There are lots of theoretic matters and researches about the Hippotherapy. But better to see it in real -- seeing is believing. That's why I decided to visit the Hippotherapy lesson for orphans, the weekly lesson in the network of our movement.
It was the 22 of April that I've met children from the orphanage #31. As it appeared, children are not frightful -- they are cheery and amusing. Wonderful little creatures with its own traits.
There were 2 boys (Ura and Liosha) and 2 girls (Ylona and Ania) on that lesson, and they were riding in pairs. Ura and Ylona took the first course, then Liosha and Ania did. Children are different -- both by their age and by their temper. All they have own sad story behind, and seeing their smiles really warms a heart.
Going on lesson I thought up some subjects about Hippotherapy that I'd like to talk about. But after the first hello to children I couldn't leave them. I felt a stabbing tenderness inside and a desire to hug each child, talk to them and play, hold a hand, respond to their inquiring and grateful look. However despite this storm of feelings that surged me up, I anyway appreciated the professionalism, attentiveness and goodwill of hippo-therapist. They use the personal approach to every child and tried not to scare it.
At first children are getting to know a horse -- caress it, feed it, give a carrot by hand, and then, when the contact is finally established, a child can straddle a horse and make some exercises with a help of trainer. Together with hippo-therapist there are two assistants who walk side by side with a horse, ensuring a child. I had conversation with Ekaterina (a teacher of this ophranage) and with Maria Antsupova (a supervisor of the "Hippotherapy and healing riding") and they said that the previous rides gave really good results. For instance, Ylona. She has a CSIP (cerebral spastic infantile paralysis) and before her 2-years age she had troubles with standing and walking. But after a half-year of studies she began to walk much better and her speech has improved as well. And so every child shows a rapid progress in its development. Someone moves better, someone becomes more sociable. And everyone is longing for the next lesson.
It's amazing that children have a chance to leave the orphanage, to meet new people and a world around. It substantially raises their social adaptation, independence, a self-reliance and an interest to the outer life. And what a pleasure to take a ride! And how much attention from people -- three adults are helping me, talking to me, proud of me! This attention is more valuable than any toy.
As for volunteers -- the rosy faces, happy eyes and rippling laughter of the children is the best reward. One visit of Hippotherapy lesson has dispelled all my doubts about its efficiency. If a child becomes happy, it means the result already. And it costs a lot.
I'd notice that equestrian centers are hard-to-reach for the handicapped children who haven't an available transportation.
Special thanks to volunteers helping with transporting the children to the lessons. After meeting the children and spending a very short hour with them I finally understood the "Petersburg Parents" principle -- there aren't somebody else's children. No matter what, any child is ours. And when we're moving towards to them, participating in their development, helping them become healthy and full-fledged people -- it means we are on the right way. Any moment with these children and for these children has been spent not in vain. Recognition of your own necessity and non-randomness gives you an inner harmony. The wonder is near; just make a step in the right direction. So let's make a step towards our children together!
translated by Erica Borodina