Monday, February 8, 2010

A morning without a side walker

I did not have a side walker all morning- which limited the activities I was willing to do. I feel that it is extremely important to have a side walker and if I don't have one- I focus on transitions to facing sideways and backwards, weaving and half halts while facing forwards, sideways and backwards and trotting while facing forwards and backwards- avoiding quadruped, kneeling and standing on top of the horse which for most children requires two sets of hands.

Riding a horse is of course packed with sensory stimulation, but I also love using sensory toys. A little girl was fascinated with the small motor used for the vibrating pens (with pen point removed). She was able to stand on top of the horse while totally distracted-playing with it. Then for the first time she did squat to stand sequences 4-5 times while reaching for it.

Barbara Smith, M.S., OTR/L author of, The Recycling Occupational Therapist


  1. Wow, glad to hear everything worked out okay. At our center it is a risk-management policy that if a client normally has two sidewalkers and we don't have two people- we don't run the session on horseback!(we may do a barn or clinic session) This is a huge liability if something were to happen and the parent would say, "well every other week they had two people walking with them". In our specialty area of practice we have a lot more to consider then our own treatment plan as we might in a clinical or school situation. We have a team that we are counting on, including the horse, horse handler/expert and sidewalkers. For our treatments to be successful and safe we need our whole team functioning together, the soundness and temperament of the horse, the presence, fitness and training of our horse handler and therapy aides (they may be volunteer or staff) all contribute to how successful and how we complete our treatment session that day. I guess this is something for everyone to consider if you are missing a team member- what are your facilities policies and what is your comfort level with risk.

  2. I hope to work someday at a facility that his this philosophy. But for now that would involve a longer commute or working on a day I don't want to work. But I totally agree with you.