Enjoy the day-to-day adventures of an Occupational Therapist in training!

Posts tagged ‘chores’

How Do You Like Them (Horse) Apples?

Yesterday at DR I found myself saying things that I never thought I would say at an internship site…. even though I have a nontraditional internship 🙂 Yesterday I was saying things like:

  • Scooter (the dog) please don’t eat the horse poop!
  • Poke your belly out!
  • Try not to steer your horse into a tree next time.
  • If you bite me, you’ll regret it (said to a horse, not a rider!)
  • Of course you can have different candy.
  • wow… that’s a lot of poop.

Yesterday, like any other day, was filled with chores that needed to be done before the riders got to the farm. I had to rake up hay that had blown out of the hay building (cue allergens) sweep walk ways, much stalls, and get all of the horses ready for the evening’s lessons. Nothing too difficult, just super messy! I was a hot mess by the time the riders got there! I like that the chores I do aren’t long term tasks that take forever. They are easy to accomplish, in my mind, because there is a clear end and I can actually see how much I still have left to do before I cross that task off of my to-do list. Tasks like that make me feel accomplished when I complete them because I get some serious satisfaction when I cross things off of a list! Also,I can see that what I am doing makes a difference at DR.. there is too much stuff to be done around the farm for them to give me meaningless tasks. It’s kinda funny to think about measuring my time at DR with little things like how fast I can get a horse ready for the lessons. It used to take me forever, and I mean forever, to completely get a horse ready for the night’s lessons (curry combed twice, mane and tail brushed, body brushed with soft brush, feet picked, fly sprayed and gear on); now I have it down to 10 minutes flat! Yup, I’m pretty proud of that 🙂

Last night we had an Easter Egg Hunt on horseback! It was a pretty great lesson and all of the riders seemed to enjoy themselves. They decorated paper bags (makeshift Easter baskets) and hunted for candy-filled eggs along the outside of the ring. I was working with a rider named Mary whose family doesn’t celebrate Easter, so we rode around looking for necklaces rather than Easter eggs-just as fun, right?! In all seriousness, her family believes in Jesus, just not the Easter Bunny. I wonder what her mother would have said had she known that instead of Easter Eggs, her daughter was hunting for Mardi Gras beads… just a thought! Anyway, Mary and I still had a good time searching for necklaces. Mary has been diagnosed with ADHD, anxiety disorder, and a mild cognitive disability. She kept saying that she was going to fall off of Molly. However, she was no where near about to fall of f of the horse, so rather than argue with her or try to convince her otherwise, I just reminded her that if she sat tall and strong that she wouldn’t fall off. I’ve never really worked with kids who have ADHD, so last night’s lesson was a new experience for me! I had to make sure that I was thinking ahead so I could keep her on track in order to search for the desired color of necklace and to make sure that she didn’t steer Molly into a tree.  It was challenging to have to keep her focused on so many things- I can only imagine how difficult it was for her to keep track of what all we had to do while steering Molly! We survived the experience though, and she told me that she was vacationing in Myrtle Beach over spring break which is where I live when I’m not at school, so it was fun to talk about what all she was going to do at the beach!

The last rider that I worked with was Majestic Diamond who was also riding Molly. We certainly got to know each other better after this ride! She disclosed all kinds of information to me (i.e. her unfortunately located itch, what PMS is like for her, and other medical facts!) She is 17 and doesn’t have an older sister to talk to about those kinds of things, so I understood why it would make sense to talk about them with me; after all, she puts a lot trust in me as her side-walker. We got to hunt for Easter Eggs (which was way more fun than hunting for necklaces.. but you didn’t hear that from me)! Majestic Diamond has something called a “shunt” which is a port that helps regulate the pressure inside of her skull by draining excess cerebro-spinal fluid. If she bends below the waist, the flow of cerebro-spinal fluid will reverse and literally flood the inside of her skull. I had to keep that in mind while helping her hunt for eggs- I had to retrieve the one’s that were below waist level for her! Also, Majestic Diamond is legally blind and cannot see anything that is further than 2 feet in front of her.. so that aspect made for an interesting Egg Hunt! I had an excuse to participate, which of course made me even more excited!  I found out that she will be getting her GED this summer which is super awesome! I am so proud that she is deciding to finish high school (early!)

All in all, it was another great night! The family who owns and operates DR is going to the national PATH conference this weekend, and the program’s spring break is next week, so if I’m at the farm, it’ll be to organize the DR building, work on administrative stuff and or bathe the horses!

Hours at barn:

1:30-7:00

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How many interns does it take to change a light bulb?

If you answered “Just one” then you’re absolutely right… just because I’m the only intern at Dream Riders! Today. we had so many volunteers, which is a GREAT problem to have! I suppose that today was a “slow” day for me.  Instead of doing my normal job of side walking, I worked on other tasks like changing a light bulb!

Funny story: the assistant riding instructor, Ms. Corky, calls me Katie… all the time… and for those of you who don’t know, my name is Sami-not Katie. So this evening, Ms. Corky calls me over and says, “Hey Katie, how tall are you?” So I answered 5’10 and then she proceeded to tell me that I’m definitely tall enough to change a light bulb. Kind of an odd way to ask someone for help, but then again, Ms. Corky isn’t the most conventional person I’ve ever met! So I changed a light bulb (while the circuit was still active mind, you… I had to be able to see what I was doing-apparently) Yolo.

I really am loving the “barn mentality.” Essentially, if you can help, you’re going to. It doesn’t really matter what the task is, and it (in my case) is usually something that you’ve never really done before. This calls for one to be independent and a great problem solver! Usually, by the time you can formulate a question, the person telling you what to do is already on to something else so you’ve got to figure it out the best way you can! This isn’t to say that the DR staff (of 2 people) aren’t willing to help, they are just really busy ladies! I feel like barn life is simplistic, in a good way, of course. It’s easy to over think things, but usually, common sense wins out on how one approaches situations at the barn! Using your noggin is a great skill to have out there in the real world, however rare it might be 😉

I also got to play nurse to a 1000 pound patient again tonight. It’s become my routine every Monday and Thursday to look after Lou, the injured therapy horse. He and I have been together since my first day at DR, and I have to say that he’s been wonderfully patient with me while I struggle to pry information about how to properly put on a halter from deep within my brain. He and I have wonderful chats, I do most of the talking, while I brush him down and make him look sparkly clean. Don’t trust a person who doesn’t talk to his/her horse. I’m taking a course about patient provider interactions and while I am soaking his swollen tendon with icy cold water and rubbing ointment on the affected area, I talk to him like I would talk to a patient receiving OT from me. It’s good practice for me, and I don’t think he seems to mind either. That might sound strange… actually, that does sound strange…but think about it, I’m sure I’ll have patients who cannot verbally respond to me, so I’ll have to read their body language and other nonverbal cues that they give me. Obviously Lou can’t talk, he’s pretty awesome, but he’s no Mr. Ed so I have to rely on his body language to tell me when he is irritated or in pain. Also, horses are incredibly good at reading people’s body language; in other words, they feed on and react to people’s body language. When I feel frustrated that I didn’t put the halter on right for the 1846th time, Lou can sense my frustration and in turn, he becomes irritable as well. I’ve learned to become aware of my emotions, and to get them under control so that the horse (or the rider) doesn’t sense that something is wrong. Both skills are going to be useful for me as an OT, I just never thought that I would learn them and practice them on a horse farm. Did I mention that I am so in love with this “job?”

Well, friends, that’s all I’ve got for tonight! As always, thanks for reading 🙂

Hours at barn:

Monday 2/17/14    1:45pm-7pm

Thursday 2/20/14   4:45-7pm