...to enrich the lives of families with special needs children
through customized therapeutic experiences
Monday, November 28th, 2011
Please follow these links to learn about Leg Up Farm's Barrier-Free Playground that was constructed earlier this month by members of the community.
Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011
Horse and rider round the corner of the ring, hooves churning little puffs of dust with each step. Focused on the pair, you catch the sparkle in the child’s eye and watch as the child listens intently to her instructor. She gestures toward the poles lying in the center of the ring. Small fingers tighten on rainbow colored reins; arms move slightly to the right. The horse responds obediently, following the cues of his rider and steps lightly across the green poles in front of him. One, two, three...suddenly quiet spectators erupt in loud cheering and clapping. Big hands from the ground exchange high fives with small hands from the saddle. Is that a sigh you hear when the rider’s shoulders visibly drop in relief? Faces beam with happy smiles of triumph. It’s hard to tell who wears the biggest grin: rider, instructor or helpers. Success is sweet for all.
The scene that I just described for you is one example of the things that we are incredibly thankful for in this Thanksgiving season. During my childhood, my family would always go around the table and share three things that we were thankful for before our Thanksgiving meal. Following that tradition I would like to share three of the things that we, the equine staff, are thankful for this Thanksgiving at Leg Up Farm.
We are thankful for Miracles – big or small, long in coming or surprising. This last year we have been able to witness some amazing miracles. Miracles come in the form of the daily volunteers that are the backbone of our program. Every day we are so thankful for the dedication and commitment of our these wonderful people. We see small miracles in children who, for the first time ,verbalize the commands they give the horse; and in children who, for the first time, are able to ride a bike because they have learned how to balance their body on the horse; and children who, for the first time , are able to trot their horse independently without a leader or side walkers when only a few months before they were afraid to get on the horse.
We are thankful for Horses; specifically the herd of seventeen that Leg Up Farm currently has. These wonderful animals have come into our lives through the generosity of families who have leased or donated their horse to us and through the hard work of staff and volunteers who care for them daily. We are thankful for the inspiration and joy the horses give to our staff, volunteers, families, and children. They offer an unconditional relationship to their partner – teaching trust, responsibility, and love.
Finally, we are thankful for our Children at Leg Up Farm. Our job is to teach the children horsemanship skills so that they can achieve their clinical goals, but more times than not we find ourselves walking away as the ones who have been taught. We are taught lessons of love between the horse and rider, the importance of teamwork, and of course, the incredible fun that happens in every lesson.
The list could go on. Three could easily become thirty three. These are just a few things we are thankful for during this season of gratitude. We look forward to experiencing many more in the days ahead.
Wishing you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving!
Megan Giordano, Equine Director