Visually impared kids get up close with the horses of Cavalia

8 year old Max Kretzschmar is a playful boy that enjoys riding his scooter and doing what kids his age like to do. A brain tumor near his eyes however has damaged his optic nerves leaving him with no sight in his left eye and poor vision in the right.

Sarah Smale is a cute, sweet and quiet 11 year old that loves horses and would love to have one of her own. Unfortunately for Sarah her eyes never had a chance to develop before she was born, leaving her with no sight in her left eye and glaucoma in her right.

Max and Sarah were two of a handful of blind and visually impaired kids to visit and experience the touch and feel of a lifetime. Thanks to the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library, the children visited the cast, crew members and the four legged stars of the show of Odysseo by Cavalia. The acrobatic thrill rides and colorful movements of talented riders and horses run until the end of March on the grounds of Marymoor Park in Redmond.

For these kids the chance to be up close and personal with the horses, saddle equipment along with hand feeding the beautiful horses is an experience that outweighs sitting in the audience and just listening to the show. Max is quick to comment on how big a horse's head is, how their coat is as soft as a blanket and how a horse's belly is as big as his bed. Sarah's hands sweep in unison softly and gently across the neck of a horse, quietly speaking of how soft and beautiful it is. It seems she and the horse is a team communicating through touch and feel.

Claudime Lemieux is a member of the Odysseo cast helping the children. She has them touch the cool texture of grain and feed the horses carrots and apples by hand. She says the horses are really sensitive about their skin and respond well with the touch and feel of the children's hands.

This is a story that proves with the loss of one sense the others are enhanced, making for a memorable day for all involved.