From Silence Begins Success

Connor’s first visit to the Green Goose Acres hippotherapy program was not met with the usual giggles and smiles.  When the non-verbal boy of about 8 was met with a riding helmet, loud angry noises expressed his discontent of the situation.  With a look of encouragement sent Dad’s way, a push from behind and a pull from in front, Connor was strongly “encouraged” to drag his feet toward the mounting ramp.  At the top of the ramp, I squatted down and rested Connor on my thighs.  I instructed my horse leader to bring Sassy, the pony, close so her nose was within reach.  No expectation of riding today was given.  Hand over hand, I gently stroked Sassy’s nose with Connor’s hand.  As I felt Connor stop resisting my movements, I slowly let go of his hand.  Miraculously, Connor continued to stroke the pony’s nose.  It was at that moment that we all realized the angry noises had stopped.  A new relationship began.  I asked Connor, “Do you want to get on this pony?”  His answer came in two quick claps of his hands, Connor’s way of “yes.”  Connor rode for twenty minutes that day- in silence.

          Today, four years later, Connor still meets the helmet with a loud objection.  Once he is on his pony the silence is astounding.  It is the only thirty minutes during the day when Connor’s head is up and his eyes are forward.  His teachers at school are envious.  Connor never appreciated the songs or games we tried to play so he is learning to ride.  He has mastered the ability to gently kick Sassy to let us know he is ready to go, pulls back on the reins when he wants or is directed to stop Sassy and he is on his way to moving the reins side to side to turn.  Every once in a while we are honored with a “Connor” smile and a hug.  That’s worth all the silence in the world.

healingharts Avatar

Posted by

Leave a Reply

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: