Written by What Do You Know
We are able to see healing on so many different levels with the horses that come into our program. We see healing not only with flesh but with the minds of our horses.
Many of the horses that join us have not been dealt the best hand in life. Many of them have been starved, abused, neglected, and have ended up in the wrong hands. When they join us human interaction can be one of the scariest things to them and this is when the healing process starts. As soon as they step off the trailer they are given endless love, food, water, and medical attention. Each horse has very different needs that we cater to whether it be special supplements or specific paddock arrangements. Along with that they also have very different brains and need to be approached and worked with in a completely different way.
With the horses that are terrified of human interaction they are approached in a way that makes them comfortable. Some horses only like to be caught on the left side, some you need to show them your hands, some you need to rub their shoulder before clipping the lead onto them, and some need to come to you. We do not know how a horse will want to be approached but we spend endless hours with them to see how they are most comfortable.
The healing we see with their minds is not always evident and it is not always right away. With some horses it may take weeks and even months before you see them start to heal and others you may see it on a daily basis. Sometimes you may realize they healed in the moment and other times you can be laying down to go to bed thinking about your day and realize that that horse made progress without you realizing. It’s the simplest things such as being able to walk past their stall and not have them cower at the back of the stall or being able to simply talk around them without having to whisper. Sometimes you don’t even notice all of the obstacles they have overcome until they are getting on the trailer to leave for their new home.
Being able to see the horses that jumped stall walls when they first come to get away from humans, or ones you can’t make any noises or sudden movements around, to how they are after they have learned to accept compassion, love, and learned to trust us is amazing and is healing in a whole different way for us humans. To see these horses come running to you in the field, nicker when you walk in the barn, ask for attention, and just love to be in the presence of their human is the reason we do what we do. We do not do this for the publicity, fame, money, or praise, we do it for the horses that so badly need us and sometimes you don’t even know but we need them just as much as they need us. We do it not only to help these beautiful animals but to also help us heal and overcome certain aspects in our own lives.
Working with these horses for so many hours we get to know them quite well and we grow very strong bonds with them that allow them to trust us. This bond is evident when they are learning new things that are supposed to be scary for example, tarps and the foot baths, when they start looking to us for reassurance. One of the hardest parts of what we do is trying to find a horse’s perfect match in a human when adopting them. The connection is not always instant with everyone but when the connection comes it is something that cannot be broken.
One of the most amazing connections we have seen is with a very special pony named Bullseye. Bullseye came to us a 7 year old unhandled stud with a flight reaction to almost everything. In the beginning his future was unknown. We spoke with our vets about him on numerous occasions, who thought it may be the best option to lay him to rest. But we didn’t want to give up on him. We couldn’t get anywhere close to him for the first few weeks. We spent hours just getting him used to us being close to him and when we felt he was ready we started working on accepting being touched and working with his feet. Within a few weeks he accepted being touched and having his hooves being picked up and he was able to have his first hoof trim.
With his issues we accepted that he was going to be with us forever and we were okay with this as we loved him and he fit in so well with our horses and our routine. Over his months with us he had a ton of interest in him as he is very cute and well put together but no one seemed to be a good fit for him. Until one day someone came along who was looking for a pony exactly like him. We knew the minute his new mom met him that they already had a connection. She was able to walk into the paddock and catch him without a hitch and she was able to work with him in the barn. He was more relaxed with her than he was with us. We knew from that moment that they were meant to be and he is now flourishing in his new home.
Working with these horses who have so many different issues and seeing them heal in their own ways, has brought us to notice our own issues and how we have experienced healing through these horses. Like many people do we both suffer from anxiety and through working with these horses we have been able to overcome some of our own triggers and have learned how to better cope with mental illness. Suffering from panic attacks used to scare me (Rebecca) and I had no idea how to deal with episodes. On bad days I would just spend hours sitting in the field with the horses and just having their presence around me would be able to calm me down out of a panic attack.
Over the years I have learned how to take myself to that same field in my mind and have the horses surrounding me when I feel an attack coming on and it has saved me from a panic attack many times. Through working with these horses as well, who in the beginning have no confidence in themselves ñ watch them start to believe in themselves as they progress with their training makes it easier to have more confidence in yourself as well. Days where you have low confidence and you just think about that one horse that has come so far it makes you really think about you and how far you have come yourself, even how far you can still go.
Having saved over 80 horses to date our barn is full of healing memories. That stall is where Louie (now known as Aspen) let us touch him for the first time. That corner is when we spent two hours with Hok’ee the day he arrived to get a halter on him. That paddock is where Beau walked up to us for the first time. This tie is where we spent hours upon hours working with Bullseye. This stall is where we spend hours just sitting with Mable letting her know humans are okay and we are not here to hurt her but to help her thrive. Our aisle way is where each horse has had their hooves trimmed for the first time. If you come to our barn you can feel the calm energy that surrounds us and if you stand still and just let your body relax you can feel the healing from within.
Through the healing process these horses endure with us they learn to accept compassion, love, acceptance and know that Someone Always Loves You (SALY).
SPRING HAPPENED PEOPLE!!!!
It is so exciting to see peps in everyone's steps again! The cold weather is slowly dissipating and the warm, spring weather is creeping in. At the barn we've changed from winter blankets to rainsheets and five layers of clothing to one! It's so exciting to be able to move freely again.
Our clients are definitely feeling the freedom from the cold because we are BUSY! Classes are booking faster than I ever expected and we are having a blast! Here are just some of the things that we were up to in March
What happened in February 2018
February was cold this year! It was difficult to motivate ourselves to go out to the barn to play with the ponies! Jacqueline, from Well Dressed Equestrian, and I drank many cups of coffee this month, just to warm our bones.
Despite the cold weather, we had an awesome month! It all started with....
A Trip to Grenada
My partner and I spent a beautiful week in Grenada. It was a much-needed break from the craziness (that is the lift of a business owner) and a great escape from the cold. The beach was amazing, the weather was perfect and the country was hands down, one of the best islands that I have ever visited. A week flew by but I was happy to come home. Upon my return we hosted a bunch of events, including:
Rescue Horse of the Month
Each month Restorative Reins highlights a rescue horse from one of our trusted rescue centers. The horse may have a great rags-to-riches story, be a rehab pro, or they may be looking for a home. Keep an eye out to meet our horsey pals through our monthly Horsey Highlights posts.
Warmer weather is upon us! It is almost time to start riding outdoors again. Try something new this spring. Well Dressed Equestrian Inc. offers a wide variety of lessons to riders of all levels. Whether you want to learn how to jump or just want to have some fun horsin’ around. Tip of the month: Have a hard time keeping your heels down when you ride? Try stretching at home before your lesson. You’ll see progress right away!
Stretch 1: The Stairs: stand at the bottom of your stairs. Place your toes on the edge of the bottom step & place your heel on the floor. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Then do the same with the other foot.
Stretch 2: The Chair: while sitting in a chair, with your feet touching the ground, lift your toes up off of the ground while keeping your heels on the ground. Hold this position for 30 seconds.
Stretch 3: The Wall: stand facing a wall, approximately 3 feet away (you may have to adjust this measurement for your height). Lean in to place your hands on the wall while keeping your heels on the ground. Hold this position for 15 seconds.
Today, Stable Lifers, we are talking about the mythical unicorn...boundaries. How many time have you heard things like: "You have to set boundaries" or "That is just crossing the boundary". Here's the big question....What exactly are boundaries? Frequently, when clients are prompted to discuss their boundaries, many have difficulty verbalizing what boundaries they do or do not have. Most of the time this inability to explain is because they don't really know what boundaries are, nor what it takes to set boundaries.
We recently had a great group of women out for our women & horses boundaries Workshop. During the two-hour Workshop we explored, both educationally and through Pony games, what boundaries are and why they are so important in our lives, especially as women.
Your values are the things that you personal view as important in the way you live. They usually drive you, help you determine your priorities, and act as a measurement to tell if your life is on track, or not.
When the things that you do and the way you behave match your values, life is usually good – you're satisfied and content. But when these don't align with your personal values, that's when things don't feel right. This can be a real source of unhappiness.
This is why making a conscious effort to identify your values is so important.
Step 1: When are you happy
List 5-10 times when you were most happy.
What were you doing?
Who were you with?
Is there a theme?
This blog is written by numerous contributors from our business and other programs.