This post was mostly written by Christina. She is passionate about Alatheia and the special needs children she works with. It also gives her the chance to work with horses in an incredibly useful way without us owning one!! (Been there, done that, an expensive escapade it was!). Both of the twins have benefited greatly from their riding therapy lessons. They can't wait each week for lessons to begin... and believe it or not, I was able to replace the therapy program at the hospital with these riding lessons, because actually the kids received more benefit. Possibly because it is so much more engaging and fun! So here is a word from Christina:
Trot! The child’s eyes dance with delight and anticipation as she shouts the command, and kicks her heels into the pony’s sides. I tug on the lead rope and we break into a run. Giggles bubble contagiously while the little girl tries to master the art of posting. Her braids bounce to the rhythm we’ve created. 1,2,1,2, up, down, up, down. The activities of today include obstacle courses to improve steering skills, catch, memory, and trotting. Although she wears a full body brace, Allie May is one of our stronger students and has become almost completely independent in her riding. Mrs. Grette plans out each lesson carefully to help build core body strength, and build courage and self-confidence in our riders.
We work with about 50 individuals at Alatheia. Each has a different special need, from Down’s syndrome, to Autism, to Cerebral palsy, and Spine bifida, to just name a few.
Every time I have the privilege of working with a new student, their excitement as they ride and try new things strikes me. Laughter has filled almost every lesson that I assist with. Who couldn’t laugh seeing some of the things we do? If you haven’t already picked up on it, I love Alatheia. The children, the team, and of course, our beautiful Fjords create the highlight of my week. The hot dustiness of the arena doesn’t bother me when I know I am making a difference in the life of a child.
Each person comes once a week for an hour lesson in a session of about 2 1/2 months. Currently each lesson costs $20, which does not cover all the expenses of running a center like this. Just the cost of feeding a horse is more than that. Ally May and many others have applied for scholarships to cover their cost. I would like to ask you to financially partner with us in helping provide the therapy these children need. Our annual Drive to Ride fundraiser is underway and our goal for this year is $22,750. Will you help us reach it? We have a Chip in button on our website where you can donate. PLEASE be sure to chip in on TEAM BLAKKEN and in James, Anna-Joy, or Christina's name!! Thank you so much!!! We appreciate it.
And please let us know when you donate. We have no way of knowing who the individuals are on our end. We just see the little chip in go up!! Christina actually canvassed ALL the businesses in our little town and NOT ONE business gave. Was she disheartened? NOPE. She went on to the neighbors, who were very kind. We have really nice neighbors!