Maya came to us a little over 4 years old, needing a special place where she could experience life at her own pace - without being overwhelmed.
Maya fits what is now called the "HSC Profile" (see our Resources page for the latest best-selling book explaining this Profile). These children are so extraordinarily sensitive that it is difficult for them to process the amount of new stimuli they receive from new places, people and activities. As a result they are overwhelmed, they retreat, and they shut down. Starting something new can cause significant anxiety.
Maya has an affinity for animals, and her family was looking for an environment in which she could thrive, gain confidence and eventually become prepared to start school.
On Maya's first visit to our ranch, she was very quiet. Our setting is peaceful and serene, so there was nothing that could overwhelm her. She took in everything she could absorb as we gave her and Mom a tour of the ranch.
On the 2nd visit, Maya was verbal, and soon after that, she thought she was the boss on every visit and spent a lot of energy trying to order everyone else around!
We set some limits over time, which she respected, but mostly we just had fun and discovered many mini-adventures. Sometimes she spent time with the baby ducks we raised in the barn until they were old enough to be turned out into the pond. Sometimes she spent time with the horses, and many times she spent time with Belle - on the ground or riding.
At one point, Maya fell off the miniature horse - she lost her balance when Belle began trotting too fast. This surprised Maya, and we discussed what had happened after the fact. She wanted to blame the handler, however, it was explained to her that the rider holds the reins and therefore can slow down and/or stop her horse as needed. After that incident, we practiced starting, trotting, stopping, and/or slowing down, just to make sure she had the basics comfortably down pat!
Maya has come to know our horses as her family away from home - where each and every horse is her special friend!
Maya went off to Summer Camp this year, without the usual trepidation and anxiety she normally felt facing a new experience. In fact, she didn't have one bad day at Summer Camp!
She will be starting school in the Fall, and we are standing by, ready to support her in this next new adventure.