In the Saddle

Reta Jean loves her dance class, and we’ve been trying to find an activity that Raymond will love, too. He wanted to read all his books at the library before he left, so that didn’t work out well. He really wanted to do dance class with Reta Jean, but there were too many people and too much activity. I mentioned to the other dance moms that I was looking into horseback riding (hippotherapy), and one of the moms knew somebody. Miss Amanda works at an equine therapy center out of town, but boards her horse, Mr. Q, at a local farm, and offers lessons there. Perfect!

Last week we went to meet Miss Amanda and Mr. Q. I wasn’t sure how Raymond would react to a big horse, but he absolutely loved him. He got to brush him and give him treats. He even introduced himself. “Hi, Mr. Q. You can call me Mr. R.” At one point Mr. Q twitched his tail and brushed Raymond’s face. I knew it was all over when Raymond instinctively hit the ground. I was wrong. He stood right up and said, “That did not feel good in my mouth. That was not good manners,” and went right back to brushing him.

Mr Q meets Mr R

This week Raymond got to ride! I asked Amanda to send me a brief rundown of what the schedule would be, so we could let Raymond know what to expect. On the way to his lesson Raymond asked if Hulk could show up. (He often speaks in terms of superheroes. When Raymond is channeling the Hulk, it can get ugly.) Carly was able to join us today, so she and I both told him Hulk was not allowed at the barn. Raymond made sure it would be OK for Captain America, Iron Man, Batman or Spiderman to show up. I told him all of them were welcome – even Thor, Ant Man or Black Widow –  as long as Spiderman didn’t shoot webs at Mr.Q. We also let Amanda know that Hulk was not allowed. She’s still learning his lingo, but she already speaks Raymond very well.

Raymond’s rules:

  1. Naptime voices in the barn
  2. No running in the barn
  3. No Hulk around the horses

After picking out his helmet and gathering saddling supplies, Raymond reported to his mission. He helped Amanda get Mr. Q ready, and they headed into the arena. Carly and I hung out in the observation room because we didn’t want to be a distraction to him.

On a mission


He learned to get on, give commands, and use the reins. Amanda said there was only a brief, “Am I supposed to be this high?!” moment, before he settled in. After awhile, Carly and I could tell he was done, and were very happy that Amanda picked up on it without us needing to bring it to her attention. She knows her stuff! Once more around the arena and they were done.

Horseback  Walk on

Apparently, getting off the horse is a little tricky. Hands and feet get twisted around. It took a little bit for Raymond to figure out what went where, before he could get off.

Lesson over

Before leaving, Raymond got to give Mr. Q a hug and some cookies. He had the best time, and can’t wait to see Mr. Q again next week.

Hi Ray

Disclaimer: I’ve never been a horse person. I’m sure I’ll use a lot of the wrong terminology while I’m learning. Don’t laugh at me.