people who are providing them. Yes, I choose my birthday to visit Reins of Rhythm for a very good reason; I am searching for others who have the passion and commitment to serve our special needs children in my community.
Upon arrival at Reins of Rhythm, I wasn’t surprised at the integrity, generosity and love in the barn that afternoon. These people love without limits but you have to do that if your working with children. Financial restraints, cold weather, challenges with their personal lives and the daily physical labor required to care for horses do not deter them. The folks here simply carry on. A small group of dedicated people allow for the program to continue: A farm hand volunteer, one paid staff member as well as the central part of the volunteer teem, Leads with Horses Teen Jr. I saw two young ladies with Shippensburg University shirts on that were joyfully mucking the barn. It was cold outside but no one seemed to notice as they tackled their duties. Two ladies manage this non-profit and dream of growing the program into more. No surprise I thought because this is a special place. Inside, I watch a young child so delighted to be up on horseback. She was waiving to me as if she was in a parade although I was the only stranger in the barn. So, I waved back admiring her spirit. But, I was surprised at how challenged this program is financially. Like most people, I thought because they are associated with horses, they have plenty of capital and resources. I mean, horse people are rich right? Not true, and they need our help. To clarify, Reins of Rhythm provides therapeutic benefits with their adaptive horseback riding. This is similar in nature to the therapy we took years ago, but this organizations leader has an Eagala Certification.The Eagala certification is earned only by highly professional and passionate individuals incorporating horses into treatment. Every certified Eagala practitioner is a credentialed Mental Health Professional or Equine Specialist, passing through standardized hands-on training, assessment, and mentor ship. We are lucky to have them here in Franklin County.
Currently, Reins of Rhythm serves 48 children; some special needs, some with typical-development and some who are youth that are among the at-risk population. Riders range in ages from 4 years old to 18. This program is greatly admired by me and my quest is to learn more about them.. And, I have selected them as my Charitable partner for my new book, The Angle Opens Her Eyes coming in 2020.
Let’s learn about them together and find ways to support their work. It’s an amazing thing to watch a child grow, learn , laugh and love and to watch the people who provide this wonderful place for them. If you are able, please contribute to Reins of Rhythm for my birthday. This is the first time I have set up a donation page for my birthday. Why? Because I KNOW what they do is important and that they are authentic and needed in the Autism world and in our world in general. Watch for more post about this group as well as more pictures about my visit.
www.reinsofrhythm.org Shippensburg PA FACEBOOK Reins of Rhythm
Look a this gorgeous horse and that view!