this moment

Sahe clean tack

Joining Amanda Soule at “Soulemama” in the tradition of “this moment”:

{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment.

 

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the other side of fear

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear”    –unknown

Romance

I was teaching a “saddle club” group lesson the other day with my teaching partner, a lovely lady who is passionate about teaching “riding lessons”. She does not, however, have the background I have in working with children, children with special needs and in the counseling/social work field. She has a 1:1 student-we’ll call her Jane-who also participates in our weekly girl’s group “Saddle Club” riding and education class. My partner has expressed to me frustration in teaching Jane. You see Jane is ten years old, but presents as somewhat slow, unfocused and doesn’t seem to progress in riding skills. During the group lesson, Jane was having difficulty and really holding up the class. She was on a new horse, and could not even get the horse to MOVE. My partner expressed quietly to me that she was increasingly frustrated with Jane and simply losing patience…she expressed that she doesn’t know how to “get through to this girl”. I suggested that we split the group and one of us could take Jane individually so the others would be allowed to continue on with the group lesson. I told my partner that if she wanted I would be willing to work one-on-one with Jane today. She said “yes, please!”. I took Jane to the far end of the arena and started working with her. After some time I picked up on some patterns she was displaying. And I picked up on some tension in her body. I picked up on her fear. I asked her about it and she expressed that she was terrified. So we broke it down, took it literally ONE step at a time. I did some focus excersices with her that I do with my riders who have special needs and/or fear trauma issues. I find it really brings them into the moment, gives them a focus and reduces the anxiety build up. Jane then began to relax and by the end of our time together she was circling her horse around a barrel and back to me, over and over. Thus-as I pointed out to her-showing her that she has control and knows what to do, even beyond her fear. With intention, her horse will respond. It was an amazing 20 minutes. Later, my partner expressed to me that she wishes she had my patience. And that she feels like the parents are “wasting their money” on lessons. I responded back that, perhaps she was looking at this wrong. No, it’s not a “waste”. My partner is focused on “riding lessons”. She wants to see Jane progress in her RIDING. Sometimes, I told her, when I have a child like Jane who has some special needs (in this case, fear), I realign my intention-this is where I firmly believe that riding is therapy. Ok, I do have my “regular” riding lessons. And, yes, I enjoy seeing my girls win their ribbons at shows. My passion, though, is with the deeper stuff. What Jane can do and learn through horseback riding is priceless and worth far more than those ribbons. She is an extremely timid, shy, insecure girl. I suspect, but don’t know (and won’t address because she isn’t my student) that there may be some disability (alter-ability) such as mild Autism or something developmental. Jane is gaining so much more from this experience than my girls who bring home the ribbons are. I promise you that. Strength, focus, confidence, assertiveness, perserverence…. Just getting up on a horse for her is more brave and amazing than you can imagine. AND this is a form of therapy that she LOVES to go to and participate in. Do you know how many kids tell me they hate going to therapy??? So boring! And, all while they sit on the back of a horse in my therapy (office) arena. It really is a beautiful thing.

Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyways”….John Wayne

horse sense

MOnty pic

Well, well it has been quite the exciting time around here the past couple of weeks. Last weekend was a Saturday Hippotherapy clinic. Sunday was a Centered Riding Clinic. And then, this past weekend was a Monty Roberts demonstration which we attended with VIP tickets. Mind you, I have traveled to California “Flag is Up Farms” for clinics and expected to meet Mr. Roberts, but, alas-no he was out of the country. So to finally see him in person and talk with him (per the VIP splurge) was excellent to say the least. What I really like about him, specifically, is how he relates working with horses to life in general, to working with people. His book “Horse Sense for People” really is the greatest book I have ever read. He projects the skills used in horse communication to parenting, work relationships, career, life, everything. Trust, respect and communication being the basis for all things. He promotes non-violence in all ways (including our words). Also, he is 80 years old and still touring, teaching, training and riding. What an inspiration.

MOnty pic 2

The funny thing is that in all my horsey years I really didn’t know too much about Monty Roberts. Not long ago, an old college friend of mine who was visiting mentioned watching some Monty Roberts videos in his master’s program for teaching. He explained how it was used to open a discussion about how teachers teach and treat children. For some reason, that really fascinated me. And, from there, I started reading his books. Then, of course, my daughter fell in love with Shy Boy. We watched the documentary, read the children’s version of the book together and met Mr. Shy Boy when we visited the farm. I’m not one to be “star struck”, but I will say if I’m going to be–it’s gotta be Monty. Did I mention, that I (out of all the hundreds there this weekend) won the raffle for some free equipment AND got a hug from the Horse Whisperer. Ok, anyways. It’s been a good couple of weeks of learning and re-energizing. For all we know, we always continue to learn. Any (horse) person who treats others as if they know it all, is only kidding themselves and limiting their own possibilities. We are a community of people and we can learn from each other, we can respect each other, and we can always pick and choose what we want to use and/or believe. To accept from another and be open to new things is not to limit ourselves.

this moment

tractor and hay

Joining Amanda Soule at “Soulemama” in the tradition of “this moment”:

{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment.

Horses don’t lie and other life truths

Join up

 

So, I’m reading this book, “Horses Don’t Lie:  What Horses Teach us About our Natural Capacity for Awareness, Confidence, Courage and Trust” by Chris Irwin with Bob Weber. Bear with me while I quote a passage from the book. You see things are on my mind and, isn’t it just the syncronicity of life, that always has us reading just the perfect book, or hear just the perfect words, or stumble across just the perfect thing at the perfect time? Well I am reading just the perfect book right now.

“Horses don’t lie-they always tell the tuth with their bodies. There is no separation between what a horse thinks and what it’s body says. People, on the other hand, bluff and pretend and hide”.

“In other sports, if you’re not having your best day, it doesn’t bother your equipment. Your golf clubs don’t care if you slice and your surfboard doesn’t care if you fall off. Horses, however, care intensely. Remember, they are counting on us to provide clearly consistent leadership-we are the ones who are supposed to know what we’re doing…So an equestrian must possess more than physical skill. The rider’s mind must remain constantly focused on the moment-to-moment application of pressure and weight…constantly aware of the surrounding environment, looking for distractions. The rider’s spirit must calmly and confidently project straightforwardness into the horse. We ourselves must possess these skills of the body, mind and spirit so that we can impart to our horses the attributes of impulsion, balance, flexion, focus, awareness, trust, calm, confidence and willingness. I know. This is a tall order“. Mr. Irwin continues to express how we must be (in my words) our own authentic self, true to ourselves and just keep on trying….

“I’ll get better, but right now this is where I’m at and my intentions are honorable”.

Once again, I find a “horse” lesson is one of the best “people” lessons there is.

Deep Well Ranch2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile, back at the barn, there are some possible changes on the horizon; there are definitely many things to think over here in my little land. They are not things I intend to directly address here just yet. At this stage, they are ponderings and possibilities on the horizon. I will think them over, sit with them, feel them, attempt to use the attributes discussed above to know what the best is and to know that whatever may come, “my intentions are [always] honorable”. And if I stray from those intentions, I’m certain my (embarrassing) horse will let me know.

Personal growth doesn’t come from avoiding risk, challenge and stress. We must make peace with it.

well worn boots

 

“You don’t always need a plan. Sometimes you just need to breath, trust, let go and see what happens”

Mandy Hale

one year, down

home sweet

One year.

A few days ago marks our one year anniversary living here in the barn. What a (literal) ride it has been!

A few things I’ve learned so far along this ride:

Today 2

Hold on, but not too hard –trust me, your horse will just run faster

Know how to ride –and know how to take a fall

Crying is okay –as long as you wait until you and your horse (child, boss, etc…) are safe and no one is watching 🙂

Be wise enough to walk away from any nonsense around you  –running allowed

Focus on the positives –and soon the negatives are harder to see

Don’t take things too personally, even if it seems they are. Rarely do people do things because of you-they do things because of THEM –unless we’re talking horses and then that’s void, they are definetly doing it because of you!

Never mistake kindness for weakness –humans and horses. Believe me, a horse is powerful enough to hurt you but generally chooses not to

Do not come from a place of anger  –a moment of breathing can change everything

There is a HUGE difference between aggressive and ASSERTIVE  –again, breathe and stand in your confidence

Remember who you are at all times –see above

“Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear, or a fool from any direction” –old cowboy saying

Always jump on for the ride, never say no to an adventure, live passionately –and learn all you can while the ride lasts

Watch out for barbed wire

And don’t forget to enjoy the scenery

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