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March 19, 2009

This summer, starting in early June, my husband and I are moving to Houston for three months. His employer will pay for a modest apartment and our utilities and our moving expenses, so we get to keep our place in San Antonio for when we return.

This upheaval, while inconvenient, is actually a great idea. I’m excited about the change of scenery, and I’m hoping that the temporary displacement will fuel my writing career. If not, I’ll spend my days staring at the wall and cursing the humidity.

Yesterday afternoon, I was surfing the web, procrastinating as usual, and I decided I would look for a couple places to volunteer while we’re in Houston. Since I’m not technically working, I enjoy participating in fundraisers around here, picking up trash, serving at soup kitchens, you get the idea.

What I discovered, however, goes beyond my wildest dreams. Apparently, one of the most recognized and successful therapeutic riding programs in the United States, called SIRE, is located in Houston, and they are looking for summer volunteers.

I don’t know if you are familiar with therapeutic riding, but if not, I’ll give you a run-down.

Essentially, therapeutic riding is an opportunity for physically and mentally handicapped individuals to get active. Special saddles are used to facilitate communication with the horse, and studies have shown that the movement actually stimulates muscles in the physically handicapped.

Therapeutic riding has also been used successfully to work with at-risk youth and children with behavioral and conduct disorders. It creates a bond between child and horse that sometimes leads to a breathrough.

Anyway, I called the program coordinator and I’m taking my training as soon as we move. Then I’ll spend the summer volunteering three or four days a week.

This is a monumental opportunity for me. I used to teach horseback riding lessons and train horses, but injuries prevented me from continuing down that career path. I miss the work terribly, however, and this will give me a chance to reconnect.

These kids are total rockstars, overcoming debilitating obstacles to enjoy the sport they love. The horses are rockstars too, as it takes an exceptional animal to be sufficiently calm and quiet to take care of his rider.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 19, 2009 9:44 am

    What a wonderful opportunity for you, despite having to move to Houston. I’ve heard of this, but have never been involved. When you love horses, any excuse to be around them is a good one 🙂

  2. March 21, 2009 4:25 pm

    This sounds brilliant on multiple counts!

    Just the change of scene would be interesting (and agree it could be great for your writing, not that you need help with it). Just enjoying a different city, especially with employer funding, sounds like fun. I’ve only been to Houston once on a business trip, but everything was air-conditioned … guess it might be really hot outside with the horses but you’re already in Texas 🙂

    Your having found that SIRE program sounds like it’s meant to be. I know nothing of horses but your enthusiasm shines through and I wish you all the best for a fabulous experience.

    Meanwhile you are doing so many worthy projects with your ‘free’ time. I wrote about my ‘technically not working’ (love that phrase!) experience (so far) in ‘Writing? You Need a Job’


  3. Sam Tamlyn permalink*
    March 21, 2009 7:55 pm

    Thanks for your support Carolyn, and for the link. I’m really getting excited about this, and I’ll definitely blog about the move. It’s no Paris, though. 🙂

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