Thursday, December 31, 2009

Time Line Progress.

My Timeline

-Topic selection
-Finish research this week. (week of November 16th)
-Have my plan done by the end of November.
-Star volunteering by December 5th 2009.
-Detailed outline done by December 7th 2009 (handed in), starting to write the draft.

-Starting to put my scrapbook together, January 2nd.
-Draft handed into Mr. Geraets just before ski camp, Jan. 6th .

-Changes made after ski camp, Jan. 10th.
-Good copy of the essay &possibly the product finished, Jan. 17th.
-Project Exhibition evening, Jan. 19th.
-Final date for submission of completed project and process journal, Jan. 25th.
-Internal Moderation of project and interviews, February 11-19th 2010.

Orange has been completed,
Blue is still to be done.

Computer Issues& Modifications.

For the past two and a half weeks I have not been able to post any of my progress because the hard drive of my laptop has been corrupt, thanks to a virus.

I have begun writing my write-up and am half way done. I will be finishing my first draft in the first days of the new year. The changes to my draft will be made during the focus days (January 4th - January 5th). I will have many people read through it, to ensure there are no mistakes made.

I have made changes to my intial 'product' idea. I was planning on making a scrapbook of my time at the Hippotherapie Zentrumm, including photos of children and horses. I was not able to attend therapy sessions because of my time limitations and privacy rules. Instead, I am going to follow through with my scrapbook plans, with a few modifications:

- I am going to include phots of the horses I work with at the Hippotherapie Zentrum, with an explaination of their temperments, which contribute to a successful therapy program

- I will have pages explaining different things about therapeutic riding with illustrations where necessary

- There will be a couple pages explaining Hippotherapy, since it's a little different than just basic therapeutic riding

- I'm going to be putting a lot of effort into the presentation of my scrapbook aswell as my write-up, of course

Friday, December 11, 2009

Hippotherapy Zentrum.

I have just got back from volunteering at Hippotherapy Zentrum. I will be volunteering every Saturday morning with two other people.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Detailed Outline.

Today I handed in my detailed Personal project outline to Mr. Geraets.
The comments were that it was good, my essay is focused largely on the Analysis section, and that I could have been a little more specific in parts, which will make it much easier to write the drafts and final copies. I will be starting to write my draft in the next couple days when I have time after school.

I have schedualed a metting with my supervisor, but I can't remember the day. I will be confirming the date and time tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Saturdays at 7:30.

Every saturday starting on December 12th I will be volunteering at the Hippotherapie Zentrum. I will be mucking out and feeding in the mornings, but since the therapy programs start at 8:00, I might be able to see some of the sessions.

Monday, November 30, 2009


The Hippotherapie Zentrum sent me a packet full of information, including the names and phone numbers of the therapists that use the facilities. Tomorrow I am getting someone who can read German to translate the packet for me. Most of the therapists work after noon, so hopefully I will be able to observe some sessions during one of the personal project focus days.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Second Half of the Writing Workshop.

The second half of the Writing Workshop was held today in the Aula. "Goal, AoI, link to the AoI, explain how you intend to fufil the goal, AoI, goal!" [1] We have been told this so many times, that I'm starting to understand that the AoI and goal are a very important part of the personal project. I took many notes over the course of the two writing workshops, and I find them very useful while I plan my outline and draft. The following is a summary of today's workshop:

Intro. 1-2 pages
Criteria A

- Can be broken into pieces, making sub-headers
- I can mention any other AoIs that my project relates to, (C&S) but only in one sentence
- The AoI is the driving force of the project, therefore I need to show an accute understanding of it

Description of the process. 2-3 pages
Criteria C

- Everything from initial ideas & finished product
- Including all aspects, giving reasons, NOT an alalysis
- Steps I took to achieve the goal

Analysis. Main body
Criteria D, E &F

1- The why, inspiration
- How effective was the research, understanding, in realtion to the goal and AoI

2- Analyse the process
- What worked, what didn't
- What was learned
- Which of your choices turned out to be good

3- Analyse the product in terms of the goal
- Did it turn out
- What did you learn
- What changed
- Improvements
- What could you have done differently

4- Chosen AoI
- How was it the focus
- Different aspects, that relate to the AoI
- What did you learn
- What does the project teach about the AoI
- Has your understanding of the AoI changed

Conclusion. 1 page
Criteria F

- Reflecting on the impact, re-writing the goal
- Goal > AoI > Research
*For you
*For others
*For the future: Careers, Extended essay etc..
- Suggest new perspectives
- Suggestion for others

Bibliography. (as needed)
Criteria B

- Includes all sources
- Using Noodle Tools
- Must have plenty of intext references
- Wide range of sources

Appendices. (as needed)
Criteria B

- Anything you feel will help the reader follow the process easier
- Time lines, statement of intent, key pieces of research
- Refer reader to correct appendix: "I made a timeline (See appendix 6)"
- Contains all evidence
- Contains extracts of the process journal

Criteria A includes the introduction, timelines, goal, AoI & aims. It needs to be very clear that all these things for criteria A are understood.

Criteria B includes the bibliography, referencing and appendices. All information and sorting of information needs to accurate and organised for criteria B.

Criteria C is how, what and why. Techniques that were used and justification is key. I need to prove how my choices were thought out, and how they benefited my project.

Criteria D focuses on reflection in the analysis. Personal response to the AoI and how it altered the project.

Criteria E is about the structure of the project. Page numbers, proof reading and how attractive the project looks. Not just handing it in with a paper clip.

Criteria F if mainly in the conclusion. How I thought about the goal, goal reflection and new perspectives.

Criteria G is assesed by the supervisor. It's based on enthusiasm, effort, passion and the monthly meetings held.

[1] Mr. Geraets, Second half of the Writing Workshop. November 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Worth a Queen's Ransom.

Important sections of Worth a Queen's Ransom:

"Hannah was the oldest of the three students riding that afternoon. An exceptionally bright ten-year-old challenged by cerebral palsy, she delighted in Andrea's weekly assignment of creating adventures for the group.
The other two riders in today's class were girls a few years younger than Hannah. Diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders, neither Carney nor Dawn communicated verbally, although Carney was prone to mouth words without making a sound. As a result, and because she was the natural leader of the group, Hannah always led the trio on the trails and was the rider who gave the "walk on" command that our therapeutic riding horses were trained to move forward on. Today, things would be different. [1]

At the sound of Hannah's voice, Carney looked up and smiled. She and Hannah shared a special bond and it was obvious Carney wanted to please her.
'"I'll help you, Carney. Say 'walk on' with me,"' Hannah continued to encourage. Carney's mouth moved, forming the words, and this time instead of silence came a whispered '"waaak on."'
Stronger and more clearly this time, Carney said "walk on," and just like magic, Fred (her horse) moved forward down the trail. [2]

Students like Hannah, who have little or no strength or movement in their legs, rely on the horse's handler to control the pace and side walkers to keep them balanced in the saddle. While the program's goal is for students to achieve as much independence in riding as they are safely capable of doing, Hannah had never trotted before.
TK's (her horse) handler gave the command and he easily moved into a slow trot. Her other side walker and I supported Hannah, keeping her in the center of the horse's broad back as we jogged on each side of him... Before we knew it, we were at the bend and TK's handler slowed him with a '"whoa."' TK came to a smooth halt with Hannah in balance and sitting tall. [3]

Thoughtfully, Carney took the first bill and placed it in Andrea's open hand. Clearly, as if it happened all the time, six-year-old Carney said '"Five."' Everyone remained quiet, not willing to break the spell, as Fred turned his head to look at his tiny rider.
Deliberately, Carney placed the second bill carefully in Andrea's hand, and said '"Ten."' Then the next, '"Fifteen."' And, as she laid the last piece of paper in Andrea's palm, Carney smiled and said, '"Twenty."'
It was over 90 degrees in the shade of those trees, but every person had goose bumps as well as tears in their eyes. Fred broke the spell with another whinny, waiting.
'"Walk on!"' Carney commanded unprompted.
'"Walk on!"' Hannah shouted.
The group moved forward. Quiet and thoughtful during the short walk back to the barn, all of us knew we had just shared an important day in the lives of two little girls. One who trotted her horse for the first time, not once, but twice, and the other who broke through a veil of silence to verbally communicate with confidence and assurance. There was no doubt that I had just witnessed magic. I couldn't wait for next week's adventure." [4]

[1] Passage from "The Ultimate Horse Lover" Page: 29. Marty and Mikkel Becker, Audrey Pavia and Gina Spadafori. 2008
[2] Passage from "The Ultimate Horse Lover" Page: 30. Marty and Mikkel Becker, Audrey Pavia and Gina Spadafori. 2008
[3] Passage from "The Ultimate Horse Lover" Page: 31. Marty and Mikkel Becker, Audrey Pavia and Gina Spadafori. 2008
[4] Passage from "The Ultimate Horse Lover" Page: 34. Marty and Mikkel Becker, Audrey Pavia and Gina Spadafori. 2008


I have just finished getting off the phone with Sonja, the lady who runs Hippotherapie Zentrum. I have arranged to meet her Wednesday after school at 5:00. I will be asking her some questions about the centre and Hippotherapy We will then find a day/days that I will be able to volunteer. Hopefully I will also be able to get some information on the therapists, as the secratary has yet to e-mail and call me back.
photo taken from:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Workshop, Goals & Phone call.

Today, during lesson nine was the first half of the Personal Project Report writing workshop. Here is a summary of what Mr. Geraets talked about:

  • The write up needs to have everything I understand & what I've learned during the project
  • The examiner needs to see that I understand my AoI
  • Do NOT call it a Personal Statement or Write-up
  • The detailed outline is due by December 4th 2009 to my supervisor
  • The outline needs to show where I am going to go with my essay
  • Before I start writing, I need to be sure of the criteria

  • Enquiry: What effect does the research have? What impact?
  • Action: What steps did I take as a result of my research?
  • Reflection: What could I have changed? Be honest about any mistakes made
  • Fully understand Health & Social education

  • Don't use stupid fonts on the title page, table of content, etc...
  • Images used should be relevant to the topic and not violate copyright

  • Always talk about how the AoI relates to the topic/product
  • The introduction should state the goal, and not the process
  • Examiners ask for more emphasis on the goal
  • The introduction is marked on Criteria A and tells the reader weather or not the essay is going to be good

My Goal.

I have thought hard about making a goal for myself. The goal given us today at the workshop was to get a 7 on the project. I have set my goal one point higher, at an 8. I think that I will be able to reach my goal as long as I stick to my timeline and use my time very wisely.

Phone Call.

I called the Hippotherapie Zentrum again today. The seceratary didn't ever send me the list of therapists. I asked them if they could kindly send it as soon as possible. It's very important that I get to observe a couple sessions before the Winter break. What I learn from the therapists and patients are a massive and extremely important aspect of my essay. I think that having a thorough understanding and experience about hippotherapie will set me apart from all the other projects.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Writing Workshop Tomo.

Tomorrow is the writing workshop for personal project. I will be attending it and look forward to picking up some good tips that will improve the quality of my research essay.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hippotherapie Zentrum.

I made a phone call today to the Hippotherapie Zentrum people and spoke to the seceratary. I was so happy when she said she spoke English. The hardest thing for me so far if the language barrier. I don't speak German and it has proved to be a challenge when contacting centres.

She told me that the centre provides horses and arenas for different therapists during the week and that I had to get permission from the therapist and patient/ guardian/ parent before sitting in to observe the session. Tomorrow she is sending me a detailed list of the names of the therapists, times of their sessions and what 'practice' they belong to. I plan on picking some times that are good for me and contacting the therapist to see if I'm able to attend their session. I hope to get three times during a week to watch and learn as much as I can in the given time. Hopefully the therapists speak English or French, that would make my life much easier.

What is hippotherapy?

"Hippotherapy is a physical, occupational or speech-language therapy treatment strategy that utilizes equine movement as part of an integrated intervention program to achieve functional outcomes. It has been practiced in North America for more than 30 years and is practiced in many countries throughout the world." [1]

What hippotherapy does.

"Physically, hippotherapy can improve balance, posture, mobility and function. Hippotherapy may also affect psychological, cognitive, behavioral and communication functions for clients of all ages. Clients who may benefit from hippotherapy can have a variety of diagnoses: examples include Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Developmental Delay, Traumatic Brain Injury, Stroke, Autism and Learning or Language Disabilities. However, hippotherapy is not for every client. Each potential client must be evaluated on an individual basis by specially trained health professionals." [2]


"When certified by the American Hippotherapy Certification Board the therapist is a hippotherapy clinical specialist. " [3]

Requirements to get a Certififation.
(In the United States)

1. Currently licensed or certified to practice as a physical therapist, occupational therapist, or speech and language pathologist in the United States or the equivalent in other countries.

2. At least three years of full time or the equivalent (6,000 hours) experience in the practice of physical therapy, occupational therapy, or speech and language pathology.

3. A minimum of 100 hours of one-on-one direct treatment in clinical practice using hippotherapy within the three years prior to certification application deadline. Please note that
treatment experience that is part of an educational course or mentoring process does not qualify for this eligibility requirement.

4. Experienced and comfortable working with horses. Independent skilled riding ability.

5. Completion and filing of Application for the Hippotherapy Clinical Specialist Certification Examination.

6. Payment of required fees. [1]


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Couple Days Away.

Tomorrow, I leave for Paris, France. I will be gone for four days and will be unable to update my process journal for the time I am away.

"Derived from the word "hippos', the Greek word for horse, the term "hippotherapy" literally means treatment or therapy aided by a horse. The concept of hippotherapy finds its earliest recorded mention in the ancient Greek writings of Hippocrates. However, hippotherapy as a formalized discipline was not developed until the 1960s, when it began to be used in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland as an adjunct to traditional physical therapy."[1]


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Videos, Dates and Information.

December 26th 2009 is now when I plan on starting to write my draft essay. On December 25th we have an essay writing workshop, so I plan to start writing just after.

I did my presentation about my personal project in Life Skills today. I was asked why they used hippos to help the patients. For the millionth time, I explained that 'hippo' is the Greek word for horse. A translation of hippotherapy is literally 'horse therapy' or 'therapy that uses horses.'

Monday, November 16, 2009

Two Touching Videos.

I found both of these videos very touching and useful for my assignment.

Personal Project Meeting.

Health and Social Education is so much "more than simply being healthy by reducing stress and getting more sleep." [1] It encompasses everything that is tied into your mental, social, physical, spiritual and emotional health.

Summary of the Meeting

Some important things my supervisor and I talked about:
  • How long Hippotherapy has been around for.
  • Why hippo? (Hippo is Greek for Horse)
  • Is Therapeutic horseback riding a recognized form of treatment?
  • Does insurance cover the cost?
  • Getting in touch with centres to volunteer at.
  • Having time to make a product for the exhibition in January.

My Timeline

-Finish research this week.

-Have my plan done by the end of November.

-Detailed outline done by December 7th 2009, starting to write the draft.

-Draft handed into Mr. Geraets just before ski camp, January 5th 2010.

-Changes made after ski camp, January 10th 2010.

-Good copy of the essay &possibly the product finished, January 17th 2010.

-Project Exhibition evening, January 19th 2010.

-Final date for submission of completed project and process journal, January 25th 2010.

-Internal Moderation of project and interviews, February 11-19th 2010.

[1] Mr. Geraets, Monday November 16th, 2009. During our meeting.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Monday Meetings.

On Monday I have a meeting with Mr. Geraets, my p.p. supervisor, after school.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Centres to Volunteer At.

Since I arrived in Switzerland, I have been frantically looking for a Therapeutic Centre to volunteer at. It's been a long and very slow process, but in a month I have managed to find three centres in the Basel area:


Sonnenhof Arlesheim:

& Stiftung Hippotherapie Zentrum:

They are all accessible by tram and bus. I have already contacted Sonnenhof and they didn't need volunteers for their program. I will hopefully be meeting the owners of
Stiftung Hippotherapie this week, as I know they speak English. I have not contacted Sonnhalde yet, but will be sending them an e-mail in the next few days.

If none of the centres need a volunteer, then I will simply ask if I will be able to 'sit in on' a few of their therapy sessions. I really hope that I will be able to volunteer!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Life Skills Presentation.

My homeroom tutor told me today in Life Skills that I have to do a presentation about my Personal Project. Since I just started on October 28th, I only have to summarize what I hope to accomplish during my research and completion of the Personal Project.

I've decided to say that my AoI is Health & Social, and that I'm investigating how Therapeutic Horseback Riding and Hippotherapy can help disabled children and adults. During my planning I hope to volunteer at a centre for Hippotherapy, which will hopefully enable me to gather many amazing experiences.

On a completely random note, I've had a lot of questions about what 'hippo' means in the word hippotherapy. Hippos is the Greek word for horse, so a translation of hippotherapy would be horse therapy. It is not hippo-therapy. In essence, it's the exact same thing, but hippotherapy sounds more intellectual.
photo taken from:

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Seach Continues.

Today, I went to IBS's library in search of information regarding my topic. The only thing I found was a small section about horses. In one book called "Animal Helpers" there was a small section about miniature horses & how they are used as guides for the blind. Other than that, there was nothing. I thought our library would have something about different therapies to go along with the endless amount of science, health and well being related sections. The librarian was very helpful though. I wrote down a few key words for her that I would use to find articles and books. She ended up contacting the Basel library. Ironically they had huge range of books about my topic... All were in German.

Sources so far.

-I did manage to find some good information on Really good articles with people's stories in them

-The Ultimate Horse Lover written by Marty& Mikkel Becker, Audrey Pavia & Gina Spadafor has a really good story in it called 'Worth A Queen's Ransom' along with great general information about horses

-On the NARHA website I found some great information about the history of E.A.T.

-On I found a detailed list of the differences/ similarities between Hippo & general therapeutic riding

-A study done by Washington U about Hippotherapy at

-Autistic specific therapy at

-Disabled specific therapy at

Hopefully sometime next week I will be meeting with the owners of Hippotherapie Zentrum. I'm going to ask if I can volunteer with their therapy program as a side walker/ leader or just help around the barn with grooming and turning-out.

photo taken from:

Thursday, November 5, 2009

AoI Write up Work Shop.

Today, I had a Health & Social work shop in room 2.14.

Health and Social Education-
Related to issues involving physical and mental health and relationships with others.

She told us that the one thing she wants us to take out of the work shop was that if we
"Treat our Area of Interaction superficially then we will not do well."

After asking Mr. Geraets what my essay requires, that the original MYP Personal Project doesn't, the goal of my essay was more clear. Here is what I have written down;

Essay is About:

-Reflecting on the environment that is created,
*which leads to the therapeutic atmosphere*

In the introduction, I need to Reflect on:

-Myself and others
-Understanding myself and others
Self esteem, growing up
-Looking after myself and others
Disease prevention, control
-Myself and wider society
Ethics, behaviour
-Looking at myself and others
-Understanding myself and others
Needs & wants, self control

Some of these points will be mentioned in my introduction as well as my AoI

Getting to the point.

Since I have a limit of 2500 words, I need to get to the point of my essay in the introduction. I will launch right into my essay by explaining my AoI and how Therapeutic riding can help disabled children and adults.
Some good questions to answer in the beginning:

-What environment is needed?
-Training/ Certification of instructors, horses and volunteers
-A short history of Hippotherapy & Therapeutic riding


I have also decided to include a mini-product if time permits...
It will be a scrap book that shows the horses used, children who participate, instructors, then environment created and anything else that is needed/ used to create the Therapeutic atmosphere. The scrap book will show the important aspects of a Hippotherapy centre and the people and equines that make it happen.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Up Until Now.

I started working on my Personal Project Essay on October 28th 2009.

My topic is to explore Health & Social Education through investigating how therapeutic horseback riding can benefit disabled children and adults. My supervisor is Mr. Geraets.

This is what I have written out/ Brainstormed so far;

What do I know already?

-Therapeutic riding is used all over the world
-Hippotherapy was developed in Germany & Switzerland
-Therapeutic riding helps kids & adults with mental, physical and emotional disabilities
-Special horses are selected for their temperament and personality
-Warm-bloods are normally better for the therapeutic role
-The gait of a horse is similar to the motion of walking
-Hippotherapy focuses on teaching children with primarily autism how to establish relationships & communicate in a respectful way. ie. keeping comfortable distance & giving the horse his space

My Plan.

-Get in touch with a therapeutic riding center
-Find out about volunteering opportunities
-Look for books in the library about my topic
-Goal to start writing the rough essay by November 12th 2009
-Make a mini-product (Scrap book)


-Search the different methods of using the horse (E.A.T)
-History of Hippotherapy & Therapeutic riding etc....
-Paralympic Team stories
-List of International Therapeutic Associations (North American...)
-Stories in the Ultimate Horse Lover & Chicken Soup Books
-Volunteer at a Center to gain experiences and knowledge.

Goals for my Assignment.

-Finish all research by November 10th 2009
-Start the essay by November 12th 2009
-Meet with my supervisor at least once a month
-Have everything handed in by January 20th 2010
-Final mark of 7, or higher
-Learn about Hippotherapy & how it works
-Gain many experiences through volunteering

Keywords and Critical Questions.

-Equine Assisted Therapy (E.A.T.)

-Where were horses first used as tools for physio?
-Who first came up with the idea?
-What makes this kind of therapy so great?
-When was this therapy developed?
-How, on a physical, emotional and mental level does this kind of therapy help the patient?