First Horse Riding Session : A Breakthrough

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Since Little Miss came home, we have been trying to find something, anything that she is interested in. Her brother has so many interests and has so much he wants to talk about, but we couldn’t spark Little Miss. Her interests pretty much haven’t gone beyond her baby dolls. If she had her way then she would spend the day picking them up, putting them in the buggy, wheeling them around and putting them back in the cot. Now, there’s nothing wrong with this as play. It is obvious to us that this is where she needs to be. The routine helps her to feel safe, there are no complicated rules and it’s her game. It’s perfect for her. But…we also wanted to see if we could find a spark for her. Something that is just hers that she loves and wants to take further. Something she could work at and hold onto as her own special interest. So that’s where we came up with horse riding! In the past 18 months we have tried swimming, gymnastics, art club, nature detectives and more. She seems to enjoy going to them but they weren’t inspiring her. She didn’t come home buzzing with new things she had learnt, or tell us what she had done. There was no excitement at going again the next week. There was just no spark for her. So we sat down and made a list of the things we know she has some interest in. Aside from her dolls, she loves to read about animals. We have a zoo membership which covers most of that, but the problem with the zoo is that the animals are all at a distance (thank goodness!). With Little Miss, we know that she is really sensory. She needs to touch, smell, hold, in order to engage. So when my mum suggested we take her horse riding, it was as though a lightbulb came on. Maybe this would be a breakthrough! Today we headed off for her first lesson. There was no worry or fear from Little Miss, just pure delight at being in a world full of horses. I was a little apprehensive as she is very small for her age, and horses are so very big. But I was delighted when her horse, a gorgeous little Shetland pony called Pickle, was led into the ring. She was a tiny, rotund pile of gorgeousness, and we pretty much all fell in love with her straight away. Little Miss headed into the ring with Mr N, and pretty much didn’t look back. Before we had gone we had talked about our concerns that Little Miss might not understand what she was being told. There is so much new vocabulary with horse riding, none of which she had come across before, and so we were worried that she wouldn’t understand what to do. Well, we needn’t have worried! She was on a lead, and the girl leading her took time to explain to Little Miss exactly what she needed to do. She was patient, demonstrated and encouraged her the whole way round. So much so that by the end Little Miss and Pickle were doing a seated trot around the arena. To witness the sheer delight on her face was utterly wonderful. The telling part for us was when the lesson had ended. Instead of her usual slightly blank look when we asked what she had done, today she was able to explain how to make a horse stop, turn left and turn right. She understood that she had been trotting, and was so excited to tell us all about her lesson. After 18 months – what a breakthrough! So, it looks as though horse riding is the way to go. We are all delighted that she now has found something that is just hers! Such a great day!
My Petit Canard

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