Jade a ten year old rider has been participating with the Manitoba Riding for the Disabled Association (MRDA) program since the spring of 2013. MRDA is a non-for profit charitable organization that provides therapeutic horseback riding to disabled children and has been doing this since 1977. Jade has made substantial gains in her ability to sit up independently, able to maintain her balance in response to her horse’s movement, has increased her ability to communicate with others, and become much more interactive with her non-disabled peers… just to name a few of her gains during her time in the program.
Jade has emotionally benefited from the program and developed a sense of pride and sharing experiences that her able bodied friends experience. Jade loves Monday nights (the night she horseback rides with MRDA), and looks forward to it. MRDA runs 2 ten week sessions: a spring session which usually goes from April to the first or second week of June, and a fall session which runs from the end of September to around the first week of December. Jade “talks” (through her gestures and sign language) daily during the months that MRDA doesn’t run; asking when riding is starting, “talking” about her horse Brazzle and what he’s doing during his time off, when we can go and visit him, and when she will see her friends (other riders, volunteers, instructors, etc) from MRDA. During the months that MRDA is in session, Jade can hardly contain her excitement on Monday mornings before and at school, because she knows that once school is finished for the day she goes home for a quick dinner and then it’s off to ride and see her horse.
Jade has also taken a great interest in watching any movie that is about or has a horse in it, as well as watching any of the Spruce Meadow and international equestrian events.