I facilitate a memory cafe in Washington DC for people with early stage AZ or MCi and their care-partners and spouses. I am also an equine-assisted therapist. I have held two events at my stables for my memory cafe members. The events have gone over very well. Here's a summary that went with our photo documentation of our Equine Experience event for our memory cafe members yesterday October 16, 2013.
Members shared memories (including the amazing black and white photo which is one of our members, now over 80, riding a horse in Ethiopia in his mid-20’s) of horse encounters. You can see in some of the photos that we had a saddle as well as a suit of armor on display. One of the women who volunteered to help with the day is a full contact jouster. Members got to try on and pass around her armored helmet and gloves. This volunteer then discussed the sport with the members, who were utterly fascinated and had tons of questions. After that, members were introduced to and got to interact with three different therapy horses, who are each a different breed and color. Members learned the horses backgrounds and how they came to be therapy horses. They also learned how equine therapy works and why horses are such valuable therapy tools. Members then had opportunities to engage with horses individually at their own comfort levels including grooming, petting, communing and leading the horses. We closed with a short group mindfulness activity in the arena with the horses. One highlights for me was overhearing a member softly saying to one of the horses as he gently stroked the horses face, “I never thought in my life I would get to spend time with a horse.”
Awakened Heart Sanctuary