In the past, I have attended occupational therapy, behavioral health therapy, physical therapy, neuropsychology therapy, and speech therapy all in hopes of retraining, regaining and relearning different areas of my body and mind that have been affected by Multiple Sclerosis. All therapy is helpful, but I was still looking for something to truly help me heal.
Equine Therapy is designed to help with my speech and cognition. One of the first exercises I did when starting 11 months ago was learning the 10 different parts of the horse. After taking a while and still not comprehending the task, I noticed that when I added a musical rhythm, my brain was able to comprehend better. Eyes 🎼 Ears 🎶 Muzzle 🎶Jowl 🎶 and Poll 🎶 After creating the song, I went off curriculum again and decided it would be helpful to touch a plastic horse while singing to help my brain retain this new information! Patting myself on my back, I purchased a plastic horse to practice on.
Today, when I was challenged to identify parts of the horse, I was able to point them out in the correct sequence and brush the correct parts. It was a challenge to remember the new words, identify them and then brush the right parts of the horse. We started out with the sequence of three and by the end of our session, I was able to recall, and retain six words/commands starting with Eyes, Muzzle, Jowl, Poll, Pastern, and Knee! Once again, in order for me to retain, I needed to add some rhythm 🎶 .
Learning, touching, and brushing the parts of the horse, learning facts about Derby’s breed, a Tennessee Walker, learning parts of the hooves, the tenderness of the frog, and learning how to lift Derby’s feet was an endeavor, he is one stubborn horse, and well, so am I. I have been working with Derby on and off since February 2020 and would never have imagined how far we have come. Trying to learn all 31 horses on the farm by name is one of my biggest challenges!
My speech therapy with Dr. Thecla has created new pathways in my brain, and I am forever filled with gratitude! Witnessing my confidence grow while working with Derby and Dr. Thecla, the MS warrior within, has strengthened. I’m so very honored to have this kind of therapy and Multiple Sclerosis Rehabilitation Program at Kamp Kessa, a program of Cedar Fire Farm, LLC and Sheltered Risks Inc. of Frankfort, Kentucky!