It is all related…
Just recently I spent some time at New Trails in Texas, the cradle of Movement Method and Horse Boy. People often ask me, “How do you do it all?”
And do not get me wrong, I ask myself the same question numerous times a week, but as so often, New Trails and working with my mentors gave me the peaceful feeling of connection, of making sense of it all, and feeling a deep understanding how it all works together.
Folks in my “different worlds” of education, equine, family, friends, special needs departments, military- oh so many hats to wear- are amazed by my involvement in all the different worlds- but are they really so different?
Isn’t it all just about the higher level of thinking of application and eventually synthesizing and with that eventually making this world a better place? So, when I first learned about Horse Boy, yes, it was very much about autism and the connection and value horses and movement could bring to benefit the child- but just after 30 min into the training, it became clear how it connected to every child’s learning, even every situation of learning, child and adult, academics and life skills alike.
But oh my, now the entrepreneurs brought in ‘Stress-free Dressage”- they are all over the place, right?
Wrong! It clicked during my time in Texas. This is actually why the founders are so good at what they develop- not only do they have an insight into the autism world- who are the most critical and honest people to communicate if something is working (or not), and what triggers and what doesn’t; they also have a direct link to the animal world.
Working with horses keeps you on your toes all the times, does not allow for insincerity and dishonesty, and certainly keeps you extremely humble- just what good educators would need. It also requires a commitment to relationship and the realization that you cannot achieve anything without- just what a good educator would need. And last but not least, you are constantly trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t what buttons to push and which you can’t, triggers, emotions, approaches…sounds familiar- just like with folks who are trying to learn, grow, and heal, just what good educators need.
As my dear friend and mentor Rupert Isaacson explains, Stress –free is focusing on the educator not to add stress- there will always be a certain element of anxiety learning something new, or the pressure one puts on one self, it will not take all the stress out, but as a teacher, instructor, mentor, educator, we can take the element of stress WE might add, and take it out of the equation. Yelling at your riding students, students in the classroom, clients during your session makes as little sense as yelling at your horses- what comes out of it? Nothing but resistance, fear, anxiety, frontal cortex block, cortisol- certainly no learning.
When you use sincere interest in their needs (confused? Are we talking horses or students? – well both) they will buy into the learning activity, they will feel you are sincerely interested, they will understand your best intentions, and they will work to their best ability for you!
It all clicked for me when I was able to get an over 1200 pound animal trust me enough to get her into the Levade, an usual fight mode move, where the horse goes on the hind legs with the front legs in the air- if I can re-channel that power to be used on command, surely I can work with a child labeled as ‘evil’ by a school psychologist, with most likely oppositional defiance disorder to hopefully at least a couple days a year re-channel her energy into something good- right?
Having horses run through me, destroy my illusion of ever being a master, challenging me minute after minute during each session has made me a better teacher. I know what it feels like to fail, what it feels like to not speak the language, to not communicate, to not succeed every time I try; I am more aware; I am trying to be more self- aware and reflective to allow for best learning for my clients.
Of course, that can be draining, and yet again, it all relates, the mindful self-compassion taught in Movement Method, in HorseBoy and shimmering through, really underlying Stress Free Dressage is yet another common denominator that makes it all connect and help people to realize what is really important in life and how to be successful.
Don’t miss opportunities by keeping things in their ‘boxes’. Take the lessons your clients, horses, life teach, apply your knowledge, create new ways to support others, help them grow to their highest potential and help them enjoy a happy fulfilling life!