His Choice

Adults and children giggle, whisper, point as my teen son happily splashes in the shallow end of the pool. 

At the mall, little children run into him and fall down. Not my son’s fault! But, he gets lambasted by the mothers because he is a big guy who walks away rather than helping the child up. 

He can’t seem to do anything right. 

photo by Robyn Peters

It’s a cruel, judgemental world. 

He tries so hard. No wonder he is so anxious.

Yet at Square Peg, there is peace. The sun shines, trees sway with a gentle breeze.

There is a calmness that envelopes the ranch. Positive energy emanates from everywhere: the people, the animals, the land. 

Connor gets on a horse and he is transformed. No one looks at him except in awe of his posture, his natural seat, his command of the reins. He doesn’t flap his hands, he rarely vocalizes. He is one with the horse. He is in his heaven. He loves to ride. Walk or trot. Trail or arena. He doesn’t care. Fifteen minutes or an hour. He just needs to be on a horse. 

At Square Peg, Connor has no disability. The world isn’t hard.

My son who struggles to pay attention, especially to people speaking, pays rapt attention to his instructor. He does everything in his power to do exactly as she instructs. But, she is not judging. She is not dictating. She gently leads him. Where would he like to go in the ring? His choice. Would he like to trot or walk?

His choice.

She is teaching him to make choices. To be more independent. To let him know his opinion counts. To have confidence in himself. To be successful on his own terms. 

LaDonna Ford – a Square Peg mom

And, he thinks he is there for the horses. 

The Kunze Family has offered up a challenge to raise funds for Square Peg.  Every dollar you donate between now and the end of the year will be matched up to $10,000!  Your support is a lifeline to families like Connor's and to the horses who call Square Peg their sanctuary.  We are so grateful for your support.

Conner’s dad adds:

“I’ll admit I was skeptical when my wife told me that my son, who is afflicted with autism, was going to learn to ride a horse. I’ve witnessed Connor trying to drive small cars at amusement parks. He didn’t have sufficient concentration to keep the vehicle from hitting the track guards. How was he going to command a 1000 lb animal who has a mind of its own? How could he concentrate well enough to steer this animal or even stay in the saddle?

Learning to ride was a process. But, with a kind, gentle instructor and a like-minded horse, Connor has excelled and rides independently. There is no loss of concentration. He seems to connect with horses. The look of joy when he has the horse trotting is priceless. He can successfully steer the horse; something he cannot do with an inanimate car. And, it makes him and his parents proud. “

Conner really is here for the horses – photo by Robyn Peters

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