I had two meetings last week with Rupert Isaacson of "Horse Boy Method" for autistic children.
I am VERY IMPRESSED.
What I saw was a child (around 12 years old) riding double with his mother. This was beyond anything I have ever seen for joy and love and deep connection between a mother and her autistic child. The mother, Gretta, who is a lovely African/American said it is the only time she can be close to him. The boy, James, was quietly content and kept going back to the horse to stand with his arms quietly on her every time we talked and left him alone!
When I drove into their property Rowen came running up to us and said to my brother, Randy, "and who is this" in a totally present tone and manner. I did not believe it could be the boy I saw in the documentary! What a joy to meet this young being!!
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At my horse workshop in Cedar Creek, Texas the end of October I had the pleasure of having Horse Boy program director, Iliane Lorenz and interns in the 4-day training along with two of their wonderful horses from The Horse Boy program, Spirit and Marvel. After my training I went to visit Their center, just 30 minutes away in Elgin. I was impressed and enchanted by the atmosphere they have created at this unique learning center “Horses helping kids with autism”.
Although horses are at the core of the program there is much, much more. Founder Rupert Isaacson has developed a special learning program for his autistic son Rowan, to replace traditional public education. I understood that he is almost ready to share this with other parents.
I was first at The Horse Boy farm three years ago and met Rupert and Rowan. I had read Rupert’s book, The Horse Boy, and seen the DVD (same name as the book and is available from Netflix). I was grateful and impressed to see the changes in Rowan.
After that visit I went with Rupert and Iliane one evening to downtown Austin where they brought horses into a park next to a major shopping store. the Horse Boy program is provided without charge to autistic families and the horses are brought into the city for the convenience of working parents who cannot make it out to the Horse Boy farm.
On the evening in Austin, parents had the choice of riding with their autistic kids or taking a break, shop or enjoy a glass of wine.
In The Horse Boy program Kids ride in a western saddle in front of a staff member and sometimes with a parent. Some of the horses are driven from behind rather than lead, Which I find much nicer for horse and rider. And some of the horses are specially trained to canter almost on the spot called “Terre A Terre” which kids love.
On my second visit I was so impressed by the changes in three years. They now have a covered arena nestled in the forest with an inviting gravel walkway leading into the trees that gave me the feeling of being in a fairy tale. Everything is designed to bring autistic kids ( and their families) in connection with nature and animals – horses, goats, dogs, cats, chickens and others, in an inspiring and natural manner. learning and play is woven in a brilliant way that does not feel at all like therapy and yet includes arithmetic and spelling in an intuitive learning style.
Families come with their autistic children for The Horse Boy “Play Dates” from all over the USA and around the world. When I was there young interns from France, Italy, Canada and the UK were learning the Horse Boy Method to take back to their countries.
They need volunteers to help with their programs so I was thrilled to receive the following letter from Lisa who was not able to make it to the evening fund-raising program I did for Horse Boy Foundation in Cedar Creek.
I made an announcement in our last Tellington TTouch® E-NEWS and this email was a result:
“Good Morning Linda!
I thought you might like to read this story…( In your spare time (: ) I wanted to tell you that Jim and I went to Horse Boy’s on Sunday. We really enjoyed our time out there. Everyone is so nice and in just the few short hours that we were there, we could see the good that they were doing. Its a special place with special people and I’m so thankful that you sent out that email! We plan on continuing to go and help in any way that we can. Thanks again, Lisa Hall”
© 2013, Linda Tellington-Jones. All rights reserved.