My 8 year old daughter has suffered with social problems for most of her life. She has seen doctors about her problematic behaviour but the only thing they wanted to do was use pharmaceutical means to address her behaviour (which I was opposed to). Finally, the school she was attending had begged me to just try the drugs and that she would be put into a special program in the school. The program ended up making the behaviour worse because she was labelled as being with “those” kids and they were segregated from the rest of the school.
Her behaviour had gotten so bad, that her grandparents had to take her for 5 months. It eased the strain on the rest of the family but her behaviour continued. I tried everything, I wanted to get her into counselling, but her doctors said it wouldn’t matter because she was too young to understand the concept and she also had too short attention span. Things were getting really bad between myself and her and between her brother and sister, there was never a moment of silence unless she was in her room or something. I blamed myself as a parent because I felt I failed her in every possible way.
I remember hearing about how horses are therapeutic, so I did some research on the topic and found Cartier Farms Equine Assisted Learning. After reading the information on the website, I knew this program was for her. She loves horses so much, I hoped it would give her something to look forward to, perhaps an incentive to at least try to behave. Because my child was so troubled, I couldn’t bear the thought of what choices she would make in the future. Although pricey for the lessons (as I am a full time student) at least I can look back on the past in the future and say that I did “everything” I could for her.
I was pleasantly surprised how they (facilitators) are able to grab the children’s attention. The patience they show with the children, and the way the children respond to them in return was amazing. The facilitators are quick on their feet when thrown an answer they were not expecting so as not to make the children embarrassed for what they think an answer may be. They use humorous situations to help make the children understand the importance of paying attention not just to what the person is saying, but the importance of reading their body language. The importance of building trust between horse and child was wonderful to see my daughter do. She even shows respect not only to the horse she is working with but to her partner as well!
I assumed that when we arrived I was only an observer, by the second week I was doing exercises with the children and horses. This program wants to involve the parents too. My daughter has figured out techniques with the horses that I never would have thought of.
Overall, This program has benefitted my daughter in so many ways, she not only has respect, she shows more of it and is conscious about respect. She communicates better at home, like talking rather than yelling, throwing a fit, hitting, causing and starting fights at school. She gets along with her teacher and no longer rolls her eyes at her when she is talking. Her lying has decreased dramatically. She has more confidence in herself that she can be a better person. And as a bonus, I have learned things about myself that I never knew existed. I saw where my faults were and how to work with and around my faults as a parent. I think we are walking away from this experience completely fulfilled both spiritually and mentally. The money spent is most definitely worth it and I highly recommend this program to anyone who is having a hard time with their children.