Several months ago, a friend who runs a riding school about 6 hours from here, came to visit us. In fact, it was on Easter weekend, which was also my birthday weekend. I remember it because it was quite eventful for many reasons not to be mentioned here. Ha!
Anyway, while visiting, she noted that we needed a second bigger horse. We have more therapy riders in need waiting for us to get more horses at the moment. Some of our disabled riders are too heavy for our little ponies, and we only have one large horse. I also have daughters who are teens now. They are outgrowing the ponies. Don't worry, our littlest ones are growing into the ponies just fine and riding them daily. Ponies are like bicycles! Gotta find one that fits!
So my friend decided to help us hunt for a good small horse/big size pony.
Once again, I was faced with the hassle of transport. Not only was finding a truck nearly impossible, it was only going part of the way, and it was expensive. I paid to get him to Nairobi, and an acquaintance offered to bring him to The Shire because she was bringing her polo horses back home and passing by the bottom of our hill. Due to high demand, however, she called last minute explaining that she had TOO many horses on her truck and may not be able to bring him. I was nearly in tears when he was almost stranded in Nairobi with me hustling to find someone to look after him, plus someone to bring him to our home! Ultimately we got him home on Monday. We decided to call him Artemis Sparks. Artemis (αρτεμης ) meaning 'safe' in Greek, and Sparks because the previous carer thinks it important to keep that in his name. We call him Mr. Sparks, Artie, Artemis, and Sparky. He actually perked his ears up when I called him Artemis today. It was pretty cool.
He hasn't done much of anything. I think he is 7 or 8 years old. He has been ridden so isn't completely green. I started his training on Tuesday morning. He is a sweet fella, big-hearted, and kind. I am teaching him some manners because he likes to get in your space. He is learning a lot of things quickly, and that makes me so glad. I introduced him to a jump, and he just loved flying over it. It has been raining so not much riding has happened...
So this weekend's Horsepower session, we decided Artemis needed to be conditioned to what therapy is all about. While doing our session with two riders, I had Eowyn sit on Artie pretending she was a 'busy' kid doing therapy.
She stood on her knees.
She waved her arms about.
She laid on his hindquarters.
She did games, danced, and threw bean bags.
He was brilliant through it all. He didn't even flinch.
We will continue to desensitize him and get him used to the sounds and colors of the games to make sure he is a safe pony for the children. Then, and it appears it will be soon, we will use him to bring much needed physical therapy, education, and emotional therapy to children with disabilities and their parents.