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horseback riding + therapy

the incredible impacts on Abby and her Cerebral Palsy

By EMandKids | AmazingAbigailGracePublished about a year ago β€’ 3 min read
Top Story - September 2022

One of the programs that helped Abby the most was her horseback riding

Technically, she participates in Specialized Equine Therapy and it is a bit different than the typically hippotherapy.

Hippotherapy is a physical, occupational, and speech therapy that utilizes the natural gait and movement of a horse to provide motor, and sensory input. It is based on improvement of neurologic functions, and sensory processes, and used for patients with physical, and mental disorders.


Equine-assisted therapy encompasses a range of treatments that involve activities with horses and other equines to promote human physical and mental health.

(Physical, occupational or speech therapy in which hippotherapy is utilized. Therapeutic riding is recreational horseback riding lessons adapted to individuals with disabilities.)

Abby has been riding for almost 3 whole years and it has absolutely made such an impact for her in that time.

What I love so much about the program is how diverse the skills are that Abby is working on! She doesn't just show up and ride her horse- she is completely involved in all aspects of her ride. She is learning about responsibilities and safety.

Each time we arrive Abby walks her horse in to the barn to get him tacked up and ready to ride! Her horse's name is Buddy and their bond is quite possibly one of the sweetest things I've ever seen.

Abby spends time brushing buddy and sometimes braiding his hair before walking back and forth with his saddle and accessories. She helps to throw up his blanket and saddle. She even knows how to tie a cinch knot! The rainbow reins are usually her favorite part of the process folloed by the addition of a cup holder for hydration along the trail.

Once Buddy is ready, Abby puts on her helmet and heads to the stairs to mount him. This is an increible skill that she can do completely independently at this point! It is very impressive.

The walk starts through the rainbow gate and all through the beautiful woods. They love stopping by the wind chimes, the swingset, and the stream. Up and down hills, while Abby squeezes her abdominal muscles as much as she can to keep her posture over the terrain.

Like everything else tht Abby does physcially, she exerts 3-5X more energy than someone else without CP might. For her whole hour she is working so hard to ride along the trail with buddy and her smile never leaves her face.

We finish her ride right back where we started when she dismounts with very little help. Abby throws her leg over and slides down onto the blocks below, grabs her crutches, and walks Buddy back into the barn.

Just like when she arrives, she helps to take off all of Buddy's equipment and finishes her session with a bowl full of treats for him. He loves peppermints and apples, carrots and even leaves that she pulled and saved from trees during her ride.

While the program itself is amazing, it is Abby's instructor that has REALLY made the program so incredibly impactful for all of us. She is patient, kind, caring, encouraging, and just an amazing role model around her horses and her farm. We can't even begin to say enough amazing things about Meadow Creek Farm.

These kinds of programs have made the biggest impacton Abby. While Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Speech Therapy have helped her come such a long way with her abilities- this programs helped her come a long way with her confidence with her body and with herself. It's something that has been shaping her as a person for the past couple of years. We are so grateful.


About the Creator

EMandKids | AmazingAbigailGrace

content creator + proudest mom to 3 sweet little humans, including THE Amazing Abigail Grace

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Comments (22)

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  • Dr Lachlan Soper5 months ago

    Great article! Thank you for sharing your experience.

  • Some of my best memories of my childhood are riding. I miss it so much. I knew it was beneficial, but had no idea just how much! Really interesting, when we were kids we were always told helmet on before you enter the stable. Guess rules are different in different places!

  • Amy Hallabout a year ago

    Loved and subscribed! Can't wait to read more of your work! Consider having a look at mine and if you like it, please subscribe... there's a lot to come! I look forward to seeing more of your work!

  • Beth Wolfeabout a year ago

    So cool! Love that Ab has such great opportunities! Y’all are great parents.

  • BettyNalukwagoabout a year ago

    Kids are friendly to animals πŸ™‚ I see how abi feeds the horse 🐎 it's loving

  • Izzy Isoldeabout a year ago

    YOU GO ABBY! Horse riding is so much fun, seems like your having a great time

  • Katie Odleabout a year ago

    Hippo therapy is amazing for those with disabilities. I did a slide show back in college on it. Puts a smile on my face every time I see Abby or any other kid on a horse.

  • Quattlebaum Pecherabout a year ago

    Great writing

  • Matras Dohrmannabout a year ago


  • This comment has been deleted

  • Bianca about a year ago

    Seeing how horseback riding is so beneficial to Abby is such a beautiful thing. Wishing her the best of luck in her future endeavors! - @biancacheca on insta ✨

  • Consuelo Galindoabout a year ago

    Animals and nature are good resources for therapy πŸͺ΄ glad Abby enjoys being around animals

  • El Cabriabout a year ago


  • Vishalabout a year ago

    Very great sharing, love it!

  • Janno Vinoabout a year ago

    This is so beautiful! I’m so glad Abby is able to experience horses and they’re so accommodating

  • Jessica Dabout a year ago

    I think therapies like this are so cool! I love that something as fun as horseback riding can be used for such great purposes IN ADDITION to the fun aspect of it!

  • Rachel Jay Layelaabout a year ago

    This is so beautiful! I’m so glad Abby is able to experience horses and they’re so accommodating

  • Ashley Theisabout a year ago

    Abby is so incredibly smart and well versed for her age!! I love her horse buddy and the rainbow reins. Truly such an amazing experience you’re providing her that’s a core memory!

  • taylor dawnabout a year ago

    Horses are so beneficial to young girls. The bond between a girl and her horse is in breakable. So glad Abby enjoys it.

  • Elise about a year ago

    A fun exciting way to work on therapy without even knowing it! Horses are such gentle giants!

  • Carol Townendabout a year ago

    Such a beautiful girl and her wonderful personality shine through these pictures. It is wonderful to see this and I am beyond words. She is amazing!

  • Hannah Arianna Ashtonabout a year ago

    I love this! My sister did equine-assisted therapy for years and it brought her so much joy. I love all the photos of Ab and seeing her skill, confidence, and smile grow with her over time πŸ’•

  • Udleyabout a year ago


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