Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wonders Happen at Loli's

Lenox and I met the most wonderful lady called Loli and her son Alberto just by chance when I was giving a lecture at the University on Animal Assisted Therapy a few months ago. After the lecture she came up and introduced herself, and you could tell just by the way she touched you, that there was something very special about her. She knew nothing about us except the lecture I had given. She invited us to come and visit her and we went the very next weekend. She has a walled in compound full of horses and all sorts of animals from farm to exotic. She is a riding instructress and had very kindly lent her ponies to a group of students from the university to learn and practice Therapeutic Riding, while she taught her regular students in the other ring. Her animals have all been hand-raised since they were tiny and are the most gentle and calm animals I have ever met - along with my own of course.
I have a virus that is unknown and they can’t kill which has left me disfigured and going deaf. I was blind for a year but they gave me transplants and we are just hoping the virus doesn’t eat them as well. Because of the toxic medicine that I take, I have a lot of ups and downs physically and mentally which must be hard for my husband but he is very understanding, and is by my side through it all. Loli picked up on it right away and knew the only solution was to get me back on a horse and ride it out, so to say. It had been almost eight years since I had ridden but I started slow and in a few minutes was galloping with my arms out like I was flying. I haven’t felt that good in years, I had energy that lasted several days and was strong and in good humor. She insisted that we come the next weekend and try some more to see if I got the same effect. It was even better. She treated us to lunch and friendship and made us feel like part of the family and even though it is just Loli and her son who have to care for all those animals, she takes time out for me to make me better. Now we go every week if we can.
We noticed, since I had taught ‘equinoterapia’ for over thirty years, that the new people were missing the basics, which are so important for the safety of the children. If Spain wants to be on an international level, they must learn the basic safety procedures and follow the international rules, because even though they are not required in Spain yet, they soon will be. This brought us even closer together and now we are starting to give courses on the Basics of Therapeutic Riding with the backing of the Spanish Riding Federation. It is a course for professionals, aides and volunteers. We were looking forward to starting in October along with Beatriz the physiotherapist from ANIMO, but things haven't worked out yet. We will be publishing a manual soon with everything you should know before you let a disabled child near a horse and what things can help and what can hinder. Exercises, how to choose the right pony right through to first aid.
Thank you Loli for making me forget about my own problems and help other people again, at the same time ride out my illness.

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