Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Just Horsing Around

I've been thinking a lot about volunteering.  Now that the kids are gone, I see this as a time to revisit some of the activities that I found enjoyable when I was younger.... much younger. One such activity was horseback riding.  I never had a horse of my own, but a friend of mine had two.  We rode quite a bit and I found I loved being with the horses.  It has been 40 years since I spent time around horses, but recently an offer came by to volunteer at a therapeutic horseback riding center.  Hmmm..... this seemed like a pretty good fit.  Horses and kids, two of my favorite topics.  So, I went with a couple of colleagues and attended the training on a cold Saturday afternoon.  I found that physically, it will be a challenge for me, but the training was invigorating!  I attended a demonstration by a professional horse trainer the following day (also a cold day) and learned a lot about speaking the language of the horse. 
The trainer, Kevin, was awesome!  He was very patient with me and helped me to relax while learning how to communicate with Reggie.
Here, Kevin is showing me that if I lean with my body, Reggie will understand what I want him to do without putting any pressure on the lead rope.  Lean forward and he will walk. Lean back and he will stop.  Lean to either side and he will turn. 

Reggie and I spent about an hour and a half going though obstacles on that day, and I gained a lot of confidence.  Look how the lead rope is hanging down, yet he was following me perfectly! Yay, Reggie!

Last Wednesday, I volunteered as a side-walker with an adult client.  It was a physical workout for me, but I really enjoyed it! Tomorrow will be my second time working with a client, and I'm looking forward to it.  I was sore after my first time, but it will be effective exercise for me.  Additionally, I think I will find it very rewarding to be working with the clients.

Be grateful and see the beauty in each day!