Walking – Hands: Week Two

3Maria had spina bifida, a birth defect that causes a problem with the way the spine and spinal cord develop. Maria had used a wheelchair for the majority of her nine years.

Maria’s cabin at Camp TLC were off to the horses for their morning activity. She had never ridden a horse before and was very unsure about being lifted out of her wheelchair to be placed into the saddle on the horse. With encouragement from the wranglers and her cabin counselors, Maria mounted her horse, Victor Charlie. With the security of a lead walker and a sidewalker, Maria was handed the reins and taught to maneuver Victor Charlie left, right, stop and walk.

As Maria took the reins in her hands she was very timid at first.  Her sidewalker assured her that everything was fine. As she made her way around the arena, Maria was sitting in the saddle a bit straighter and her confidence was increasing. Maria exclaimed, “I’m walking! I’m walking!”

Having control of the reins with her hands and leading Victor Charlie around the arena gave Maria the sensation that she was walking and she was in control. With great confidence and enthusiasm Maria rode Victor Charlie to victory in a game of “musical stalls*”. Maria was so proud of her win; she felt like she’d won the grand prize belt buckle at a rodeo!

*Musical stalls is Camp John Marc’s version of musical chairs, but played on horseback in the arena.