I hope you enjoy my blog, a collection of articles and thoughts regarding my interests. I'm a married father of two that loves to write about gliding, hunting, fishing, camping and any outdoor passion. Oh yah, I'm a quadriplegic. I hope this is informative to some, entertaining to others, and interesting to all. Let me know what you think. If you'd like an article for your publication, I've got words I haven't even used yet!

Friday, 13 June 2014

Horse Therapy

Horse Hugs

I had a pretty neat experience yesterday.

First we collected lemons. My regular chair had experienced the melting of some very important wires, and hence was in the repair shop. So I was left without my wheels, which is a bit of an inconvenience to a quadriplegic (ya think???).

So I arrive home, sporting my 1983 p.o.s. backup unit. Now if you think us gimps look uncool before, ya gotta see me in my ill-fitting backup MacGyvered-so's-it-at-least-runs unit! Unloading from the van we notice the 4x4 off-road chair sitting in the garage minding its own business. It fits me well and is comfy, but you may have noted from previous posts that this thing is not carpet and linoleum (or marriage) friendly, and as such has been banned by the appropriate powers from the inside of the house.

"Do ya want to ride that?" Terry asks, pointing at the beast.

"Sure!" I reply, wanting like always to stay outside.

Terry laughs, "I guess I won't see you for the rest of the day!"  knowing that I will  roam all over Hell's 1/2 acre in this thing .

"Anything you want before you go?"

"Maybe my sunglasses, a hat, and a tea, and I'll see you later!" I reply.

One great thing about living out in the country is you can roam around and explore for a couple of hours no problem. Terry hands me my stuff and off I go. I spend the next hour or so exploring the fish in the ponds, animals and birds. When I get back to the yard the horses are standing in the corral.

"You want me to open the gate so you can go see them?" Terry asks.

"You bet!"

Years ago way back in my first life, I used to like to ride horses. I haven't had a lot to do with them ever since my accident, but when I am outside I always call to them and when they raise their heads to look at me I wave back. Sometimes they will walk up to the fence and lean over to look at me for a few seconds, but that is about all the contact I have had with them. This was going to be new being in the pen with them and it was pretty amazing.

As soon as they noticed me in the pen, they were curious. Total, the big old standardbred, walked right over immediately and stopped with his nose close to mine and stared at me from close range. He then leaned down to sniff my feet. Then he did something unexpected, he gently grabbed the toe of my boot and lifted my foot off of the foot pedal! Then he sniffed my legs, and came up to sniff my hands. He gently grabbed my hands one at a time, and lifted them. Then it dawned on me, he was wondering why I couldn't move my hands and feet, he had noticed that something was wrong!

I had witnessed something quite amazing with him once before. Our other horse Ebony had foundered and was laying down in the field. My wife and my mother were trying to get her to stand up as per the veterinarian's instructions. They had a halter on her and were trying to pull to get her to stand. Total walked around behind her and bit her in the rear end, he knew what they were trying to do! When that didn't work he walked around behind them and grabbed hold of the rope in his teeth. He pulled on the rope as my wife and my mother were pulling on it, and the three of them got Ebony to stand up! It was amazing to see that intelligence in a horse, he had figured out what they were trying to do and actually tried to help! This horse is also a master at figuring out how to untie knots and open doors.

When Total was done checking me out, it was Ebony's turn. She sniffed me all over and then gently rubbed her cheek on my face. I rubbed her chest and it was amazing to see how gentle such a large animal could be as she gently rubbed me around the back of my neck. It is a little unnerving at first to have 1200lb animal try to cuddle with you, especially having witnessed some of her more snarly moments that have had Total looking for a men's-shelter!

I have experienced some amazing things like this before with a bull-terrier we owned too, animals seem to have an instant understanding of people with disabilities, and become gentle giants. It was a great day, and I got some great horse-therapy-time.

We took lemons and made a lemonade!