Over the last six weeks we've been delivering a virtual pilot program in collaboration with Pony Bird, a full-care group home. The program participants are non-ambulatory and have severe cognitive and or physical disabilities. This program provides opportunity for communication, self-discovery, and revitalization of the mind and body to increase quality of life and transfer skills that may be useful in activities of daily life.
Over the course of this program, participants have had virtual experiences of bathing a horse and hoof care. The program incorporates as many sensory components as possible to provide interactive and motivational opportunities for engagement and positive quality of life outcomes. Program staff at Ride On St. Louis craft and deliver unique sensory items prior to the session. Participants have enjoyed the sensory benefits from exploring bubbles, sponges, soft files, water, grooming brushes and their own pair of clip-clop socks--socks with thin wood blocks attached, that are worn on the hands or feet to mimic the sound of hooves on pavement. We've been having so much fun delivering this program! Nicole Kyle, who is the Program Manager for Pony Bird, says “The individuals are not able to go out into the community like they did before. These virtual sessions with Ride On St. Louis give the experience of being out in the community while at home, keeping their health and safety a priority.”
The pilot and programming is funded through Ride On St. Louis's fundraising and grant writing efforts as well as individual donations and monthly support from our Crusader's Circle members. Thanks to this support, we are able to deliver the program at no cost to the program participants or to Pony Bird. If you are interested in becoming a monthly supporter, please visit this link to find out more at our Crusader's Circle.