Youth Forward Scholarship Winter 2016 – One Hoof at a Time

Name: Christina Rodriguez
From: Dade City, FL
Grade: 11
School: Pasco High School
Votes: 0


Hoof at a Time

For many years I knew volunteering was something I wanted to
do. I wanted to find a way to combine my love for horses with others
around me in the community. Through research I was able to find a
barn near me that specialized in hippotherapy as well as therapeutic
riding. I am able to help those who are challenged, experience a
freedom, and confidence they would normally never have the ability to
feel on their own. Through hippotherapy we use the horse’s
movement to achieve the desired motor and sensory outcomes of the
patient. I am able to interact in a controlled and calm manner with
younger kids, while teaching them about the proper care, concerns,
and habits to have while being around such gentle giants. I have seen
the amazing changes in kid’s speech, balance, and overall social
skills. Through a number of exercises different areas of the brain
are stimulated. By having the child hold their arms out to the side,
they work on core strength as well as balance. When tasked with
grabbing a ring from a pole and dropping it into a bucket the motor,
eye- hand coordination, and balance are all stimulated. Speech is
also tapped into, as the children must give verbal commands to the
horses telling the horses what to do. Riding therapy gives me the
opportunity to build a connection with kids and show them the amazing
world of horses. Their smiles, questions, and improvements making
making every moment worthwhile.

is my goal to help kids with ranging disabilities, see that despite
certain setbacks they can do anything they set their mind to. I want
to help build their confidence, so that they won’t be discouraged
when the going gets tough. I want each and every student to know that
just because someone says they can’t so something, doesn’t mean
they have to listen to them. Every child deserves to go after their
dreams. It’s my dream to help those who need a little extra hand,
show them that they can have what it takes, and give them the tools
they will need to succeed.. By working with special needs kids, I
have been able to see the happiness and joy a bond between an animal
and human can entail. By passing on that special bond every child has
the opportunity to grow, be rehabilitated, or improve.

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