A DIFFERENT WAY OF THINKING
One of the most surprising aspects of Tanya’s EAL journey thus far is how it’s changed the way she responds to horses herself. “As a horse person, doing the study and now working in the EAL field with Heroes for Humans, the way I interact with my horses is completely different. It makes you stop and think; instead of just doing something because you’ve always done it, you think more about what the horse is thinking and saying. It changes the whole way that you interact, and I think it makes you a better and more switched-on horse person,” she muses.
“Hubby’s even starting to look at the behaviours in his racehorses and understanding that there’s more behind it than just a ‘good horse’ or ‘naughty horse’. They are actually none of those things; they’re just trying to communicate a message to you. I’ve even seen a change in the way that he approaches things and interprets what’s going on, and it’s a change for the better.”
Tanya says it has been fascinating to watch how previously non-horsey clients have developed horse skills, starting from a very different place than most of us in the industry. “There’s a teenage girl I’m working with at the moment, and she’d never had anything to do with horses before she came to Heroes for Humans. She didn’t know how to hold a halter or how to catch a horse. She’d never done any of that before and she was pretty apprehensive, but over a period of time she’s developed those skills. She now makes judgements about when it’s okay to enter the paddock and when the horse is giving her the signal that it’s okay to catch him and bring him in. She’s now perfectly capable of catching the horse, grooming him, and picking out his feet.”
While riding isn’t necessarily part of EAL, this particular client showed an interest in it and has now had three or four rides on Tas (Villagem). “She’s a beautiful, natural rider; she just gets it,” says Tanya. “She’s got a lovely rapport with the horse. Not many of us have that opportunity to begin working with a horse and thinking about everything from the horse’s perspective as you do in EAL. We often enter the sport wanting to learn to ride and it’s usually more about what we are trying to achieve and wanting to do rather than what we can do in partnership with the horse.
“One of my proudest moments was when this client came to me and she said that she’d spent some time with some friends who had horses, so they were riding. She noticed some of the ways they handled the horses produced reactions that weren’t desirable, but her friends were oblivious. I was so proud that she could even recognise what was going on around her.
“It’s a beautiful way to start out your equestrian journey. It’s not to say that everybody who attends an EAL session will end up as a horse lover and rider, but they certainly will have a respect and an understanding of how a horse goes about its life. And that’s really lovely.” EQ
You can find out more about ‘Heroes for Humans’ here.
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