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Thursday, 25 February 2010

Plans Starting to Form.

Today I went to help with the local Riding for the Disabled for the first time and it was wonderful.

Being a witness to and a part of the joy and difference that horses can bring to people's lives was so inspiring and the generousity of those horses and of the people was humbling to see. The horses do this 6 days a week and stay willing and compliant even though so much of it is repetative and quite challenging for them in terms of discomfort from unbalanced and sometimes rough riders due to not being able to control their bodies.

These horses just seemed to understand and make allowances. I was told that one of them, a very bossy Highland mare, kicks and bites the able bodied if they aren't scrupulously polite but is endlessly kind, tolerant and steadfast with the disabled. She just knows who needs looking after and who is big and ugly enough to look after themselves!!!

I have found my own horses to be far more gentle and determined to look after me in recent times too, especially my lovely, fiesty Bella who protects me against all comers, whether I want her to or not!!!!!

Confident horses can be so perceptive and generous of spirit.

It also made me think some more about what I'd like to do here. The trouble with Equine Assisted Psycotherapy or Equine Assisted Learning and Developement is that I don't like jargon, complicated titles, making simple things seem much more complicated and clever than they are, making people feel inferior by using mumbo jumbo, and making them feel inadequate or in need.

For me the very best therapy has been having plenty of friends to talk to and animals to spend interactive time with. Friends, animals and getting back to nature in a safe, friendly and peaceful environment. Nothing more complicated than that.

I would like to have some sort of simple and easily understood title to what we will do here. Something like "People and animals helping each other". Something that focusses on the joy, laughter and inspiration that people can share around animals.

Something warm and comforting and companionable.

I am learning that not much in life is actually as complicated or frightening as it first appears.


  1. One of the best things I ever saw was a riding demo from a Riding therapy organization. There was a little girl suffering from cerebral palsy all curled up in her wheelchair. The helpers mounted her up on one of the therapy horses and in less than a mintue, her back straightened as she sat up to ride on that sweet, generous mount. I started to cry just to see how utterly amazing the transformation was once she was in that saddle.

  2. That is so fantastic! I've been planning to start volunteering at a disabled riding facility near where I live, I just haven't made the leap yet because I want to be sure I can keep the commitment. I have friends who do it and say it's the best thing ever. My brother has cerebral palsy so it's a subject very near and dear to my heart. I normally call it Therapeutic Riding or Therapy Riding. Kind of like Therapy dogs. :) I hope you can go again.

  3. Jean and achieve1dream, the riders I helped with last week both had cerebral palsy and it was the huge smiles on their faces which moved me so much. They both managed to find strength and balance in the saddle as well as joy and a little taste of status and freedom.

    Sitting up tall above us all must feel like magic after looking up to everyone from a wheelchair.

    I can't go this Tuesday as I have a previous commitment but I'm going to help every Tuseday from next week onwards.



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I am a clicker training addict and there is no cure - thank goodness!!!