A large number of our attendees have learning and anxiety related challenges such as PDA, ASD and ADHD. Thanks to Dainty and in some part Jim having much the same challenges, we have learnt ways of embracing these behaviours and in a way that enables healthy relationships, experiences and growth for both horse and human.
To the parents and employers that are confronted with these challenges, a couple of things we've learnt along the way are:
1) Let go of expectations. Listening to and respecting "no's" builds trust. When a no is heard, a level of safety is built, enabling greater courage in the future. This creates a virtuous circle. I promise that no's don't remain no's forever if a patient and holistic approach is taken.
2) Keep the herd in people's awareness. Seeing social media posts is a way of keeping an easy and manageable connection with the herd and builds the positive experiences without the pressure of travel and being in the spotlight having a session. Feeling good about the horses is important, and builds a foundation for a deeper connection.
3) Make visits social. Come as a group, invite a friend, or book a session for yourself and invite the client to support you whilst you enjoy their benefits. People are often far more motivated to help another than do something for themselves. Benefit from this!
4) Make any visits about the herd. It's a truthful statement that the horses are happy to meet new people and they particularly love to see clients again. They love building relationships and repeat visits. In fact, when people don't come I have to deal with their feelings of abandonment!
5) Going at an individual's pace is the fastest way to progress. Treading water and baby steps are better than big steps and going backwards. Too much pressure causes people to retreat into their comfort zone and become defiant. Growth naturally occurs when a positive environment is created, so focus on the environment rather than the outcome.
We hope the above helps, and can give you the positive outcomes we've experienced ourselves.