So it’s ‘officially’ been a year since we incorporated as a CIC and started this amazing adventure so I thought I would reflect on a year of working with horses in an equine assisted therapy and equine assisted learning role. Now having a four legged and two legged team I have learnt so much but actually it’s the horses that have taught me the most.
You are always learning
It’s not one size fits all. Every horse that has come to be part of our team, from the 32inch Shetland to the 16.2 thoroughbred is different and each needs to be treated uniquely. This is just the same as people and clients; there is no one size fits all. As a result each horse that has increased our team has taught me lessons about myself, helped me to develop further and has also shown me LOTS about the people around me. We need to have a growth mind-set in life no matter how much we ‘know’ our job as having a fixed ( I know it all mind-set) generally gets us nowhere. Gain as much knowledge from as many different sources as possible. You are always learning, nobody knows it all.
There’s nothing like having a 16hh thoroughbred, ex race horse running round a pen at liberty with a paying customer who has never been around horses before to show you how much you do or don’t trust your business partners. Now that’s a scary prospect. Worryingly I probably trust most of my horses lose in that ring more than some previous colleagues I have worked with! It’s not about training (okay so yes they are trained to be safe) but I don’t drill out their character otherwise what would be the purpose of the therapy sessions if they react the same to everyone? Instead of spending time developing training plans, business plans and redoing exercises again and again, it’s better to develop trust and let the rest happen. Read between the lines that can be a valuable life lesson. Spend time developing trust with people and let the rest take care of itself.
Ask for help when you need it
Okay so as humans we rarely ask for help, yet with horses they are pretty expressive when they are confused or want something. Why as people do we see it as a weakness to ask for help? Within this last year I have gotten over this fear and asking for help from people that know more than me and who I can learn from has been invaluable. If something feels uncomfortable, instead of acting like a human, act more like a horse find an option or ask for help!
Live for the moment
Horses by their nature live in the moment. They don’t worry about tomorrow or stress about the past they are here and now. Have very few things to think of in the day (keeping safe, eating, sleeping, pooing- and well not much more) we can take so many lessons from this. When we slow things down, live for now, enjoy the moment and get rid of those endless list of jobs and to do’s and work this, work that, and so and so this and so and so that, well just try it and see how much more calm you feel.
Have faith in yourself and be the herd leader
Horses always have faith in themselves or their herd leader. They trust their leader with their life as it’s easier for them to just follow. The leader keeps them safe, offers opportunity for food, for interaction and trust. In life believe in yourself first, you can’t rely on others to believe in you if you don’t love and believe in yourself. Why stand for second best, or be a copycat? Why not be the herd leader and do things your way? Enjoy it, have faith in your way and wait for all those others to follow.
Basically get out of the human rat race and start to enjoy some horse time!