Need a little inspiration tonight?
I spent a few hours today with some of the most amazing people. Horses That Help is an organization right in my own neighborhood that puts special needs kids on horses every first Saturday of the month.
Mr. R has been a volunteer with them for a while, but today was my first time. I usually spend Saturday working, but they were short on ‘side walkers’ this time, so I agreed to go.
They’ve been doing these monthly events for years, and they have it down to a science. While an experienced horse person leads each horse, two side walkers stand on either side of the rider, ensuring that he or she doesn’t fall off.
I’ve heard it said before, and today, I witnessed it for myself–there is a transformation that occurs when you put a kid on horse. I did three 25-minute rounds, and met three great kids. HTH doesn’t make a big deal about pointing out specific disabilities, but I’m guessing my new friends were on the ‘spectrum’. Without exception, once these kids were perched in the saddle, their faces lit up, and they chatted easily about everything under the sun.
One kid screamed and thrashed around as the adults put him on a Shetland pony called Icee. But once they got moving, the boy’s screams turned to infectious giggles. It was amazing.
Better yet, the transformations I saw weren’t just the kids. The parents lit up, too, watching their special needs kids smiling and laughing and having a great time. They waved and took photos and videos as we passed by. I imagine those moments are few and far between in those homes. What a treat to be able to relax, and for half an hour let someone else care for your child in a loving, judgement-free place.
Tonight’s serenade is Standing Outside the Fire by Garth Brooks. The theme of the song is that if you never really put yourself out there, break out of your comfort zone, you never really live. The staff of HTH and the families who take advantage of their free program know exactly what it is to dance within the flame. They do it everyday.
I’m exhausted. We must have walked miles around and around the enclosure. My right arm is stiff from holding onto the saddle to keep the kids from sliding off. It was close to 90 degrees and the sun was relentless.
But I know where I’ll be May 5.
Maybe you know what it is to dance withing the flame yourself. If not, it might be the right time to give it a whirl.
I hope you’re enjoying your weekend. Be sure to hug those you love. Happy Saturday night!