We would like to welcome today’s guest…..
The final fall season for riders at Horses for Healing begins this week. Horses for Healing is a therapeutic riding program that serves children with a variety of disabilities. The children I am assigned to work with, the deaf and hard-of-hearing kids, will be coming, excited to ride climb aboard a horse and ride. In our area, local schools participate by busing children with special needs once a week to the barn where they buckle on helmets and have a riding lesson in the indoor arena. After their lesson they will learn more horses and their care in a small classroom, then finish the morning with a snack.
Although I have taught children with hearing loss in various schools, teaching them about horses at the barn is especially interesting for all of us. There are no tests, no right or wrong answers, just sheer fun and recreation with their classmates and the band of horses waiting to patiently walk or trot around the arena.
Children like the ones I am eager to see were the inspiration for RICKI, my book about a deaf girl who loves horses. In the book I incorporated experiences I had teaching the kids in the classroom and leading them around the riding ring as they learned to ride on gentle horses. As a lifelong horsewoman, volunteering at the barn is a perfect fit for me. Most of the children have never seen a horse up close, so occasionally their first time in the saddle can be a bit scary. But most put their foot in the stirrup eagerly and all kids finish their first lesson free from fear, with big smiles. That is the reward of being at the barn – those happy faces looking down at me from “their” horse.
The signing skills I acquired after my hearing loss helps me to communicate with the children as I share my knowledge of horses. The kids seem to enjoy being with an adult they can relate to since most adults in their world are hearing. I’ll meet a new class of youngsters since the group changes from year to year with some kids moving away and new children coming to school each new term. Their teacher told me last week I’ll love this bunch, but I already knew that. Each child captures a special place in my heart, and often we go on to make lasting friendships.
After writing RICKI, I received many messages on Facebook from former students who saw my page or were sent there by a friend who recognized my name. They are young adults now and it has been great fun to read about their lives. I’ve gotten their addresses and sent them copies of the book so they can enjoy the story and also see that it was written for them, with my thanks.
The young readers enjoying RICKI are mostly hearing. The letters and emails I have received indicate that horse lovers, whether youngsters or adults, are learning a bit about sign language, deaf culture, and what it means to be a deaf child while they enjoy a tale about horses and the great fun one can have riding.
Lou Honderich is a former teacher and life-long horsewoman. During her teaching career she taught Kindergarten, first grade and elementary PE. Her hearing loss as an adult led her to the deaf community, sign language, and a new direction in teaching. She
began to work with deaf and hard-of-hearing students in self-contained classrooms, mainstream situations, in summer camps and therapeutic horseback riding programs.
The author and her husband live on a small farm in northwest Arkansas with their horses, dogs, cats and chickens. They have five children and seven grandchildren. Lou Honderich continues to enjoy riding as well as writing, and is currently at work on her next book. www.louhonderich.com
- Paperback: 170 pages
- Publisher: Mockingbird Lane Press (January 28, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0985690666
- ISBN-13: 978-0985690663
Ricki, a ten-year-old deaf girl living in Oklahoma, is crazy about horses. Her dream is to win first place in a horse show. At her grandparents’ farm she works toward that goal, riding their Quarter Horse, Frosty. Then an unexpected event rocks her family’s comfortable life, bringing new challenges for everyone. Discover the fascinating world of deaf culture and sign language. Cheer for this spirited, determined girl on her quest for a blue ribbon.
Purchase the Book ~ Ricki
By Lou Honderich
Mockingbird Lane Press
Ricki is available in paperback online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
It is also available as an eBook on
Kindle and Nook.
Thank you everyone for stopping by today and spending time with our guest, Lou Honderich. Please help spread the word!!
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