This week I cheated on Dart. Twice.
Say hello to the newest volunteer at Spirit Therapies! After a years-long hiatus, I am back to volunteering my time with a local hippotherapy program. It sounds a little ridiculous, but in this case “hippo” actually means “horse.” My occupational therapist heart is so happy that I get to work with horses while helping people access the therapies they need to live life to the fullest.
Children and adults with various conditions and disabilities can benefit from therapeutic horseback riding. We might help one kid build confidence, another may increase their balance and core strength, or a veteran may find healing and peace from PTSD. Horses are just magical like that.
Don’t get too jealous yet, it’s by no means a glamorous job. You see, they don’t start you out working directly with clients. Instead, you begin by learning basic horse care and farm care. Read: I probably got more dirt and animal poo on my clothes than ever before.
AND DART LOVED IT. Look at his little sniffer go!
Dart has an amazing sense of smell. Going out on walks teaches him all kinds of things about our neighborhood because he learns so much through his little snout. Similarly, he got a wealth of information from smelling all the smells on my clothes when I finally returned home from the therapeutic horseback riding center. All the little connections in his brain were firing excited signals while he smelled all the stalls I had cleaned, horses I had brushed, hooves I had picked, chicken coops I had cleaned, and all the duck eggs I had carried in my shirt.
This enriching sensory experience gave Dart just the mental stimulation he needed, and he was one happy pup for sure ❤