Many of us in the horse world are fascinated and yes, critical of new ideas, strategies, and methods that are out there. Traditional trainers usually observe with their legs at shoulder width, arms crossed, the head a little tilted and the criticism clearly visible in intense looks- especially noticeable on showgrounds.
The beauty of the education I got from Rupert and Iliane though is to have an open mind,
to inspect things from a variety of perspectives, and to allow time to listen, evaluate, and use the best tools available for the folks and horses we work with.
Remount Foundation at the United States Air Force Acadamy Equestrian Center works mainly with Veterans. Horse Boy supports the program to allow families of military background to reconnect and rediscover. The other pillar of our work is the OK Corral by Greg Kersten and taking the training I realized we do have a lot of parallels in our approach. What really stood out was the importance of belonging to a herd as he called it- and we call it tribe. The idea of living in community and safety is similar, however, as Ruperts points of, we are still predators, as lovely as it would be to live as a herd, let's be honest in our society we live more like wolves.
What was fascinating though was the psychotherapeutic aspect of the training. It was well done leading to a metaphorical connection between horse behavior, studying a herd of horses, and how it can relate to certain situations. Observing and learning from horses can have huge benefits in one's life. Being accepted by a horse, having a horse walk up and lower the head is a priceless feeling. The connection we can build with horses is unique and treasured by many.
If you are a Horse Boy practitioner, you realize how powerful your work with horses and kids is- but what I realized very early on, our work is immensely useful for a larger group of folks. Sitting in the training, there were Vietnam Veterans, Veterinarians, First Responders and he had some amazing exercises that were truly helpful. I think combining it with the background we have and our knowledge of the science, this is truly moving folks forward. Horses teach every minute we can be around them- why not use their wisdom to heal?
I challenge you to see where your program can expand, where this amazing framework can help and support others, it is truly growing. Horse Boy was developed for one autistic child, but he was one of the most critical inspectors of growth and learning, one of the harshes judges of new ideas- if it worked for him, it was pretty solid! This work has grown well beyond autism, and what I realized during this training, many folks are “locked within themselves”, many feel “they don’t fit in”. We build community, a support network, a tribe that grows, innovates, creates, and starts to enjoy life with their horses and people. The lovely thing, Horse Boy is supportive of their folks growing, bringing new ideas, not being stuck in “it has always been this way” approach. In such a dynamic field of human psychology, new challenges we face, open-mindedness and creativeness are hugely needed. It is refreshing to work with a team living this!