Three weeks ago, Solly had his first hippotherapy session. Ever since Solly turned two, the age when children are generally allowed to start horse therapy, I have been anxious to get him on a horse.
In December, he had an evaluation at Saddle Up!, a therapeutic riding center in nearby Franklin. In the short 20 minute evaluation, I got a clear picture of how beneficial hippotherapy could be for him: he smiled and giggled while on horseback as the horse moved at a walk, halted, and circled. Though it may not seem like those simple actions are doing much, they are, in fact, building much-needed core strength, balance, and movement patterns in Solly’s body and brain. Unfortunately, at the time of our evaluation, Saddle Up! was undergoing some therapy staff changes and as much as the physical therapist who completed Solly’s evaluation wanted to begin treating him, there simply wasn’t a spot for him and he was placed on the waiting list. Surprisingly, there are only two therapeutic riding centers in Nashville: Saddle Up! in Franklin is a quick 20 minute drive and Full Circle Therapy in Smyrna is a much father trek. I preferred to not spend too much time driving to and from therapy appointments so I considered Saddle Up! our only option.
Fast forward six months, in the recovery room for Solly’s SPML surgery, his orthopedic surgeon told us the best way for his hips to rebound and strengthen after surgery is to think of putting him on a horse. I’m sure he meant this figuratively – creating a horse shape between his legs, especially any time he is out of his brace. For those of you who know me personally know that I’ve always been a horse-crazy nut, so a light went off in my head as the doctor said this and I took him quite literally – it was time to get Solly on a horse! I decided extra time in the car was worth the benefits of this type of therapy, so I got in touch with Full Circle Therapy. Days later, we completed Solly’s evaluation and were able to find a spot on his new therapist Jennifer’s hippotherapy calendar. We started immediately.
We are now three therapy treatments in and we’ve have already seen some benefits. I cannot wait to see how Solly continues to thrive with his weekly riding therapy and hear both his and Bea’s giggles when they both get to see Solly’s therapy pony each week.