Some horse wisdom from the pasture...
Remaining optimistic and perpetuating a façade of general well-being since 2020 with its boxcar-sized dumpster fires created epic challenges for most of us. Truth be told, however, there is a wonderfully satisfied population of equines at East Point Horspice showing no worse for wear and have insightful and wise concepts we humans should recognize and emulate as the new year approaches. Consider the following a suggested list of lifestyle habits which could be more effective than any resolution.
- Be a worthy member of your herd. Whether you are at work (a location that consumes most of our waking hours) or at home, take the attitude that those around you deserve to receive the best of yourself. Consider it an obligation to put forth your best efforts and help the ones you share your daily activities with to become better versions of themselves. We are all in this together.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. Life manages to consistently put us under the backing bus but learn to evaluate the beeping sound and try never to put unnecessary energy into those things we cannot change or show no difference even if we could. Ducks have demonstrated that letting the water roll off their backs can be a valid solution. A horse standing out in the rain with its rear to the wind obviously have taken this lesson to heart.
- Appreciate the little things. A pair of warm socks, an unsolicited smile from a stranger, a fresh pile of green hay, or a breathtaking sunrise set against the Nebraska Sand Hills are signs of overall well-being in the universe. Do not take such things for granted but instead let these add to your list of why it is good to be alive.
- Live in the present. What has happened is done. What will happen is anyone’s guess. Look deeply into the eyes of the creatures right in front of you at this moment while embracing this gift.
- Don’t hold grudges. Forgiveness, grace, understanding, and empathy are all frames of mind with the potential to release the mental baggage associated with the curse of being angry with someone. Take the strength required to move on and use this as fuel to brighten your inner light so it may shine instead of becoming a smoldering pile inside the paper sack left on the doorsteps of your enemies. Let it go. Horses understand the futility in perpetuating a negative energy.
- Remember to have fun. Horses do have fun. Like a friendly game of pitch, fun doesn’t need to be extravagant or expensive. The best fun is a simple joke or a gentle bite on the fuzzy rump of your stable mate who then returns the favor with a nibble on the withers or a pull of the tail. The social interaction is its own reward and when done in a gentle nature will prove to deepen the bonds with your friends.
- Love yourself. Horses do not obsess over posts on Instagram or Facebook with the diabolical self-loathing created through comparisons and envy of the unrealistic expectations portrayed therein. You are who you are and for a good reason. Learning to accept this fact will bring you to a happier existence faster than a spoiled horse running to a bucket of oats.
After listening to the song Today by John Denver, I thought that if horses had CD players they would probably like this song. Horses live in the moment - right now. They don't live in the past; they don't hold grudges. Horses don't plan for the future; they don't have agendas. Have you ever been able to fully live in the moment for more than a few minutes?
That's a good challenge for us two-legged horses and this is yet another way horses can teach us to be better humans.
excerpt from Today by John Denver
I can't be contented with yesterday's glories,
I can't live on the promises winter to spring.
Today is my moment,
now is my story and I'll laugh, I'll cry, I'll sing.
The following is a quote from Buck Brannaman:
Knowing where you want to go with your horse is important, but it sure helps to know where you are with them, first.
This speaks to the importance of groundwork with your horse. On the ground is the place to work out the bugs - not in the saddle. Everything you do on the ground translates directly to under saddle. In fact, at times it may seem counter intuitive when you play with your horse on the ground, but these activities do everything to continue your relationship with your equine partner and make a stronger, safer bond. Some people refer to a pre-flight check before you ride to make certain you and your horse are on the same page; wouldn't you check the pressure in your car's tires before taking a trip?
Just a few thoughts about the therapeutic riding here at EPH
It’s not just fun and games. Sure, it looks that way, but when you are horseback and shooting a basketball, blowing bubbles, or carrying a plastic egg on a spoon (sometimes with both hands) the fun part is merely disguising the fact that you are increasing core strength, balance and confidence all while astride a 1000-pound animal.
As a therapeutic device, horses have a long history of demonstrating their ability to accomplish progress sometimes not realized with traditional techniques in a clinical setting. The physical interaction between horse and rider creates a unique relationship, a friendship perhaps, and offers support and meaningful interactions for all involved. Part of the process at East Point Horspice is to allow these relationships to deepen as the riders are expected to care for their mounts through grooming and preparations before and after their designated ride times. Through the actions of currying fur, cleaning hooves and petting loving faces, the hands-on of the riders cements their bonds; EPH often witnesses situations where the riders refer to the horses they ride as “my horse” and a sense of ownership develops. The riders develop responsibility, empathy and a serving nature as they care for and maintain the horses.
Then the games begin, the riders and their big fuzzy friends tackling the challenges of each new week under the guise of a creative horse-sized event. An example is the proportionately sized ladder ball or xylophone which, due to their increased size, are more to scale for a rider in the saddle. Imagine the coordinated effort required to shoot a basketball from a moving horse, or to successfully swing hula hoops on your body while the horse is walking.
Of course, all this fun requires volunteer support of which EPH continually seeks and recruits. Typically, it takes three volunteers per rider to increase the level of safety for everyone involved. More advanced riders may require less in volunteer support, but the program’s limiting factors have always been the number of appropriate horses and trained volunteers. If you believe you would like to share in the fun and games going on during the therapeutic riding season, you are encouraged to contact EPH, right away, do it now. What are you waiting for?
Now that January is slipping away you might wonder if horses make resolutions.
Do you remember the resolutions you declared? You might guess horses do not put much effort in improving their health, finances, or mental status. Why would you when you’re already perfect and life is great, right?
Discussions about resolutions can lead to the topic of habits. After all, don’t we humans make resolutions to change bad habits and attempt to adapt what we perceive to be productive and beneficial habits? Where does all this want for personal improvement originate and does the pressure of failure to attain these changes make the process worthwhile? Not reaching lofty goals can be as much fun as being an ant on the pile after little Johnny gets a new magnifying glass.
An honest person would agree that nobody walking the earth is perfect. This same reasonable individual would argue that we should consider goals that will hopefully make one a better citizen and approach a purely altruistic view of the world.
It is time for some good news. To relieve the pressure, it would be sound advice to seek help, the kind of therapist that can assist you to better understand your place in this world, that you are worthy and capable of regaining the reins on what seems to be a runaway. Even better news is these therapists are available right now. They are non-judgmental, fuzzy, give great hugs, don’t yell, listen better than any human and are always willing to provide keen insight. Equines to the rescue!
East Point Horspice is developing a program to utilize the herd as the main component of a horse/human relationship to facilitate recovery from trauma indignantly served by a life event. If trauma has caused the acceptance of unhealthy habits that cannot be cured with a hollow resolution you might be a candidate to have a date with the horses. As stated, the program is in its infancy and EPH is welcoming all who feel they would benefit from a trauma recovery conversation. This program will not be based on horsemanship abilities and will not require previous horse experience. Rather, this program centers on the relationship between a horse and participant with the premise that an equine is the conduit to assist you in appreciating how a traumatic event can be overcome. It is possible to release the burden of previous life challenges through the utilization of horses and their remarkable caring nature.
The EPH herd is here to help. If you’d like to get in on the ground floor of a personal growth opportunity with the genuine possibility of making a life-changing course direction you are encouraged to contact Charlene at (308) 762-3848 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The life you help could very well be your own.