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Muddy99 04-25-2013 10:06 PM

Fun and Games for 7 Year Old Rider?

My daughter is 7.5. She is not in a therapeutic riding program, BUT riding is definitely therapeutic for her! She is diagnosed with Tourette's Plus (the plus being anxiety and OCD) she also is highly physically and emotionally sensitive with sensory issues.

This is her third year riding (spring-fall) and she is prepping for a couple of schooling shows in the lead line class for building confidence, so her lessons are very focused and she is working on her form, but becoming frustrated with slow progress.

So we are doing a part-board for the next 6 months with the horse she usually rides (Dancer, 22 yo QH cross, very strong minded old lady!). Twice a week we have time to do whatever we want... so I am looking for activities and games we can do and play to build confidence and the relationship/ bond with the horse (along with the tacking, grooming etc.).

We can use the ring, low jumps, barrels etc. as well as trails and the road and the coach/ owner is wide open to us being creative!

I figured you would be the best folks to help me find activities that are fun, motivating and helpful!


Brighteyes 04-26-2013 04:24 PM

I don't have any suggestions, but I just wanted to say that a horse may be the best thing you could ever do for your daughter and I'm so happy that you're giving her more horse time. :D

I have Tourette's, and the associated ADD, OCD, and GAD. I got into horses when I was 14 years old and it saved me. I wish I had started sooner! Horses give me confidence and a "safe place."

With anxiety and OCD, my brain is never quiet. My favorite way to calm down was working towards a "goal." I got a dirty horse and focused solely on brushing until it was perfectly clean. I taught my horse to back, sidepass, stop without reins, etc... Just little, easy goals I could accomplish. Occupied my mind and gave me confidence.

You might even find that having a horse of her "own" and spending time with her no matter what they're doing will help your daughter. I don't know about your daughter, but I had a hard time building relationships with people. My relationship with my horse was the most solid thing in the universe and I depended on it. Still do. :wink:

Muddy99 04-27-2013 11:41 PM

Thank you so much for your reply, you brought tears to my eyes!

What great idea to give her a specific task to learn/teach. I'll have to think on some ideas (I am used to training dogs... Can't be so different to find a little behaviour to teach positively, maybe even clicker train!

(And she LOVES to groom a dirty horse, too!)
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