CJ – Finding Independence at the Barn

Meet PALS Client, CJ! For the past one and a half years, he has come to PALS, participating in both riding and unmounted horsemanship programs. CJ is diagnosed with disabilities that affect his cognitive functioning. However, this does not stop him from achieving his riding goals and learning all about equine care. During CJ’s ride, he exhibits much less self-stimulatory behavior and fewer verbal outbursts. His riding sessions are often quiet; the horse does most of the magic. He becomes very calm from the motion of the horse. CJ does know how to steer, “woah,” and “walk on,” but asking him to perform some of these riding skills can increase his verbal stims. His instructor, Lizzie, prefers to let the horse do most of the work and walk in patterns at different rates of speed. His mother has noticed that after he comes to PALS, he is calmer for days.

CJ also volunteers two times per week. He is learning how to care for our animals, feeding them and providing them with fresh water. He also grooms PALS horses and tacks them up for riding. CJ grooms horses and walks them around the arena to give them some exercise. The PALS team is ecstatic to have CJ as part of the volunteer family. We look forward to continuing talks with his school counselor, possibly expanding his hours during school!




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