Greetings Friends of Kids & Horses,

 

My name is Cookie, actually my full name is Milk and Cookies because of my brown and white coloring, and I just came to the Kids & Horses ranch this year. I am sure most of you have heard about me. I am the Gypsy Vanner that all of your votes helped bring me to Kids & Horses! At the end of July, I left my old job in Tennessee to move to Nevada. On August 1st, I arrived at my new home. Since my arrival, I have started my training to become a therapy horse at Kids & Horses.

I have a trainer who is teaching me how to be ridden. Other staff members and volunteers have been introducing me to tons of toys and obstacles in the arenas. To be honest, I was confused when they first told me that my new job was to be a therapy horse. I had no clue what a therapy horse was, or what the job entailed. I had heard that Kids & Horses offers physical therapy, occupational therapy, and adaptive riding to children and adults with disabilities, but I didn’t understand what those meant. My pen is located near the sensory arena. From there, I have been able to observe tons of sessions, and learn more about what my future career will be like. My roommate Frodo, a handsome Norwegian Fjord, is able to tell me all about the therapy sessions. He tells me that the licensed therapists use the horse’s movement to improve functional skills. I overheard a mom sharing that her son, who is doing occupational therapy here, is now able to dress himself in the mornings before school. I noticed one of the physical therapy clients who originally used a wheelchair to get from her car to the horse, Missy, that she rides, and now she walks with just a cane!

I have several barn mates who are used for adaptive riding. In adaptive riding, the student is learning a riding skill and is being taught by a certified instructor. Just from the lessons I see in my pen, I have witnessed incredible progress in almost all of our clients. I watched a girl on Barney’s back who used to have a helper lead her, but now she is able to ride independently and even steer Barney left and right. I saw this girl’s smile get bigger each lesson and watched her confidence grow. I didn’t know that horses could be such a big part of a human’s life.

Here at the ranch, we have many people involved in our program. We have our volunteers and staff that faithfully come every day. We have over eighty clients riding every week, and we have eight therapy horses and two therapy horses in training. I have noticed that the program could use some extra funds especially as the cold season of winter is approaching. The winters here in Northern Nevada bring wind, rain, snow, and frigid temperatures. Speaking of winter, this is going to be my first Christmas here in Nevada. How cool is that!? I sure hope it’s a white Christmas. I’ve also caught wind that there is going to be a Christmas Open House. Included is an invitation to this event. This will be my first Christmas party! There will be friends, food, demonstrations, and even Santa. I hope I can see you there. If you would like to have more updates, stories, and invitations to events from Kids & Horses, please give us your email address. You can mail it in with your donation OR sign up for our newsletter on our website (www.kidsandhorses.org). I can’t wait to meet all of you and would love to stay in touch!