A Boy and His Horse
A Foster Support Success Story
It has been a few weeks now that Jeremy has been going to Equine Therapy. He is doing very well. It is wonderful to see the progress he is making each week.
Normally I do not get to see any of his therapy sessions. A few weeks back I was invited to observe the end of his session. His counselor had a pile of seemingly random items on the ground. She told Jeremy, “Pick up whatever items you want and make yourself a home with these items.”
On the ground were a blanket, flowers, pictures, pillow, PVC pipes, orange cones, ribbon, metal bowl, flags, big wooden spoon and others items.
I watched as Jeremy took PVC pipes, stuck them down in the orange cones and tied the ribbon around them to make a wall surrounding him. The counselor then instructed Jeremy to put a bowl of horse feed inside his home. Of course, the horse went for the feed and tore down his home. This setback did not deter Jeremy from rebuilding his walls. He rebuilt his home in the same manner but this time took a PVC pipe and ran it along the ground (much like a blind person would with a cane) to keep the horse from tearing down his walls or eating the food.
Jeremy’s behavior was so telling, in the beginning, he allowed the horse to stay close but would use the PVC pipe to keep the horse away from his walls. I watched fascinated by his behavior. As time went on Jeremy used the PVC pipe to keep forcing the horse further and further away from his home until the horse only had the outer edge of the arena to roam. Is this a mirror of what’s inside? Not only does he have walls, but does he have internal mechanisms that keep everyone at bay?
The horse ran around the outside of the arena for at least five minutes because Jeremy would not allow it to come any closer. At the end of the session, Jeremy drew a line in the dirt at the edge of the arena. Above the line, he wrote with his finger, “THE END.” Jeremy was told he could go take down his home or leave it there…he left it there.
When it was all over, the counselor told me she had never had a client use the PVC pipe and cones to tie a wall around them. This strongly represents Jeremy not letting anyone in his circle and building a wall to keep them out…perhaps, protecting his heart.
“THE END”… strong words to say the least. The counselor said “This represents the beginning of him letting go of the pain life has caused him. Writing “The END” meant that he no longer would let it hold him back. It was over and that he will possibly start letting go and letting people in.” All I could do was let that sink in…let that resonate with me and reflect on my role as his foster-mom. My role to love him unconditionally. Love him through his pain…help him heal.
Now after every session, he is so happy and talks about it the whole way home. My husband and I see a difference in him after every session and we see him let us a little more into his world…into his heart each day.
The other day I asked Jeremy, “Do you like equine therapy better than regular counseling in an office.” He said “I loved equine therapy. Many people have taken me to many counselors and I always refuse to talk. I just shut down because it is so painful to talk about. The horses really help me to let go and I love working with them…they understand me.”
I cannot say thank you enough for the support Ambassadors for Children’s has given to Jeremy. He has a lot to overcome and it is because of you that he is making great strides letting all the pain go. You are changing his life and I thank you so much for that. He is such a good kid and deserves the chance to get better so he doesn’t have this baggage to carry with him the rest of his life.
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Foster Support Services through Ambassadors for Children provide self-esteem items, such as financial support for sports equipment, home needs (beds, etc.), equine support, baby care needs, school activity fees, etc.