May not have the words
to share my experience
Understand me still
What an interesting Haiku and how fitting- This experience cannot truly be described in a few words- and the connection to autism will soon be obvious in more than one way.
Of course, Horse Boy was developed by following Rowan, Rupert’s autistic son, and it has evolved ever since Rowan guided folks that listened and learned from his expertise.
Horse Boy and Movement Method is now known to support a huge variety of neuro diversities, folks with psychological challenges, and neurotypical learners and instructors to create ideal learning environments for physical and mental health and growth.
We were invited back to Japan after presenting a five-day demo of our work in the springtime. What an absolute honor to work with people who are so open-minded, willing to learn and be creative, passionate about the possibility to allow every human to be happy and every horse to have a chance of happiness. To work with folks who want to make a difference is a true blessing because we know our work will actually make impact lives for the better.
When arriving at the airport, it was a very different feel than the first time we arrived in spring. This time it felt like a little piece of home; familiar faces smiling brightly while warmly greeting us like long-familiar friends. Comfort and excitement for the journey ahead of us brushed away fatigue and jet lag.
Traveling by public transport, using local train, the famous Bullet train, and rental cars, we often felt like lost children- not being able to read, following blindly where our expert team lead us, not knowing where we were going or when we would actually arrive where were supposed to be going- wow, so this is how children with autism often feel when they follow our schedules, our plans, our ideas...in addition, we would have been totally lost without our guides- we could not even read simple street signs or directions or instructions. Tokyo was still fine, having some English and Arabic numbers, but the moment we left the city a bit, that changed instantly and an understanding developed in me for children, students, neurodiverse kiddos and adults- how challenging these experiences are. No wonder little kids ask “are we there yet?” It is a helpless feeling just following without knowing and without plans-
On the other hand, what freedom and blessing! Your brain gets an actual break from having to read everything that is in print, from deciphering conversations around, from planning, from expecting- not too bad at all! Thank goodness we had such great caretakers with us who got us where we needed to go.
First curveball that was tossed at us was the weather. Not only did we experience one, but two typhoons while we were in Japan. We were truly lucky that it did not impact us directly too bad- unfortunately the country suffered quite a bit from severe winds and extreme flooding.
Of course, true Horse Boy trainers make the best of every situation, so Rupert gave a lecture in the hotel breakfast room, riding out the storm educating in classical dressage while turning humans into horse models and performing two-legged lateral work between kitchen tables.
We presented in three different locations, having an official Horse Boy 1 and 2 course at Nasu for folks who attended the demos or spring demos.
There is just so much to tell, and as we all know so little time to read long blogs. So just the basics, we worked with the National Horse Association of Japan and it was an incredible experience. They ensured that we got to present and work with influential folks in the horse and education industry, allowing for the work to be spread throughout Japan.
We had the opportunity to exchange research ideas and project notes, help offer advice to allow especially thoroughbreds to be allowed a second career and happy lives after their racing jobs. We talked to educators and university professors for lively discussions on how to improve learning environments, and we already heard success stories from facilities using their knowledge they gained from Horse Boy in springtime.
Here is a country willing to learn from others, use the best tools possible to make their horse industry and education the best it can be. Here are people, welcoming our thoughts and ideas and seeing the value it can bring to any learner in any setting. We felt so welcomed, so well treated and appreciated, it was hard to leave. Our team of interpreters, organizers, and supporters who were with us the day we landed until the day we had to say our goodbyes, became family- and seeing folks excited and wanting to move forward was the best payment we could receive for long, work intense days.
I could probably write an entire book about this unique, incredible mind-blowing experience, however, for now, enjoy the slideshow to share a little of the precious moments, some of their beautiful culture, and the beginning of a lifelong connection and friendship with a new part of our Horse Boy World Wide Tribe!