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News Story
Updated: 11/16/2013 08:00:00AM

Riding a horse opens up

the world to these children

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PHOTO BY BRENDA EGGERT BRADER


Reese Whidden, on the horse, is able to relax and pay attention to working with the therapists. Geni Cablish, occupational therapist, left, is in background; in front of her is Trudi Cantor, horse owner, and Heike Reeves, right, physical therapist all of Our Children's Academy on Burns Avenue.

PHOTO BY BRENDA EGGERT BRADER


Reese Whidden is always being bombarded with senses so she places her fingers in her ears as a way of coping. She prepares to ride the horse for Hippo therapy at Our Children's Academy on Burns Avenue. Working with her are, from left, Trudi Cantor, volunteer owner of the horses who walks the horse; Heike Reeves, physical therapist; Whidden, and Geni Cablish, occupational therapist.

PHOTO BY BRENDA EGGERT BRADER


Reese Whidden, on the horse, has taken her hands from her ears and is able to concentrate on what therapy is presented to her to work on while on the horse. The horse riding relieves her sensory distractions so she is able concentrate on the world around her. Geni Cablish, occupational therapist, in the background, and Heike Reeves, physical therapist, foreground..

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The autistic child comes through the gate to the horse park holding her small fingers to her ears. Heike Reeves, physical therapist, holds the child’s book containing hook and loop fasteners yielding photos sharing what the child wants to do because she doesn’t speak. Opening a page, the child grabs a horse picture and hands it to Reeves, who takes it and asks, “are you ready to ride the horse?” A little acknowledgment with eyes and body indicate she is ready to ride.

Placed on top of Sonny, an eight-year-old Appalachia horse, the child’s lower body begins to follow the gait of the walking horse.

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