Building Independence

Lisa first learned about True Friends Therapy and Adaptive Riding from her family’s support planner, who mentioned that the program, which provides occupational therapy while riding a horse, might be a great fit for her son, Israel.

Listen or watch as Lisa shares more about Israel’s experience with Therapy and Adaptive Riding in the video below.

“Israel loves to try new things, so we gave it a try,” Lisa said with a smile.

Since then, visiting the barn at Camp Courage has become part of the family’s routine, and Israel looks forward to his time spent in the saddle each week. Lisa explained that core strengthening has been a major goal of Israel’s therapy. He starts each lesson with plenty of stretching so that he can sit up and ride on his own.

“Israel has gained a lot of strength. He could not even hold himself up when he was first on the horse, and now he does that half hour by himself each week,” Lisa said.

She added that one of the things the family loves most about the program is that it provides excellent therapeutic benefits, but it’s structured differently than other forms of therapy that Israel has gone through since he was very young – here, therapy is offered in a unique, playful setting.

“With this, they don’t even realize they’re working,” Lisa said. “They’re just having fun.”

Lisa and the rest of the family actually decided to enroll their daughter, Amber, in the program as well after seeing the impact it made on Israel. Both Israel and Amber love exploring the beautiful scenery on a trail ride after they’re finished working in the arena, and both look forward to riding their favorite horse, Kal.

“Here, we get to watch them while they’re riding the horse and to see the progress that they’ve made,” Lisa said. “They’re doing something new this week that they couldn’t do last week, and just to see that improvement in them and to also see them becoming more independent at home and doing activities that they couldn’t before because they are stronger is exciting.”

Israel and Amber have a large family with five additional siblings, and Lisa shared that many family members have taken turns dropping them off or picking them up so they can see the program and progress made for themselves. She said that everyone has noticed a positive difference since the kids started riding, and that everyone enjoys when it’s their turn to come watch their weekly lessons.

“It’s something for them to look forward to each week, and something they’ll continue to grow and benefit from as they get older,” Lisa said. “There’s always new things they can be learning, and skills to be strengthening. I look forward to them being able to ride for years to come.”

Learn more about True Friends Therapy and Adaptive Riding here.

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