It’s pure, unbridled joy!
The magic that exists between a horse and rider with sensory or physical disabilities transcends all language and physical barriers at the Marianna Greene Henry Special Equestrian Arena.
Vision grants us a sense of physical space. It dictates our posture as we see what's before us. Denied our eyesight, we lose these advantages.Place a blind or low vision child on a horse and suddenly, there's a new space to master. There's movement that calls for balance; there's a posture that must be held. Mastering this, a child gains a new sense of confidence that makes the world a wider, more inviting place to be.
Hippotherapy literally means therapy with the help of a horse. This therapy is a goal of the Marianna Greene Henry Special Equestrian Program at AIDB. Students who have been in wheelchairs or on walkers since their earliest years have spent many painful hours of physical therapy on mats. While they accept it, many of them lose motivation for the incremental progress they make. But hippotherapy motivates the movement of tightened or restricted muscles and limbs. One student fought physical therapy on the mat, but would stay on a horse for hours.
The relationship between a horse and student reaches deep inside, touching their hearts and opening communication. One autistic child, who never stopped moving, never relaxed, immediately stretched out across the horse's back, calmed by the horse's presence. Another child who refuses to communicate and who avoids touching other people, will seize the therapist by the arm and walk her to the horse, taking her hand and petting his mount.
The Marianna Greene Henry Special Equestrian Program has a covered indoor arena and a 3/4 mile Sensory Trail for students from preschool age to middle age for both therapeutic and recreational riding year round.
It was Marianna's dream.
Marianna Greene Henry was a giving young woman, a wife and a mother, and a beloved daughter. Her dream was a program that combined her two loves: Horses and helping. She founded the six-week pilot program that introduced hippotherapy to AIDB. But before she could see her dream come true, Marianna, at 31, was stricken with a fatal heart disease.
But her dream didn't die. Her family caught her enthusiasm and dedicated themselves to growing her dream into a reality that impacts the lives of hundreds of AIDB students each year. Her parents,
Now with 10 acres of land donated by Marilyn and Pat Greene, time and other resources and were joined by many volunteers and donors to establish the Marianna Greene Henry Special Equestrian Program where special children can pursue dreams of their own. The program is accredited by the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association.
Click here to read more or volunteer at the Marianna Greene Henry Special Equestrian Program.
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HMA Donates Truck to MGH Arena