"Do you offer riding?"
One of the most common questions we get asked by prospective clients is if we offer riding.
The answer is no.
Riding horses is wonderful. I know this, because I do ride, and I adore it. However, when it comes to learning about yourself and learning how to develop heartfelt relationships with others, this for me HAS to start on the ground.
Going straight to riding by-passes all the ground work necessary to build a trust-based relationship where the horse is seen as an equal.
It's a rather outdated view that a horse is a tool or an item enjoyed for our pleasure. Horses are intelligent, sentient beings with their own thoughts, feelings and needs. Just as we would want to be respected, considered and consulted, it is my experience that this is true for our horses.
Being at ground level with the horse, particularly when the horse is at liberty is a great way to develop the all important soft skills of empathy, perspective and compassion. It gives the horse a choice as to whether to engage or not. In addition, being ground-based means we must also learn about boundaries and space and holding our own within the herd. All very valuable life lessons.
In my view, only once an individual has mastered winning the respect and trust of a horse from the ground might they ask if they may enjoy the fruits of being "carried" by another. It is a process that can take years.
Until then, there is an infinite amount of growth to be done with horses on the ground and three very wily New Forest ponies that will happily show you what you have yet to learn about yourself, relationships and them.