Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Hearts For Horses

I am so sorry I have not been updating regularly.  We've been traveling, battling viruses, I've been finishing school for the semester, and doing our usually daily grind.  I really hope to post Mila's progress more frequently.

I can't even tell you how fortunate we have been in finding the BEST therapists Colorado Springs has to offer.  Jamie (OT in Hippo Therapy) is so patient, happy, kind, and I can tell she loves every child she works with.  The progression Mila has made in a few short months has been amazing to watch.  I feel overwhelmed with joy when I stand in the arena to watch her ride.  She is always happy, but if you really want to see her eyes sparkle, put my girl on a horse.

Mila's first ride was filled with nervousness, fear of the unknown, and typical sloppy body mechanics. She would lean forward, pressure through her hands, which was to be expected.  Jamie would hand her rings to allow her to focus on engaging her core to maintain her posture.  Four weeks in, Jamie ditched the rings for holding, and Mila was sitting perfectly straight, swaying back and forth with the stride of the horse.  She would ride forward, backward, and sideways without fuss.  Now about 8 weeks in, she is riding on all fours (hands & knees), assisting Jamie when it is time for position change, signing "walk on" by patting the horse with her hand, and a few weeks ago, she rode on her knees (while sitting upright with arms in the air), and on her belly.

We have missed a few weeks due to sickness and vacation, but time off doesn't change Mila's motivation and determination to progress.  With Hippo Therapy she is getting all therapies wrapped up in these big, beautiful creatures.  She has been so vocal since she began riding.  Every syllable you can imagine, with a lot of "dada's"!  Her motor planning is improving.  She can stand for long periods of time, cruise forever, and is using correct body mechanics when exploring.

Sometimes I have no idea what to expect from Mila in terms of her function.  A year ago she would develop new skills and lose them within weeks.  Now, she picks up things so quickly and hangs onto them.  I think she needed some time to develop.  Time to get older.  Time to mature. 
Perfect posture while making choices on the iPad with Katie (speech therapist)  
Barely holding on while standing in the stables (sand floor challenges her ability to balance)

Taking turns & imitating Sarah (PT) by grabbing a letter and moving it up to the top of fridge, while standing :)

First attempt at putting a sock on...EVER!

She's not fully convinced she likes a new way of riding through Target (practicing new ways to balance & use that core)

We continue to relish every moment.  Michael and I battle over who will notice the next "new" thing Mila does.  I love that he watches her and notices change just as much as I do.  With holidays coming and going, we're soaking up every moment the three of us can be together.  Michael's job has been kind to him the last few weeks, and I hope it will remain that way.  We are starting new traditions and taking on new adventures any chance we get.  We recently went up to Estes Park up in the Rocky Mountains and it's too beautiful not to share a sneak peak of our fun :)
Post Thanksgiving festivities 

Our first snow hike in the Rockies

Our Party of 3