When I was 15, I struggled with depression and anxiety. The academic rigor of school, the changes brought with puberty, individuation from parents, was difficult to say the least. Unsure of how to help, my parents decided to buy me a horse. Glory was a six-year-old thoroughbred cross, full of excitement, young, and out of control. She reminded me of myself. Glory became the love of my life. I could be sad, angry, scared, or full of joy and she did not go away, she stood right next to me, accepting me for what I was going through, for who I was. Having a horse at this time in my life was paramount. I spend long afternoons and weekends at the barn, grooming, riding, or just being with Glory. I felt a sense of accomplishment when we competitively jumped. I felt connected and strong when she followed me through the pastures. I felt happy a lot of the time I was with her. Glory helped me forget about all my struggles and remember that I was ok.

For the past five years, I have been helping young girls gain confidence and self-esteem by connecting them with the outdoors and horses. I believe this is my purpose and strength having been through it myself. This Spring with Contact With Horses, I am offering a Girls Empowerment Riding Group, Fridays from 4-6pm and recently announced my Girls Empowerment Summer Camps June 13-17th and July 11-15th, 8:30-12:30. I look forward to working with girls, exploring who they are, and connecting them to horses. What a gift I have received in my youth. I am blessed to be able to offer something similar to others.

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Love

February 13, 2011

Horses exude love. This Valentine’s Day, I am holding this close to my heart. What they have offered to me and my clients is unconditional, available love. One example of this occurred upon my return from New Zealand. My horse, Jazz, who I had not seen in five weeks, noticed me from across his turnout as I fiddled to put on my boots next to my car. His ears pricked up, his gait quickened, he assertively walked to the fence, extended his head, looked directly at me, and nickered. My heart fluttered. It was as if he was saying to me, “Hey, I missed you. Where have you been?”

Another example of this happened with one of my Contact With Horses clients this past week. A young girl that provide equine-assisted therapy for at Joder Arabian Ranch works with the same horse every time. The horse’s name is Tucker. Tucker is an elder Morgan, bay, gelding. Although the young girl did not want to be at the session, Tucker came over and stood next to her in the pasture. He didn’t do much other than just stand there, but as the girl explained all that was troubling her in her life with family and friends, her feelings of sadness and anger, Tucker stepped closer and stopped. “He’s not going away,” the girl stated. In fact, as she talked about her struggle, Tucker was getting closer. “I guess I can be ok with with all this, if Tucker is.”

Horses provide unconditional love often. No matter how dark, scary, or chaotic our lives can be, when you are with them, horses know, that right in the present moment, right here, right now, things are ok. To all the horses out there, thank you for your love, presence, and being. The world is a better place because of you.

Jazz and I

A Real Vacation

February 8, 2011

I returned to 6 degree Boulder, Colorado after having spent five weeks in 85 degree weather. I am “weather shocked.” I am glad to be back, see my animals and Rocky Mountains. Despite my desires to keep up to date with blog posts while I was in New Zealand, I failed to do so. What I discovered was that by not being on my IPad or IPhone defined vacation! I truly was so absorbed in my travels that I did not find the time or WiFi, to write on my blog, return emails, or update my Facebook content for Contact With Horses. I apologize to those of you that were looking forward to my posts, and am proud to inform you that I had the time of my life and look forward to sharing the highlights with you in future blogs. I also highly suggest to all of my readers, that when you go on vacation, turn off your phones, leave your computers behind, and truly vacate your work life for a small portion of your busy, electronic filled life. It is amazing to feel the space and quiet.