Wednesday, October 6, 2010

31 for 21: #6 Scoop Poop

This is my funny Elise story for the week...because it is fun and needs to be giggled over.

Elise has hippotherapy every Wednesday. And has since she turned 3. Hippotherapy is therapy that you have on horses.

Elise has had one form or another of therapy every single week since she was a month old. Some for intervention to fix something, some to prevent something...feeding, speech, sensory defensiveness, strength, coordination, fine motor, gross motor, and so on, and so on....therapists have come and gone...but one has been with us for 5 years...Nolina.

Nolina first came with Gus. As a matter of fact, we still call hippotherapy "Going to See Gus"...Gus was a giant horse. He was 18 hands, minimum. This means his shoulder was about as tall as mine...and I am not a little woman...I'm 5'8". If you don't know what "hands" measure, they only measure to the horse's shoulder, then their neck and head are taller yet...He was a giant horse!! And Elise was only 3 and maybe 25-30 lbs...she looked like a tiny doll perched up there! But as afraid as she was of tiny pocket dogs, she loved Gus and would do anything for him...things that therapists had been begging her to do for 3 years! Nolina knew how to milk the Gus aspect, "Oh, Elise, Gus wants you to try...Gus would be so sad if you pitch a fit...Elise! Good job! Gus is SO happy and proud!!"

Gus got old and therapy got to be asking too much and he got sold to some folks that just wanted horses to wander their fields...the perfect job! The reward for carrying squirrly kids for years!

Then we met Ace. Ace totally gets Elise and seems to enjoy her as much as she enjoys him. A mutual admiration club. He is not as big but is still not even close to a pony...and now that Elise is bigger, she gets to curry him out before the pad gets put on him....and lead him to the mounting ramp. She enjoys this more than therapy, even.

Occasionally, Elise will buck and refuse to do the therapy activities. There are usually promises of rewards and of consequences. One consequence that was used on a little girl in the slot before Elise took ONE day to take. She was required to muck out a stall. It has never come to that again. The mere suggestion that her behavior may come to that and she pops to attention. So one day Elise had "A DAY" and Nolina required her to muck a stall and she LOVED IT! She thought it was such fun!!! She mucked out one, and then went to the next, and then the next...soon she was shopping with the wheel barrow all over the barn hunting "Poop" to scoop with the shovel! It became painfully clear that it was not having the same effect as on her friend! SO! Now it is her reward for making better choices! "Elise, if you are good and work hard, you can scoop poop!"

So, on a great day Elise will skip out of hippotherapy trilling that she got "to Scoop Poop!" and grinning with joy!

Elise's American Girl doll, Kit, has a helmet and a horse and she gets therapy too. The thing that cracked me up a few weeks ago, was that I overheard Elise telling Kit to be "good" and she would get to "scoop poop!" It was awesome! :)

Hippotherapy has been a God-send for Elise. She works SO hard for her horse. It has had a miraculous impact on her sensory issues! It has strengthened her physically, and improved her work ethic and attention span. She loves it and I cannot say enough good things!

But who's to say that "scooping poop" hasn't had it's own impact? If you have a barn that needs cleaning, give us a call!!! I know a girl who'd be your best friend forever...


  1. That is great! It did make me giggle out loud so thanks for sharing!

  2. Too cute!


  3. Oh my goodness. Poop scooping would so not be a reward on my list. Will she come over and clean out the kitty box? Kitty likes her poop scooped at least 3 times a day. It is some awesome to hear that her therapy is going well and that you found something that really works for her. POOP or NOT. =)

  4. how funny. my sisters and I grew up on a farm and cleaning the calf barn or the runs at the hog farm, while not typically wonderful, was great fun. It generally meant I got to spend the day with dad and i LOVED to go with dad. Here's to hoping baby Ollie will love the farm and find joy in the animals too (once he gets February) :)

  5. I always liked cleaning the stalls.
    There is something about the relationship between females and horses, of all ages. The nurture and feed our souls. They are therapy for all of us!
    Measuring horses, a "hand" is approximatly 4 inches. So Gus was about 6 feet tall at the shoulder. He was a big boy wasn't he!

  6. I liked cleaning stalls too! Anything to do with horses and I was happy :)

    Fun post! :D I can practically see her enjoyment!

  7. This is so funny! I saw Elise go from total refusal to go to therapy to pulling Mommy to the car when she was told she could "scoop poop"! See--she could already hold a job! Every barn owner needs a "pooper scooper."