Monday, August 25, 2014

#Horses and #Therapy: Starting over again

I have a therapy session scheduled for tomorrow. I haven't been in therapy since I "graduated" in 2011. When I started therapy in 2007, I was in a horrible place. Pretty much, I was going to therapy as a last ditch effort to stay alive. It worked. I lived, and life is mostly good now. Life is really good now. It feels weird to be going to therapy when I'm pretty happy, but I recently came to the realization that life could be even better if I learned some more things and did a little bit more work.

A big reason I was able to graduate from therapy was the work I was able to do with Sunny. Somehow he showed me what I needed to work on, and then helped me do the work. My therapy sessions had turned in to just telling my therapist all of the things I had learned while riding Sunny.

A few weeks ago, I signed up for a Horsemanship Clinic. I was nervous because I had never really done anything like that, but I was excited to become a better horseman. I have a lot of experience riding, but I have never taken lessons or spent time learning anywhere but on the horse.

We got to the clinic... and the first thing he said to me was, "You have to let him know who is boss, or else he'll walk all over you and take advantage of you."
I fell apart. I don't want to be the boss. I don't want to force him to do anything he doesn't want to do. If my choices are to be the boss or to let him walk all over me, I know which one I'd rather have... and it isn't to be the boss!

I was out of sorts for the next two days. I couldn't bring myself to even look at Sunny. I felt afraid and sick and angry and sad. I came to the realization that I wasn't going to be able to work through this one without help. The Horsemanship guy was willing to push me, but the more he pushed, the more angry and scared and sad and sick I felt.

I didn't think talk therapy would help me through this...whatever "this" is, so I went looking for equine therapy. The first name to come up on my search was Wendy. She was a therapist when I was at CFC, but had since left and started her own practice. AND she also does equine therapy.

I called her. I told her about my Horsemanship Clinic experience. She got excited and told me she had the perfect horse to help me. And tomorrow, I have my first session.

I'm nervous and excited.
I know how much therapy can suck. It HURTS. And I'm so excited knowing that I can do work and feel better. I will be able to enjoy riding Sunny even more than I did before. I will learn about me and about relationships. I am excited to have something to work on again.


  1. .I don't find that dominance has much to do with good horse training. Respect, yes, but it has to be mutual. And I can see why that would be triggering. Good on your for seeking more sessions.

    1. Thanks! The session went well. Horses are amazing, and they are great therapists.

    2. Yes! Respect. It's not about dominance of the animal. It's learning how to respect it has a horse and the horse learning to trust and respect you. They have their own minds and respecting that mind is important. I used to ride a horse that was prone to disobeying, bolting and all sorts of things, not because I wasn't dominating enough, it was because I was confusing him. I wasn't moving in ways he understood, I wasn't touching and directing him in ways that he was conditioned to respond to. He didn't know what I wanted. He didn't trust me to take care of him when I rode him away from the farm. Dominating him in those moments of stress would have only made it worse.

    3. I think that is more what is happening. I am so rigid when I'm on his back, I'm not communicating. And I'm rigid because I'm afraid (not of the horse - just holding on to old fears. And I hold it all in my hips, pelvis, and core.)
      So... Therapy makes a lot more sense than learning horsemanship - at least at this point. And then I can also decide who I want to teach me more horsemanship. It won't be someone who believes dominance is always the answer. (Though I can see there might be times when dominance is the answer...)

  2. I really like it whenever people come together and share thoughts. Great post, keep it up.
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