A look into Big Maple Farms Natural Therapy and Animanl Science sub-group

Photo by Larry SimonPhoto by Larry SimonPhoto by Larry Simon
Larry Simon
Staff Writer

While visiting with the McMinn family, the Record was invited to view, and, with permission, interview the Big Maple Farm’s Natural Therapies group. The group is a separate entity from the farm, providing therapy to the handicapped and, with the sub-group through 4-H called Animal Sciences, instruction to area youth in the care and understanding of farm animals.
Young George Lindquist, under the watchful eyes of his father, George, younger brother Keelan, the aid of group director Amanda, coordinator Astasia, instructor Tia, and cooperation of a 23-year-old horse named Zip, was about to receive his therapy. The elder Mr. Lindquist says that when little George was born, he suffered a convulsion resulting in cerebral palsy.
Cerebral palsy may seem like, but is not, a muscle condition. It is due to a damaged part of the brain, the brain’s inability to control those muscles. The condition is not curable, but the effects can be lessened with the therapeutic use of the muscles.
The rocking motion of horseback riding stimulates the legs, hips, back and the brains sense of balance. The elder Lindquist informs us that the younger, at age three, just recently began walking and, with the necessity of giving the horse both verbal and physical instructions, is learning speech, arm, and hand control.
In addition to the horseback riding, the group has games they play, one of which is called "Around the World." In this game, the young Lindquist had to take the horse for a lap around the corral, and then stop the horse next to a child’s basketball hoop. He was handed a softball-sized rubber ball and had to throw a basket before he could take the horse for another lap.
His enthusiasm for the game was both visible and audible while he attempted taking the ball with his bad hand (righty as his dad called it), passing it to his good hand, and, a couple of times, threw two baskets.

The full article can be found in the printed publication or E-Edition of the Ridgway Record, Sept. 20, 2018.