Sunday, December 4, 2011

Horseback Riding

Just after Thanksgiving, the awesome Daetwilers invited us to come over to their farm for horseback riding and a campfire dinner. I was super nervous that my children, who harbor a deep and abiding terror of dogs and all animals not stuffed, would make the divine-sounding evening a misery. But, fortunately, after many, many hours of watching videos on youtube of small children riding horses, and a few horse riding instruction videos, my home-made animal therapy worked and they did AWESOME! They both hopped right on with big grins on their faces.

I am allergic to horses so I didn't get to ride, but Zoe was REALLY excited to ride with her Grandma Jan. Later on in the trip they had quite the adventure when the saddle on their horse started sliding around the side of the horse and they both fell on the ground. Grandma valiantly saved the day but putting herself under Zoe's little body. I know Grandma was pretty sore for a few days, and we appreciated that she sacrificed herself so Zoe could have a soft landing.

The greatest victory of the day for me was "the dog thing." After a number of traumatic dog experiences as a toddler, Jed has been really REALLY terrified of all dogs. Big, small, loud, quiet, whatever, he screams if one gets close and attempts to climb my leg in terror. I hate this because there are a LOT of dogs here in Kentucky-Hoosierville and poor Jed is so upset when they are around that it is hard to visit friends or go out. And I just don't like the idea of my child being held back by fear. We have a dog across the street and for a long time Jed wouldn't even go outside and play. The last few months, though, I have been taking the kids to visit "Star," a therapy dog who is at the library every Tuesday. I was hesitant to do it because we have to skip quiet time (which as you all know is religiously observed at our home) but I thought it was worth a try. AND IT IS TOTALLY WORKING!!! At the Daetwilers, Jed walked right by the big hunting dogs without flinching. "I like well trained dogs," he told me, "just not the wild dogs." I am so happy and grateful to see that with a little work his deeply-ingrained phobia is melting away and soon I hope he will be able to be go play with dogs just like all the other little boys.

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