Monday, 18 January 2010

Horse therapy – for me

Excuse for a late-night ramble

It has been a while since Conductive World has had cause to mention anything equine. Yesterday, as happens, two turned up together (within the self-same despatch from Google Alerts).

Participative, action research into the ageing brain

The first of these was nothing to do with horses at all. It referred to some recently published research by Susan Effgen, Professor of Physiotherapy at the University of Kentucky. For some reason the item just seemed to write itself in the way it did. Maybe the mention of Kentucky had thrown some switch, as the only mental association that I have with that state is that it has a Derby (pronounced as spelt). Even more improbable and subliminal association was that the study reported had been, I think, carried out in Hong Kong, where the Jockey Club has been a major player in the development of Conductive Education. I have eaten lunch at the Hong Kong Jockey Club's sumptuous out-of-town clubhouse, and I retain powerful mental associations to do with wealth and influence. Just maybe they fed into it as well.

Be that as it may, for some years I have been telling people that I am doing action research into the functioning of the ageing human brain, with particular interest in how psychological and social assets might be utilised to compensate for neurological effects upon functioning. The way in which the packed shelves of my long-term memory spill over and tumble out on top of me, as soon as I open the cupboard door, is a common experience now. How to utilise this, how to harness it.. Aah, there's the rub!.

To put it differently, in over-simplistic, rhetorical terms, who needs intact short-term memory with so much in the long-term?

To put it differently still, maybe I am just rambling here and I should try to return to the point.

Nachts sind alle Katzen grau!

The second of these was also nothing to do with horses at all. It involved some generous-hearted supporters of Conductive Education, advocating a local centre to be a 'charity of the year':

The nominees wrote –
The Rainbow Centre offers help to children with Cerebral Palsy from all over the South of England. They use the Peto Institute of Bulgaria methods to help mobility, speech and movement. They take children as young as 6 months. This is a worthwhile charity who receive no government funding and are situated in Fareham.

Never mind the Katzen, the Magyars and the Bulgars must seem pretty much the same from the standpoint of most folk outside Central Europe! Over the years I have heard Czechoslovakia credited more than once, and Prague, and I will doubtless hear further such examples. Galling for some though such an error might be, I suppose that for most people the question should now increasingly be whether or not this matters. I have noticed that Americans often side-step mention of specific countries of origin (not just for Conductive Education) by leaving such a specific implicit and just stating 'from Europe'. Given the ambiguous origins of what most people now call by the distinctly unEuropean term of 'Conductive Education, perhaps it is time anyway to adopt that US practice and just say 'European'.

And perhaps the times have already moved on . Why do we need constantly to harp back to origins? What is wrong with where we are. What is to be avoided about where we might be going?

Indeed, why qualify Conductive Education at all in terms of the past? Whatever its future, for good or for ill this future will be a global one. What is wrong with introducing Conductive Education, describing and defining it, simply as it is and how we might like it to be?

So where do the horses come in?

The plea on behalf of the Rainbow Centre was published in the members’ newsletter of the West Hampshire Centre of the Caravan Club, to nominate the Rainbow centre as West Hampshire Centre's charity for the year 2010. Though I doubt that many members nowadays keep horses to draw their caravans, the newsletter is called The Horse's Mouth and carries a lively-looking horse upon its logo:


I don't know how Rainbow fared. It was up against some very stiff competition. If I had been betting on the winner I would have put my money on Help for Heroes. As I should have perhaps made clearer in the previous posting, however, I never bet.

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