IN PRAISE OF PASOS MILAGROSOS
By Elena Cooper
Two years ago we began our program with six students and a lot of trepidation. Today we began our third year with a total of twenty students, three of whom started today with another one to join us next week.
What a day it was! We had a couple of nervous horses which is very unusual. Maybe the full moon? Whatever caused it, we all had some concern and one poor volunteer has a sore ankle to confirm that the horses were out of sorts. While we all think our horses are giants they’re quite small compared to the jets he flies. Another poor vol worsened her already sore tendon when she had to jump out of the way of Lu’s hoof. You guys all did an incredible job handling the horses and I hope they’ll behave way better next week.
In the attached photos you’ll meet the new students and you’ll see the new game we all played that was quite a hit. Both equine therapy students and independent riders learned to ride balancing a tennis ball on a spoon. Damn, we had fun.
I can’t say enough about our therapeutic riding teachers, they’ve brought our students so far and given them so much confidence. Some of you will remember how Rosario fought being on a horse. She wouldn’t even put on her t-shirt in the beginning. She now mounts her horse faster than I can keep up with her and she’s raring to trot. Angelica is incredible the way she handles her horse in spite of her cerebral palsy. Here you’ll see her reining her horse with one hand while balancing a ball on a spoon in the other hand and then leaning way over to put the ball in a bucket.
Check Miguel’s posture while riding without reins and successfully leading his horse with his body and voice. All three of these children live at Love in Action and Hope House. It’s wonderful to see how they enjoy being with their four-legged friends.
Our three new students were challenging but with all our experience we know we’ll serve them well. Our first student is Rocio who is a three- year-old little person. She didn’t want to be on that horse in the beginning but she settled down when she saw her friend, Emilio, with whom she goes to school. Even more challenging was little Chuy who suffers from cerebral palsy. You’ll know these students as the ones that I’m back-riding. The most challenging of all was seventeen-year-old Juan Carlos. You’ll notice his team is all men and you’ll see how serious they are. Juan’s a handful as he’s big and very limited by nerve damage in his back and legs. Dr. Alan was a blessing with all his experience and Robert Kelly’s nephew, Brad, was great for jumping in any place he was needed.
Today was a special day in that we were faced with challenges that we haven’t faced since we started two years ago. Everyone rallied around and jumped in where needed regardless if their time was up, regardless if horses were acting up, regardless of minor injuries.
You’re the best equine therapy team in the world and we so appreciate each and every one of you. May our third year be our best year.
Gracias a todos,
Pablo y Elena
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com