Tag Archives: horses

In the rhythm of freedom

It’s difficult to explain the relationship that a human being experiences with a horse. I don’t understand it myself. I can only try to explain what it feels like.

I found this extract from a recent blog post by Bill Chance, which manages to put some of those feelings into words:

“He found he was breathing in rhythm with the horse as if some part of the horse were within him breathing and then he descended into some deeper collusion for which he had not even a name.” – Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses

Once you get in sync with a horse, it feels like you are eternally free. Free from the worries of your world, it’s just you and your horse. The sound of your breathing in tune with hers, the smell of fresh sweat from her powerful movement and the sound of hooves on the ground, in time with the rhythm of your mind. Patience, obedience, freedom, connection. That’s what it is. The most special relationship I have ever had with a living being. I treasure every moment that I have with my horse.

Partners in Crime

 

*You can find more happy place inspiration from my board on Pinterest.

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‘The power of the horse’

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Following my new love affair with horses, I’ve found it quite difficult to explain the inherent emotional power that they possess. Not only do I not fully understand it, but what I do understand is very difficult to put into words.

Shumbashaba touches really nicely on this topic in their blog post Shumbashaba “Therapists”.

To quote from the article by Jacqui Du Plessis:

“They demand emotional and behavioural consistency and remain rooted in the present moment. Engaging with a horse requires of you to be honest and open. No matter your mood, attitude or actions, you can be sure the horse will mirror it – change these and the horse will respond likewise. It has been speculated that no animal is more sensitive to human moods and non-verbal communication than a horse. This provides a unique and powerful opportunity to reflect on oneself, to identify needs, and to explore the actions required to meet these. What can be more powerful than digging deep inside oneself to find your very own solutions?”

That may be the verbalisation I’ve been looking for.


Today I learnt…to just go with it

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Having recently taken up horse riding, I’ve found that these animals like to teach us mere humans some lessons about ourselves along the way. Today I learnt how to just go with it.

Let me tell you the story:

Today’s horse riding lesson was about learning to trot. Once you have gotten the horse to move from a walk into a trot, you have to ‘post’, which is basically standing up and sitting down in the saddle to the rhythm of the horse’s trot. Sounds easy enough, but remember that you are sitting on a powerful moving animal, so keeping yourself in (and out of) the saddle requires some technique, some serious balance and core strength (while supposedly steering the horse in the right direction without pulling on the reigns).

Right, so once I get going with this whole new movement, Bella, my breathtakingly beautiful horse, decides that she likes where this is going and breaks out into a full canter. Now this was something new. Her body immediately moves in a completely different way (obviously while I am in the standing position in the saddle) and she puts foot on her internal accelerator, completely catching me off guard.

In that split second that my brain had to process what was going on, I had two choices:
A. Fumble around trying to figure out how to handle this and in the process likely fall on my head, or B. Sit tightly in the saddle, hold on and just go with it

I chose option B.

I just went with it. I just felt the rhythm of her movement and literally just went with the flow.

I did not fall on my head.

Do you see where I am going with this?

Sometimes we are faced with situations where we have no idea what to do. Life does not throw us only the problems that we know how to deal with.

Sometimes we are going to have to just hold on tight and go with it. Or we will likely fall on our heads.


Horses helping people

I have recently fallen in love with horses. I had always wondered how people were so content covered in dust with their boots smelling like horse poo, but now I understand.

These animals are truly amazing. They are so intuitive and somehow manage to mirror a person’s emotions. They show us things inside of us that we have been hoping not to have to deal with.

People say that ‘the way of the horse’ is something therapeutic, but I failed to understand how. Until I got involved with these majestic creatures myself and got led to a phenomenal organisation called ‘Shumbashaba’.

With the mission of ‘Horses helping people’, Shumbashaba sets out to help and empower people with horses.

Huh? How? Let me tell you a story.

I attended a meet and greet open day for Shumbashaba on the weekend, where one of the therapy sessions offered was demonstrated. The disabled and cerebral palsied children were given a horse therapy session, where they are placed on a horse and walked around the arena.

Big deal? Indeed it is. These children cannot walk, some cannot sit upright and some have a severe form of cerebral palsy where they cannot control their continual muscular spasms. Time on a horse is like physiotherapy for them, which assists with balance, muscle tone, spinal movement and forces 3D movement of the body. This may not seem like much to you and I, but to these kids it is the world. 15 minutes on a horse is equivalent to 5-6 hours of regular physiotherapy. You can actually see how the muscular spasms calm down after a few minutes on a horse and how the children start to strengthen and engage their muscles in a way that they can’t on the ground.

Being able to move through a living, compassionate animal has a huge psychological benefit to them as well and the smiles on their faces after a session is like nothing I’ve ever seen in my life before.

It touched my heart.

This is only one of the kinds of sessions that the centre offers and they are heavily involved in the local community and the disabled. I cannot begin to understand the full impact of the work that they do, but my heart goes out to people with such beautiful spirits.

If you’re keen on helping out, go visit their website or Facebook page and see what they offer. Also keep your eyes on my blog for details on more social media aspects to come (courtesy of Social Ideas). They are also always looking for volunteers, as the therapy I explained above requires three volunteers per child – one to lead the horse and two to hold the child.

Go spend time with a horse…if you get nothing else out of it, at least you can experience the magic feeling of a velvet nose 😉


Today I learnt…that horses are awesome.

Having had a few horse riding lessons from my dear friend, Liz “The Horse Whisperer”, I have recently discovered a hidden love for these beautiful animals. This is the culprit, Bella:

Now this poses a bit of a problem for me as I definitely can’t afford to have a love for horses, but I’m just going with it for now. If you’d like to help me fund this little hobby, I’d love to do some business with you in the social media space – find me at @mysocialideas on Twitter and Social Ideason Facebook (cheeky business punt there).

So why do I want to jump onto the back of a big muscular animal? Because I’ve learnt a lot from this so far:

I’ve learnt that you don’t just ride a horse…you work bloody hard at it first and then it starts working out. You don’t climb on and push a button, this is a living, breathing, thinking animal.

I’ve learnt that confidence counts far more than just knowing what you’re doing and together with persistence, something’s going to give.

I’ve learnt respect. Respect others and you will get respect in return.

I’ve learnt that every horse is different, and each one needs an approach specific to them.

Some metaphors for life in there, methinks?

I’ll keep at it, I’m gaining so much already.

And I’ll get some proper riding boots…having a horse stand on your foot is painful!


South African Lipizzaners, Kyalami

Today I went to the South African Lipizzaners show in Kyalami. Not that I am a very horsey person, but the rich history behind these gorgeous animals and the amazing things that they train them to do does appeal to me.

And besides, it is always interesting to see how the upper-class live in their mansions with padocks in their gardens in Kyalami. So much of jealousy.

The show itself was good, although does not come close to the Spanish Riding School of Vienna performances, but at least it was a nice outing on a Sunday and I got a few good shots out of it too!

These beautiful animals are also in need of sponsorship, it seems, to be able to keep going, so if you are interested in this kind of thing, go check them out on a Sunday and help where you can. You can get more information on their site here.