Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Little Bits of Confidence

When I first started my lesson program here; I had one solid plan.
"Show team for teens and adults"
Who knew that only a few months later I would find my truest calling.
The littles.

      In the past few months my lesson program has grown to include some very young and even shorter students. Younger kids who didn't fit the lesson model at other facilities. They are nervous, unconfident and need a lot of time to think and regain confidence. They can't be told to "just do it" because they've done that and it didn't work for them. They got spooked, they got scared and in many cases they fell off.

      This is where I come in. And while I was a bit hesitant in the beginning; I cannot begin to describe how incredible it is to see those little light bulbs go off.. And a smile return to a stressed and nervous face. So far we have kids as young as 6 years old facing their fears and overcoming obstacles. One of our young girls has progressed from lead line to walking, steering and stopping on her own in 4 lessons time. She even walks over a tarp and up onto the pedestal; both on the ground and in the saddle.
      Another is this little man, he had a bad experience in a riding lesson and lost his confidence. So far to the point that he wouldn't get back in the saddle. It's taken 3 lessons to get him comfortable again. But just this weekend he swung his leg up over that saddle and sat down. Took a deep breath... And got off again. To some people that may sound like a pretty lame lesson; but Max overcame so many obstacles in his own life that day! To get him comfortable we did a lot of different things. We started him on the ground learning how to confidently lead his pony around. Over obstacles and turning, stopping. Confidently. We had him stand on the mounting block and practice putting weight in the stirrup. Stand up, take a deep breath, step down. Approach and retreat.
      What strikes me as the most interesting point is that I can use my horse training methods to help these amazing little horsepeople. I use approach and retreat. I give them support, but them give them space. I help them relax and take deep breaths.
And the most wonderful things come about.
They start to have fun again!

      But through it all there is one most important aspect; the horses who carry us onward. My reliable horses take their job of carrying very precious cargo, ever so seriously. Blondie is our number one for confidence building; and I cannot speak highly enough of her attitude and endless patience during her lessons. Our next in line for this supportive role is our new pony Ziggy Stardust. She holds great potential and is just the right size too ;)

      If you are having any confidence issues, whether you are a little horse person, an adult or any size in between; I encourage you to come out for a lesson with one of our steady eddies. And remember why we began our journey with horses in the first place; to have fun!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Grace and Gratitude

There is a place for you.
Somewhere out there, in you and all around;
There is a place for you.

In the recent months here at the farm I find myself in a constant state of positive energy.
I belong.
I thrive; rather than just survive.
I walk with a bit of pep in my step, rather than dragging my sorrows along the way.
I have purpose.
I have myself.
I have a place.
I have a place just for me.

It wasn't always like this.
This is something that I have been reminded of lately.
As I work along side the little people in their first steps into horsemanship,
or with teens searching for that all familiar place...
A place for them.
A place for them with horses.

Not just a riding stable.
Not just somewhere where a horse becomes a vehicle for our entertainment...
But somewhere where they can breathe with a horse.
Walk next to a horse in pure confidence.
Step into the saddle and know they belong there.

I took a lot of on and off years to find that place.
Ironically a hard enough fall and whack on the head to realize what I was doing wasn't what I was needing...
And what I wanted was most definitely what I needed.
And what I needed fell into place; year by year.
Once I knew I had to find that place for myself.

So now I have an overwhelming sense of endless gratitude.
An attitude that sticks with me day by day, and second by second.
I work harder than I have ever worked because I know deep down to a cellular level;
This is undeniably where every atom of my being is meant to be.
And I have to give it back to the world around me.
I worked so hard to get here.
I struggled.
Got back up.
Asked for help.
Got broken hearted.
Got injured.
Got help.
Got better.
Was given more.
Was needed.
Was wanted.
Found purpose.

And now I want to help others find their own path to this feeling.
This confident, all knowing feeling within; that gets me up every day.
That keeps me working after my feet hurt.
That warms my heart at night.
That fills my soul with light.

Religion always confused me before finding this place.
But isn't that what every religion is really searching for, underneath it all?
All knowing.

I read a lot of posts online about how many people hear a version of themselves within, that talks down to them.
That hates them.
That hurts them.
Tells them they aren't good enough.
That they can't.
That they never will.

I know that voice.
I wish I could share that with everyone I know in pain right now.
I know.
I feel it too.
I let it hurt me.
I let it take control.

But there is another voice in there.
One that speaks a different language.
One that you have to feel.
It doesn't talk in your head.
It's in the rest of your being.
It's the warm fuzzy in your cheeks when you stand in the sun.
It's that tingling in your ribs when you see the love of your life.
It's the tickle in your tummy when you get excited or nervous.
It's the energy that drives you when you are feeling so good.

Embrace it.
Listen to that feeling.
Not to the voice in your head.
Drown that voice in this feeling.

Somedays I catch myself.
I'll be working away wondering how we will ever get everything done in time...
Sweating. Aching. Bruising. And complaining.
And then I'll look up.
I'll see all the ponies napping together in the afternoon sun.
Deep breaths of full bellies, sighs of content hearts.
And then I remember that I am one of these souls.
I am full.
I am content.
I am full of grace.
And I am forever grateful.

Much love.