Wednesday, October 27, 2021

The Best Thing That Our Program Has to Offer to Many People: Fear

Or perhaps to state it better, the opportunity to over come fear.  Anxiety disorders are at an all time high among young people. Avoidance behaviors are the norm for a large segment of our population.  Fear permeates every news cast, the morning's array of social media posts, and even tv commercials.

Too few people have been given the opportunity to achieve success by over coming fear and too many people have been given every opportunity to avoid the challenges that they face. We expect, actually expect, things to go our way in every case. In the winter we expect to wake up in a warm house, dress in warm clothes, go to a warm office, and unlike all of our ancestors in the past, spend nearly all of each winter  exposed only to warm temperatures. 

Summers are even worse, with air conditioning 24/7 and nearly no opportunity for our bodies to sweat. We refrain from going outside, primarily "because of the weather" , whether that weather be too hot, too cold, or too wet,  In the past 75 years we have created a culture that expects physical comfort day in, day out, year around. 

My brother Lido had cerebral palsy. He never moved with ease. He was the first person to get on most of my wild horses before we had a riding program. When he was thrown he got back on. 

He had no anxiety. He had no avoidance behaviors. He had accumulated a record of achievements that taught him that he could achieve. 

As serious as his disability was, it did not hamper him as much as anxiety disorders and depression hamper such a large proportion of teenagers today. 

Every day that people  spend at the horse lot provides opportunities to grow by doing things that they did not think they could do--riding a horse that was not the one that they felt safest on, moving herds from one pasture to another, learning to train horses, learning to trim hooves, and learning to work harder then they ever imagined that they could.

And adults have a chance to meet their fears head on too. They have a chance to learn to deal with the problem that actually worries them instead of creating distractionary problems upon which they can focus their worry. 

We work hard to understand the fears of horses. That helps us understand the impact of trauma on people and that makes it possible for us all to lead happier lives by confronting our fears

And that is the goal--not to create Spartan warriors, but to create happier, more compassionate, kinder people.  

Nothing makes us unhappier, more selfish, and more prone to hate, than fear. 

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Reaching the 1000th Mile

It was not all that long ago that Curie was a novice. Now she is a first rate rider, a solid horse trainer, and a talented young farrier. Long Knife is her Corolla mare that she took the lead in training. 

In the past week she reached her 1000th mile on the trails on Long Knife. That is an extraordinary accomplishment. It really matters to the horse.

One of the most important facets of training is consistency. It can take a lot of miles before the horse fully understands its rider. It can take even more miles before a rider can understand the horse. 

She has broadened the horse's exposure with a recent trip out to a horse show in Suffolk, from whence comes this picture.

Long Knife is doing her part for the conservation and promotion of the nearly extinct horses of the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Next summer she will be having a foal from Cracker jack, a beautiful Shackleford stallion. 

And a spectacular little Colonial Spanish horse that will be.