Developing a child’s ‘Executive Functioning’ system enables them to master skills such as: remembering instructions, focus, and concentration, organizing/planning/prioritizing tasks, and regulating emotions.
When Levi first arrived at Spirit Ride Therapeutic Riding Center, he lacked the ability to follow two-step directions and was simply unable to remain calm and focused. But – he loved his horse, Jax, from the moment their eyes met. His need to take care of Jax motivated him to master the ability to be the person Jax needed him to be.
During Levi’s final session of the Fall Season, he completed his first independent ride! We were incredibly proud to witness Levi take the reins and enjoy being one with his horse. This involves juggling several tasks at the same time: proper breathing, posture, energy, hand/eye coordination, following instructions, making decisions, planning ahead, etc. That’s a lot for an eight-year-old! This partnership has been a journey that goes far beyond clinical therapy. “When children have opportunities to develop executive function and self-regulation skills, individuals and society experience lifelong benefits. These skills…enable positive behavior and allow us to make healthy choices for ourselves and our families.” (The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University)
Levi’s mom will be the first one to tell you that he is not the same little boy that he was before he began Therapeutic Riding at Spirit Ride. And, because of a team of well-trained instructors, caring teachers, community professionals, and one amazing horse…Levi is making some very healthy choices!