Taking the Scenic Route

Hippotherapy ends

8th April 2008

Hippotherapy ends

posted in Autistic Life, OT/Sensory, Zane |

The interview we did that was supposed to air on Monday hasn’t aired yet.  I have a feeling it is because the major news story around here took up wayyy more airtime than originally planned, because WE WON!  ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK!  Ok, so it isn’t “our” team, exactly.  (probably 3rd on our list behind WSU and KSU), but it is still very, very cool.  I don’t watch a lot of sports, but we tuned in for the finals.  It was truly one of the best games I have ever seen.  My husband was reminded last night that the geeky theatre person he married was a cheerleader in high school.  lol.  By the last half of the game, and through overtime I was unable to actually SIT to watch the game, and was up in front of the tv cheering.  Zora, in her cuteness, got her little step stool and stood next to me, echoing every cheer and clapping along.  It was really fun. Zach & Zane were even standing up watching by the nail biting end.

Now, in real life, yesterday Zane had his last hippotherapy session.  Zach came along because he hadn’t seen him on a horse in person, and understood totally why I was so sad to see that go.  Zora was unable to really handle it well because she wanted to be on the horses too.  She kept trying to put on the helmets and head out to the ring.  I finally had to take her out of the building and visit the stables next door to keep her screaming from startling the horses.  She did get to pet a few horse noses and sort of brush a horse through the bars in the stables, so she was temporarily satisfied. 

The hippotherapy ended much sooner than we were planning.  The whole situation felt like we had been dropped in the middle of a soap opera and we barely knew the players.  The board (I assume of the stables/farm) met and decided, for reasons that make no real sense, to fire the main person who started the program.  (we think it might be because the head person wanted to keep it small and affordable to kids, and the board wanted to make money off of it).  When they fired her, all of the therapists (except maybe one, last we heard) quit because of some of the policies they wanted to put in place.  Last week, before I heard of any of this, I could tell something was off when they brought the wrong horse and the handler didn’t seem nearly as attentive.  Now I know why.  The teams there were very well trained to ensure the safety of everyone.  The personality of the horses are taken into account in what they do with them, and the horses, to this point, were treated very gently (no spurs, no whips…more of a horse whisperer type management). 

The new people think the horses should basically be interchangeable, and they want to streamline what the kids do…make the program “one size fits all”, and they want to reduce the number of people around the child and just have random handlers for the horses.  They are hiring people that know about horseback riding (but more “cowboy” than “therapy”), but not about autism/CP/Downs Syndrome, ect, and are more about teaching riding than using the horses therapeutically.  To top it all off, they sent out a passive aggressive little letter to all of the parents.  I didn’t really know what was going on before that, but I was very unhappy with the whole, unprofessional, tone of the letter and started asking around to see what the heck was going on.  After talking to several people, I don’t feel like it is a safe, nurturing place for Zane, and I decided we are done.  For Zane’s sake, and the fact his OT was there one last time, we went ahead and had a last session where he knew it was the last one to help with the transisition away from it.   If, by some chance, the group starts up someplace else (not sure if this is possible, but they have a well working team already formed and have been working together for many, many years) we will follow them there.  Might be wishful thinking, but I am so sad to see such a good program implode on itself.  Around here people don’t just leave jobs like that, and if the whole team leaves, there is something fundamentally wrong.  I am not taking any chances.

In other news, Zane started the additional ST session that I was working to get him when the OT left Heartsprings, so that was good.  Everybody, including the ST was tired from staying up too late to watch the game though.  (I bet the coffee sales in Kansas went up dramatically this morning because everyone I saw today looked a little bleary eyed) Tomorrow we start up OT at her new office.

And finally, Zach had a big phone interview this afternoon.  He felt like it went fine, but naturally keeps replaying “I should have said…”, but that is pretty normal.  It is for the job that would have us moving to the west coast if he gets it.  There are some great things about this job,  but moving so far away would be challenging, especially with the cost of living being so much higher.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 8th, 2008 at 7:52 PM and is filed under Autistic Life, OT/Sensory, Zane. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

There are currently 3 responses to “Hippotherapy ends”

  1. 1 On April 8th, 2008, Anonymous said:

    That is sad that the program ended… it sounded like a really wonderful experience you would have liked to continue for Zane. I hope something else comes up – maybe you can stay in touch with some of the therapists to find out??

    Crossing fingers on the job prospects!
    oooh, oooh, where on west coast?? But, yes, very very expensive. Did I tell you that back in ‘06 our closest friends moved from here in the SF Bay area out to Kansas? They seem to like it o.k. there (they have family) – but the lucky part is that he was able to keep his Silicon Valley job (and salary) as a telecommuter. I’m pretty sure that, whereas they felt they could no longer afford to live here, they are now the richest people in southeast Kansas ;)

  2. 2 On April 9th, 2008, Anonymous said:

    I’m so sorry to hear about hippotherapy coming to an end, it’s so hard when good programs go bad.

    Fingers, legs, eyes, and whatever else I can cross are crossed for Zach.

  3. 3 On April 9th, 2008, Anonymous said:

    What a bummer about the hippo therapy , yeah, soap opera indeed! I watched the game too! lol. My team didn’t even get to the tourney this year but the finals were exciting nonetheless. That shot for overtime was priceless! Keeping positive thoughts for Zach!

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