The HorseBack horses do many, many things for the humans who work with them. It’s much more than simply getting on and riding.
This week, we had a group of veterans starting their Phase One of a new course. Many of them had never encountered horses before; some had ridden, but not in the Western style. We watched the shining arc of progress with happy eyes.
They learn to build a bond of trust with these good horses. They develop new talents. They draw on their inner confidence, which is often a little battered and bruised, in order to give their horses confidence. They remember all the leadership skills they knew in the forces. They surprise themselves, and they have fun.
Perhaps most importantly of all, the horses teach the veterans to overcome their own fears. Those steady equines remind the humans of the sense of liberation that comes from facing fear and marching on through it.
We had three of our veteran mentors with us this week. One of them said, of the group: ‘A lot of them arrive filled with doubt. They really aren’t sure about all this horse stuff. They don’t always know why they have to work with a horse, or what that is going to do for them. By the end of the week they can’t speak about anything else.’ He laughed: ‘All they want to do is talk about the horses. It’s just horses, horses, horses.’
Everyone worked incredibly hard and well this week. They came on in leaps and bounds, and did themselves proud. There was a lot of teamwork, camaraderie and laughter. It was a fine sight to see.