A Hippo, A Boy and a Therapist

A big day for Noah today.  No, he didn’t really ride a hippo, but he did start hippotherapy (hippo is greek for horse).  And actually, I knew that long before today, but only because we’re studying ancient history in our homeschool this year, and we recently covered Mesopotamia (meso translates to between and pota means river).  The text we use for history was gracious enough to put two and two together for us and explained hippopotamus translates to river horse.  For some reason that stuck, so I was pretty sure hippotherapy had something to do with a horse when I first heard of it.  Kinda neat to have a real life reminder of what we learned in history.  Who says Latin is a dead language?

If you’re not familiar with hippotherapy, the American Hippotherapy Association has a great explanation of it on their website.  http://www.americanhippotherapyassociation.org/hippotherapy/hippotherapy-as-a-treatment-strategy/  The way I understand  hippotherapy is that it is a therapy that integrates aspects of physical, occupational and speech therapy all in the course of a horseback riding session.  I thought it sounded a little bit hokey at first, but watching today and watching some videos of hippotherapy on U-tube convinced me otherwise.  Those guys work HARD!!!!!

So, we left the house early this morning at 7:30.  Not a problem for Noah, who we heard banging around at 5:30 this morning.  Noah slept so much when he was a baby, I was thinking we’d be smooth sailing through our mornings as he grew older.  Ha!  He is the first one up every morning and would probably be the last one in bed every night if we gave him that choice.  It’s okay, though.  I’ll take a healthy and rambunctious little boy, and I’ll thank the Lord he wakes up every morning, no matter what time it is.

We live out in the country, and the hippotherapy arena is even further out in the country.  I was so excited – we actually left the house in time – hippotherapy started at 8:00.  I’m driving and driving, paying attention to the street signs, notice Noah’s physical therapist is in the car behind us, so when I pass a suspiciously familiar-looking street and notice she has turned onto it, I pulled off onto the side of the road and turned the car around.  Did I happen to mention we were out in the country, on a narrow road?  So what I pulled off into was something akin to quicksand.   Somehow with the front of my Suburban taking up a whole lane, the back half  got stuck in the quicksand-ish stuff (okay, okay, maybe it wasn’t quicksand, but it was soft, really soft) on the side of the road.

And this is why I love living in the heart of the Texas Hill Country.  Immediately a truck pulled up beside me, the man got out and did his best to get me out.  I had done this in a really bad spot, just on the other side of a hill, so the people cresting the hill could not see that there was a problem until they were right up on it.  You know, the kind of situation where even the kindest folks will back down from helping because it’s just not really safe.   He decided to take his truck and put it at the top of the hill as a warning.  The entire time he was helping me, every person who drove by stopped, rolled down their window and asked if they could help.  If you live in Texas, you know it is not a rare site to see Hispanic day laborers broken down on the side of the road, obviously needing assistance assistance that seems to rarely come.  Well, this kind, kind man who looked like he could himself have been in that situation stopped his truck, got out, brought a strap and wanted so badly to help.  The first man who was sticking around until I got free said he didn’t think the strap would hold, and you could tell the guy was disappointed he couldn’t do anything.  Then another guy stopped.  This guy had a huge diesel.  I asked him if he had chains, and he said he didn’t know, but he’d take a look and see.  Thank the Lord, he did!!!!  And those two guys worked together and got me out.   I insisted on paying them, but they refused.  One of them just told me to pay it forward.  (I will.)   They did each take a gospel tract.  I was kind of embarrassed though – they were the Good Samaritans that day, they could probably have taught me a thing or two about loving my neighbor and helping the helpless.  If you have a second, pray for those guys, that the Lord would bless them in a mighty way.  I know both of them were probably on their way to work and had a whole list of things they had to accomplish before they could wrap up for the day, and helping the lady stuck on side of road (that would be me) because she backed her car into quicksand wasn’t on the list.

They sure were my angels today – and Noah’s.

So while all that was going on, I called Noah’s PT to tell her what happened and to see if there was any chance she would come get Noah and take him on to hippotherapy while I dealt with the car (that was while the Suburban was still making mud pies).   She did!!!  Can you believe that?  What a gal!!!!  But I was already free by the time she got on the road, so I just followed her back to the arena, and other than being 15 minutes late, everything went off as scheduled.

So, how did he do you ask?  Oh, he was a champ!!!!!!  He rode with someone on the horse with him, and I couldn’t hear a lot of what they were doing because it all happened outside, and they keep spectators a good distance away from the action.  But he was all smiles and waving at Mom (again, that would be me).  I could see they had him throwing rings and balls around.  He looked so professional with his helmet on.

All in all a great day.  I took some video, but my hands are so shaky and movements so jerky that I know it is going to be very annoying to watch.  I’m not much for video, but maybe blogging will motivate me to learn.

Here are some lotto boards I put together on www.mrsriley.com with hippotherapy terms and pictures:  http://mrsriley.com/app/#fileID=46037.  Anyone can view them, just click “preview” and “continue” once on-site.  If you want to print, click the green “preview, register to print and save” star in the upper right hand corner.   The three boards are all slightly different, so up to three people can play, or you can change out the boards for a little something different.  Print each board that you want to play two times, cutting one copy of each board into cards.  Keep cards divided into stacks according to the board.  Each player gets a deck (or mom and child can share a deck if they are sharing a board).  Players take turns drawing cards from their deck and matching card to corresponding place on board.  Winner is the first person to get a row of three, all four corners or black out.  Of course, customize the game to fit your needs.

Note:  One of the cards features “Miss Laurie.”  I know not everyone is as fortunate as Noah to have Miss Laurie.  Hopefully you each have your own version.  To edit the text to match your therapist’s name, simply follow the link, double click on the Miss Laurie card, delete the text  in the card name box and enter your own therapist’s name.  Repeat procedure for all three boards. 

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