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Animals as Healers

I wrote this article a few years ago for my friend Faye Rogers to go with an article she had published. I was thinking of Ben this morning and he wanted me to share it again. :) Animals as healers My name is Julia and I work with horses as a healer, trainer and educator. My experience with energy healing came about quite suddenly and had a profound effect on me. I had suffered chronic neck pain for years and nothing seemed to help until I went along to a talk on energy healing. Very sceptical about the whole “hocus pocus” thing I offered myself as a guinea pig for the others to practice on. Suddenly my whole life changed! My neck was healed and I was pain free! I went home and did nothing for three days but eat and sleep ( I learnt later that profound and sudden healing has that affect), feeling drained but at the same time elated as there was no pain. One the fourth day I ventured outside and heard a voice saying “can you do me now please? “!!  It was Maxi, one of my horses, and so my horse healing started. Since then I have found that healing, instructing and teaching is becoming more integrated. The lines are blurred as to who needs help; the horse or its human. Quite often people bring their horses to me for healing and the horse gently explains to me the issues their human has! Horses try so hard to please us and they echo our own emotions and fears, even at times trying to take on the hurt their humans are feeling. Lack of communication eventually causes the horse to [...]

Getting 1st or doing 1st

Most of us who ride are competitive in some way and we all love getting a 1st place rosette or ribbon but I'm starting to prefer "doing a 1st" instead. It doesn't mean I'm not competitive it just means I am competing against myself. I'm working hard at beating my fears and doing new things with my horses. The more new stuff you do the bigger your comfort zone gets; the bigger your comfort zone the more new stuff you do! The trick is to start trying. Write a list of al the things you dream of doing with your horse. They don't have to be big, flash "going to the Olympics" kind of things. It might be riding along the beach, cantering, learning to jump, getting my horse to stand still. It might even be actually getting on your horse. Then you need a support person; someone who understands how scary things can be and who won't make you feel wimpy or stupid. Team up with a friend and help each other. Start working on the things you want to do and slowly they will start happening. If you need more support then come to Flying Horse. We can be your support person. Our Cake & Coffee Days are an ideal way of meeting people who are "doing 1st". That day when you suddenly "do a 1st" will be so inspiring, so amazing you will want to keep on going. It will make you smile for days afterwards and you will be developing a wonderful partnership with your horse. This week at Flying Horse we have had a client ride a horse for the 1st time in 6 years, another rode for the 1st time after breaking her [...]

Saying Goodbye

I am a firm believer that horses come into our lives for a reason; they teach us valuable life lessons and are our refuge in times of stress. Here at Flying Horse we keep our horses for life. Some people can effortlessly upgrade to the next horse or buy and sell on a regular basis but for me it would be liking selling my family. I guess some people do choose the wrong horse but if the horse chooses you it must be the right decision! It is then up to you to work at being a team leader, a friend and a guardian to that horse. Earlier this month Ben , our lovely big grey horse, became very sick and it was so very hard to make the decision to let him go. We bought him on the day he turned one. He was rounded up, gelded, had a halter put on for the first time and was waiting in a yard for us to pick him up. He was so frightened that we didn't have the heart to subject him to another scary thing: his first time on a horse float. So Dave walked him home; by the time they had walked the 14kms home Ben was halter trained and devoted to Dave for the rest of his life. If I was holding Ben and Dave walked off there was no way he would stay with me. He would follow Dave anywhere. Ben was the gentlest horse especially with children. We had five kids on him all at the same time and you could almost see the smile on his face as he walked slowly round with them. He taught lots of people [...]

Overcoming Confidence Issues

Everyone, no matter how good a rider, has at some time experienced confidence issues. Sometimes it’s a little blip that is easily overcome with supportive friends and/or your trainer. But sometimes it is a nasty wee monster that grows out of control and takes over, not only our riding, but our whole life. The thing about losing your confidence is that it also makes your comfort zone a whole heap smaller; and that makes you lose more confidence! The first thing we do when people come to us with a confidence issue is to assess both rider and horse. We check that the horse is not sore anywhere. If it is then we bring Karen Burrows in to work her Equine Touch magic. We check the horses emotional state and if that needs attention we do energy and crystal therapy to promote emotional balance and wellness. Then it’s the rider’s turn. If the confidence issue has resulted from a fall we use our Therapy horses (Maxi and Ben) to help the rider regain confidence and relaxation. Our horses are healers in their own right and are used to nervous riders. They are especially useful when the riders fall occurred when mounting. This is a very vulnerable time and if you fall off when you’re only halfway on it can causes major confidence issues. Once the rider is happy on our horses we can then start them back on their own horse. It is so rewarding watching them become a team again. A trainer told me long ago that: confidence is like a bucket of water. You can kick it over and its empty in a flash but you can only fill it back up one [...]

Rein pressure and balance

When you ride your horse how much rein pressure do you have? I was discussing this with a client the other day while out trailriding at Sandy Point. I had Maxi in his bitless bridle on a loose rein. He was in a lovely soft outline and walking out with long swinging strides. My client had her horse in a very round outline with obviously a lot of rein pressure; she was working hard with her legs but the horse was slow, not relaxed and its steps were short. Now I guess some of you are thinking “ well she obviously has a dressage horse and that’s the way they go”. Maxi is a “dressage horse” and Dave was riding with us on Storm who is definitely a dressage horse! Storm was in a bitted bridle but was also on a loose rein and walking out confidently in beautiful self carriage. The difference was the rein pressure and the balance of the rider. If you hold on really tightly to your horse all the time you are obliterating your stop aid and sabotaging not only your balance but the balance (self carriage) of your horse. It should be every riders aim to have their horse accepting a light contact and balancing themselves. If you give the rein forward your horse should stay at the same speed. If you go from walk to trot you should not need to balance yourself with your horses delicate mouth. So back to our client: she was effectively saying “stop” with the reins and “go” with her legs and her horse was confused and resentful. As we continued our ride we talked her into letting go a little and relaxing [...]

Challenge Day Approaching!

We only have three more Cake & Coffee Days before our Challenge Day on June 22nd. You need to have attended at least 2 Cake & Coffee Days WITH YOUR HORSE to be eligible to enter. There are great prizes and beautiful ribbons to be won, plus a stunning sash for the Champion Led and Champion Ridden. What is Cake & Coffee? Each month we hold two open days on the first Wednesday morning (10am) and the following Saturday afternoon (1pm) It costs $5 pp and you bring something yummy to eat. You can come by yourself or bring a horse. We have all the facilities available plus you can play Hoofball, try out the horse seesaw, small jumps, an obstacle course, or just you can just watch. Some people ride, some lead their horses around; there is no pressure to do anything. It’s great for young horses to allow them to socialise and get used to crowds without the stress of a competition. Then we put the horses away (we have small paddocks if you don’t want to tie them up) and go inside to have a cuppa and some cake while chatting.