J loves horses! She has little plastic horses all over the house. Anytime she sees me anywhere near the floor maybe to bend over to pick up one of her stray horses, she runs and jumps onto my back and commands me to get going with a loud "Giddyup".
Lately she's been asking about riding a real horse. And a pony ride at a local fair just isn't going to cut it! I found quite a few stables that cater to special needs children in our area. There are actually horse stables like this throughout the United States because it is a hugely successful form of therapy for children with communication disorders, autism and emotional or psychological disorders. Working with horses is calming and helps children learn to focus their attention. Equine-assisted therapy is also known to help children with cerebral palsy to learn to balance and adjust their bodies as a horse moves.
I want to get in on this for a few reasons. Obviously J would benefit when she already has such a love for anything related to horses. It could also be a way for her to gain confidence in a hobby that is solely hers. Her sister does so many things before her like swimming, soccer and ballet, but getting her involved in an activity that her sister doesn't know anything about could really boost her self esteem. From my perspective, I would love to see her learn to balance and increase her coordination in relation to the horse's movements. And it would be fun!
Here is a link to a number of organizations offering therapeutic horse riding.