Many years ago, while in Illinois where I lived until I was 13 years old, my dad and his brothers owned a farm. There were share croppers that would work the land but back then, a 20 minute drive seemed like an eternity so we never had any animals on the property much to my sadness because my parents reasoned that it was too far to care for them plus, we didn't have a lot of money starting out. However, there was one little nugget that I got to enjoy on the farmer's land next to ours, her name was Gold Dust and she was the most beautiful Palomino colored horse you have ever seen. Because of her, my love affair with horses took off and never went away.
One of the things I noticed and still remember years later, is how being with her made me feel. I can only describe it in simple words like calm, respectful, grateful, and happy but there are so many other feelings that she conjured up simply standing there in her presence that I don't think words can do justice to.
My desire, of course, was to own my own horse some day but dreams have a funny way of being strung on for reasons that I may not understand at the time, only to be relieved years and years later.
Fast forward to the present and I can only describe this to you in a spiritual way as I know that the good Lord above has led me on this path that I am on right now. It's not always been easy, but now I know without a doubt why He chose this route.
As a Pediatric Occupational Therapist of over 25 years, I have always been overjoyed seeing the many different therapies go in unheard of directions. I am so happy that SOMEBODY finally figured out that using animals around people and kids is some of the most 'healing-ist' stuff out there. I can attest to this as I use my dog Scout in therapy all of the time and that little fella can get kids to do stuff I would have never dreamed could be pulled out of them.
By the grace of God, I have run across several horsewomen over the last few years that I have connected on so many levels with and now I have the honor of offering Hippotherapy and Horse Assisted Therapy as part of my practice because y'all, horses heal and that book I have pictured up there is probably one of the most profound books I have ever read in my life and I thank Tim Hayes for taking the time to write it. If you think you know all about horses, well, test yourself reading his book and I'll bet you'll learn a thing or two. I know I did and I feel that his book answered and verified all of the thoughts I have always had about horses like:
1. They know more than you think
2. They only behave in the here and now and feed off of what you are giving off so if you are angry, they may not come up to you, but instead, walk away because you are freaking them out and they have to protect themselves
3. They are hypervigilent in order to survive as they have for thousands and thousands of years
4. Their eyes and ears can work separately from each other and boy can you tell a lot from their eyes, ears, and tail-you just have to watch
5. Their goal in life is to not be eaten so things like a bag blowing across their pasture will freak them the heck out because they go into, "Is that going to eat me," mode
6. Horses heal and that's all I need to say about that
7. No, you don't have to enjoy a horse by riding him/her, they are great to enjoy on the ground, in fact, that's what I prefer, just being with them
I am so honored that I have the opportunity to offer Hippotherapy and Horse Assisted Therapy to the kids that I get the privilege of working with everyday. In my quest to treat the whole child, I was divinely guided and I and thankful everyday!
Check Tim's book out y'all, it is something else.