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In the summer of 2017 my son, Max and I (a single, self employed mom) received a grant from the Horse Boy Foundation to go on a trip to the UK and visit two centres for a Horse Boy camp: New Leaf Triangle and Equine Learning CIC. A truly great opportunity for Max as well as for me as a Horse Boy Method and Movement Method trainee trainer and an autism parent.

Max is 8,5 and has Wiedemann Steiner Syndrome ( WSS is a broad spectrum genetic disorder which for Max results into a short stature, hypotonia, developmental delay, sensory processing disorder, feeding issues, dental abnormalities, anxiety, constipation, a strong autism component and some behavioural challenges. That being said, Max is an absolutely delightful child. He’s funny, loving and smart. He loves music, animals, trains, elevators and going to school. Though Dutch is his native language, he learned to speak English quite well through watching Peppa Pig and Ben and Holly’s little Kingdom. He thrives under one on one mentorship and surprises us daily.

Going on this trip was a big adventure. I must say, I felt a bit apprehensive about the flight, the whole camping-sleeping in tents-thing, the food being different, everything being different. Luckily our friend Laura, who happens to be a Horse Boy Practitioner joined us. Max was really excited about the train ride and the flight, but also a bit anxious. He was really scared during the flight, but we got through it. We had a rental car at our disposal, which made traveling more relaxed and less stressful for Max as well as for us.

1 Collage Trains and planes departure small

At both locations the employees and volunteers were well prepared and created all kinds of fun and educational activities using Max’ interests and likes. The inviting atmosphere made us feel right at home and despite of some challenges we all had a great time.2 Collage New leaf Triangle 1 small

The most important thing this whole trip brought was the realisation that Max is much stronger and more resilient than I thought. And you know what? So am I. We both got to experience our own adaptability and independence. It made our bond stronger and created possibilities and more freedom for his and our future. It made me a better parent. And we had so much fun. Laura being there with me and later also Laurence gave me some much needed hands free time.3 Collage New Leaf Triangle 2 small

Max is showing more functional social interaction, more functional play, less meltdowns and more functional verbal interaction. He gained more skills to manage his anxiety and faces most challenges head on.4 Collage Equine Learning CIC small

Pretty safe to say it brought us a lot and we’re really grateful for the opportunity we were given.

Thank you.

New Leaf Triangle, Troy & Lorraine Shaw, staff and volunteers

Equine Learning CIC, Nicola Hepburn, staff and volunteers

Sincerely, Margje Vleck

Community Activities

qqsakura has a new avatar. 08/19/2019
Brimbach replied to the topic 'The Holding Hands Challenge' in the forum. 08/17/2019

This made me smile! I have kiddos- and to be honest, I am not a huge fan of the hand holding idea either- but we overcame it with small pool noodles, but I loved your teddy idea because it is a link that makes sense and you playfully overcame the barrier to join some games...nice work!


Brimbach shared a photo. 08/17/2019

Our families receive services for free. Horse Boy has really allowed many of our families to reconnect and move forward- this is an opportunity to... Show more

Our families receive services for free. Horse Boy has really allowed many of our families to reconnect and move forward- this is an opportunity to give back and it connects our Colorado tribe to the Equestrial Skills Park- what a great opportunity for community building- come join!USAFA WARRIOR WELLNESS PROGRAM Volunteer Day at the Equestrian Skills CourseSaturday September 14, 9am-2pm1045 Lower Gold Camp Road – Enter through Norris-Penrose Event Center and follow signs for Equestrian Skills Course parkingWear comfortable clothing. We’ll provide gloves, water, and snacks.Contact: Georgie Saydak (719)494-2887 or Banca Rimbach brimbach@d49.orgFamilies welcome! All ages & abilities are welcome!What is the Equestrian Skills Course? A free public park with natural obstacles for horses and riders of all levels to prepare for the trails while safely interacting with other trail users.Where is it? Bear Creek Regional Park, El Paso County, Colorado Springs, Colo. How is this being developed? The entire course is privately funded and built by volunteers just like you! No experience necessary to participate in any part of this, just the desire to be a part of a great team building something truly unique for our equine community!For more information on the course, visit Friends of the Equestrian Skills Course on Facebook or at
Minne replied to Indonesia 08/13/2019

Hi Nicolette, I've send you an email! Thank you!

Hi Minne, I’ll be back in Indonesia on the 20th of August. Will you be traveling to West Java?

nicolette.brata has a new avatar. 08/08/2019
nicolette.brata and 7 others have joined the group NTLS Asia 08/08/2019
nicolette.brata created a new topic ' The Holding Hands Challenge' in the forum. 08/08/2019

One year I had a 3 years old girl in my class who loved to play with her classmates, however she had sensory integration challenges and couldn’t hold hands. I carefully picked this challenge as my goal (at cognitive level of the child) for the first quarter of the school year (= allowing time). I collected as many ideas as possible for games and activity songs to be played while standing in a circle and holding hands, but instead of hands I started with 2 big soft teddy bears (no stress sensory experience for her). The girl would hold a front paw in each of her hands and the class mates standing beside her would hold the other. I would make jokes about the bears wanting to join us (humor) and enjoy holding her hands as it made them feel safe (explain) and over the period of weeks, I gradually used smaller and smaller bears (taking time). Each Friday I explained that the bears would come home with me for a refreshing bath and return on Monday. After several weeks, when she was already used to the small bears, I ‘accidentally’ (stupid-me-humor) and had to apologize for leaving one bear at home. She thought that was very silly of me and without any hesitation held a classmate’s hand instead. Two Mondays later I asked her to help me search my bags, while apologizing and using humor in a story of how I had to run for the toilet that morning and must for forgotten to bring the small teddy small teddy bears back to school. I had purposefully put some silly items in my bag (e.g. the spoon I had used to eat my yoghurt that morning), which made her burst out with laughter. I then asked her which circle game she wanted to play without the bears ...
End of the story was that before the October break the whole class had had tons of fun (and learned a lot, e.g. counting, colors, the names of the students) with all the circle games and the girl was initiating holding hands, as well as shaking hands.


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