Hi my name is Joe and I have just turned seventeen. The day after I was born I got sick, eventually getting sicker so Mum took me to the doctor. As soon as the doctor walked in the room he took the shortest look at me and told Mum to take me straight to the emergency room, so she did. I was there for a while getting sicker again.
Eventually the doctors said that there was nothing they could do for me there and they arranged an emergency transfer. I was blue lighted to London from Redhill then was put on a machine for life support so in that way the doctors got to keep me breathing.
In that time I lost a lot of oxygen to my brain and that has given me extreme learning difficulties. It also gave me autism - PDD-NOS (Pervasive Development Disorder- Not Otherwise Specified) - which basically in doctor terms means ”its lunch I don’t have time for this” . . . That’s where horses and Soo come in to the story.
I have always found that even when people and schools don’t have time for you or can’t be bothered because there are a thousand other students to look after, Soo and the horses always have time to talk, always. They are usually so patient and don’t care how well you can read or spell (as you can properly tell from this letter) or remember things, which is one thing that I struggle like crazy with, my memory.
I get quite lonely, so actually the horses help me because they are always there for a chat. I find them comforting when I’m worrying, which is a lot because, lucky me, I have extreme anxiety too, yay! But I find that being with horses helps me have a fun time with all these things and even though there’s the occasional time where I look back and think why did this happen to me, I then change my mind and think to myself that maybe if it didn’t, I wouldn’t have this opportunity to spend time with Soo and the horses, or maybe I wouldn’t have an oportunity to show others how much and well horses can help people with not only disabilities as such, but more struggles in life whether you are in fact autistic like myself or maybe you’re depressed, have extreme anxiety or if you just don’t feel you belong In this world, which I have thought an unbelievable amount of times, horses can help you cope with all the different troubles in life.
I decided I wanted to stop home schooling early if I could get into TAFE. The horses gave me the confidence to try. And I did get in! I was scared, anxious and worried but excited too about going to TAFE where I have been the past semester. Well, TAFE was fantastic! I met some amazing people there and made some great friends and learnt so much about the amazing creatures we all love, horses.
The TAFE course I studied was called Horse Industry Practise CERT 2. It was so detailed and the teachers where fantastic, but every day there were struggles that were very difficult to overcome from having to be at different places and different times, which for someone who can’t read a clock to save his life, was impossible, but I learnt different ways of coping like setting an alarm on my phone for when to go back to class and for where to meet if at a different place, but this all comes back to horses and how they can help you find different ways of coping with different things in your life, like they did in mine.
Spending time with the horses has given me a lot of confidence for the future and I know that it can do the same for others whether they want to work with horses in the future or whether they have other fantastic dreams. I wish who ever reads this story all the best and remind them not to give up on horses as they will never give up in you. I hope this story helps parents with children on the autistic spectrum gain hope and that any one how has some level of autism to believe in them selves and there horses. Also never believe that you/they are any worse than anyone else. Because the horses and Soo don’t.
I can personally tell you that the horses and Soo can help you with all sorts of different challenges through out your life.