Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Kumbaya Is Not A Song For a Revolution

People new to our program are often struck by the beauty of our horses, how much happier and healthier they are for being given the opportunity to live as close to a natural state as possible, and how easy it is to train gentle, happy horses. They are often shocked to see children riding extraordinary distances while learning to safely control their horses. (During the first 10 months of 2019 the cumulative recorded miles that horses in our program were ridden is further than from Norfolk to San Francisco).

As they learn more about the program and see how the weekly sessions for veterans with PTSD are changing lives they begin to truly understand what we are doing. When they understand how hard we work to preserve, breed and promote some of the nations rarest strains of historic American horses they start to realize that they have stumbled into something special. Learning about our programing with Teen Challenge helps them understand what even limited exposure to the horses can do to help put young people on an entirely new path.

Perhaps the third biggest surprise that they find is when they watch children learning to work together on major soil and water conservation projects and listen as kids as young as ten years old explain regenerative farming.

The second biggest surprise is when they come to understand that all of this work is done by volunteers and that no one is paid to lead this program.

And for many the biggest surprise comes when they first hear attacks made against our program by adherents to the edicts of the established horse world. Some of these attacks come from simple misinformation. The more deeply rooted invectives come not from those who misunderstand the purpose of our program, but instead from those who understand it very well.

They understand that the values and principles that drive our program are antithetical to an established order in which horses are simply items of commerce. They understand, and deeply resent, our lack of willingness to seek their approval and permission to work to promote a new model of  horse/human relationships.

The best hope for horses (and people) lies not in the edicts of the commercial horse world. It lies in the potential for those with no experience in that world to be given a chance to enter the horse's natural world.

And that is a revolutionary idea.

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