For the second time, Xenophon offered family and friends the opportunity to find out just how much our riders do during their time on the horse. This year, our hippotherapy clients had the opportunity to invite a parent, sibling or friend to join them in their riding session. Apprehensive moms and excited brothers donned helmets and mounted up to find themselves riding backwards, trying to catch a ball while sitting sideways, or leaning off to grab items out of a bucket. Said one mother, “I had no idea how hard my child worked while mounted on the horse. It takes so much muscle!” One sibling chimed in, “I wish I could ride everyday like my sister does. The horses are so cool.”
While the Family Ride Along program is an opportunity for parents or other family members to experience a mounted therapy session first hand, it is also a wonderful opportunity for our riders to step into a teaching role and show others how to do the difficult tasks that are asked of them during their sessions. It is their time to be a leader, to show off and to boost their self-esteem through the knowledge that they can do things that their parents, siblings or friends cannot. Perhaps most magical is the way these riders project their intense love for their equine partner and the special bond that develops between horse and rider during their sessions.
Xenophon hopes to continue to provide this wonderful opportunity each year.