According to Brook's mother, horse therapy has "helped Brook work on his focusing skills. Also he has become responsible for the care of the horses, ie grooming, brushing, cleaning hooves, and learning how to place the saddle. (It has) also given Brook a sense of pride and accomplishment in working with the horses and competing in the Special Olympics. Because of the level of focus required to ride the horses, Brook is very calm and quiet when riding."
I had the opportunity to watch Brook compete, and it was incredible. My son Tyler came with me, and he loved the experience just as much as I did. The Special Olympics are very inspirational. And I was intrigued by the "silent clap." Whenever a new rider was introduced before performing the audience raised their arms silently to cheer. They did this again when the rider was done. I was told they do this so the horses don't get spooked, but I couldn't help but think it was perfect for autistic individuals who are sensitive to sound. (See picture below.)
If all goes well, I'll finish my print of Brook this week or next. Stay tuned. :)
Anyway, I think it's a wonderful program, and I hope Derek will be able to compete some day as well. I'll be silently cheering as loud as I can.