Ever (aged 3) has been attending Horse Boy playdates for the past three months with his Mom and Dad and 2 year old sister Maebe. They are a lovely, close knit family who in their application form stated that they were looking for something the whole family could do together. Something they rarely get the chance to do because of Ever’s rigorous playdate schedule.
And that was exactly what they found. The family loves coming out and spending time together exploring the woods or playing with our animals. The kids thrive in the pressure free environment and the parents love spending time with them and the other families that join them. But, although Ever was happy to feed the horse an apple or play chase with it on the ground what he really didn’t want to do was ride.
Whenever his parents asked him whether he wanted to get up on the horse he said no and then went straight back to whatever it was he was doing, whether it was playing in the gravel or collecting apples (his passion in life) in the woods. And this, of course, is fine by us. At Horse Boy we never put any pressure on a child to ride or do anything else that they are resistant towards. Instead we trust that the kids will come to the horses in their own time and that if they don’t there is still huge benefit from being out in nature away from the sensory triggers they are bombarded with in their everyday life.
However this morning at Ever’s 10th session his Mom took me aside and asked whether we would be willing to try just lifting him up there and see what happened. I said yes as long as they understood that if he still said no we would take him straight down and not repeat the exercise.
And so when the time came that it seemed right to try that was exactly what we did. As soon as he got up there and the horse moved underneath him Ever began to smile. And as he pretended to chase his parents from the back of the horse he began to laugh. Soon he was giving us clear directions on where he wanted to ride too and when we finally managed to get him off again he was so proud of his achievement. And we were proud of him. Believe him he wasn’t the only one with a smile on his face for the rest of the day.