Marie (not her real name) has been participating in Horse Boy activities for the past 2 ½ years. She is 7 years old and was when she came to us diagnosed with PDD-NOS and selective mutism.
The PDD-NOS diagnosis has since been taken away.
Marie's first encounters at New Trails
When in 2009 Marie first started coming out she was a very different child to the one she is today.
At this early stage she rarely made eye contact and would not engage when spoken too, she would also self-stimulate by sucking on her cloth elephant George or tensing her body into a stiff legs/back body posture and would avoid all body contact with anyone except her father whose shoulders she would want to sit on all the time.
In addition Marie spent the majority of her time in a parallel existence watching from afar rather than interacting with the other children or volunteers.
She also suffered from regular and long lasting meltdowns.
Because of her anxieties she also did not – at this stage - interact with the horses much, instead preferring to play with the smaller animals like the goats, rabbit and guinea pigs.
However her father reported to us that when she went home she would draw and talk about the horses, naming them all and following what was happening to them. An integral part of The Horse Boy Method is that we always go at the child's pace and never push them to ride until they are ready but instead have the horses in the background for when the child is ready. We were therefore happy to let Marie come to the horses in her own time.