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Let us Go on

Shannon and Sergio contemplating the view


Looking through my window I can see signs of new life, the primroses are along the verges, green shoots are beginning to bud and very soon lambs will be skipping around in the pastures. I love spring it is my favourite time of year.

I don’t know about you, but it seems like it has been a very long winter. Lockdown has become a way of life and I seem to be finding it harder to motivate myself, even with simple tasks. I also seem to feel very tired.

Winter with horses is also a challenge, the weather, getting them exercised and not being able to go in the fields as regularly due to the wet conditions underfoot. Most horse owners can’t wait for the Spring, and then there are new challenges like not allowing them too much grass straightaway, as it can really upset their digestive systems, so it has to be managed carefully.

The three amigos are slightly bored having mainly the yard to mooch about in, but we are beginning to make progress with Sergio learning to load into the new lorry. When he arrived here from Spain (it is a long, long journey). He has never been terribly convinced that horseboxes are to his liking since, so we have been working with him very incrementally to show him it is not such an object of horror. We had a breakthrough the other day when his greed overcame his fear and he decided without any pressure from us that maybe he would walk into the lorry to get his food. This was a huge milestone, as he can be an anxious and reactive horse to new things and trust is paramount for him and for us.

Trust is something that is so important in a relationship with a horse and people. They key to a good partnership is consistency, clear communication, patience and perseverance. Quitting is never an option even though there have been many times I have felt like it. Time also plays an important factor, horses just like people need time to overcome challenges and make progress. The most difficult thing as a trainer, as most parents will testify to, is being consistent, showing up in a calm manner, that promotes trust, even when your patience has been tested to the limits.

Sergio has been a work in progress for the last 3 years, he has quite a backstory, which I won’t go into here, but if you are interested you can listen to an interview, I gave about him called “The Business Diaries”, it is on the front page of my website

There have been many stages in my journey with him that have been challenging, but also very rewarding. He is now beginning to become a much more confident horse and his reactive behaviour is much more regulated now, although of course does occasionally show itself, but none of us are perfect, are we?

Working with him has often made me think about my own personal challenges, which often seem to overlap with his. There have been times I have felt so discouraged, that I would never be able to help him overcome his fear, and that I have just got so weary of trying.

We are all beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel now, with more vaccinations being rolled out, children returning to schools and some industries being able to return to working in person rather than online.

There is a cautious optimism, but of course we still have a way to go before we can see our loved ones, give them a hug and see our friends. We have become weary of it all and there is a lot of discouragement and in some cases even despair. Now more than ever we need to press on, take courage and believe for the best. Our thinking is very important to help us with the way we feel, positive thinking can be helpful but sometimes it is just not enough and can seem insensitive to people who have suffered losses due to the pandemic, sometimes we may need some extra help. Isolation plays havoc with mindset, we are built for relationship, the more we can connect with others, even if it is virtually, it is helpful.

So, let’s keep on keeping on, reach out to others if you are struggling, reach out to those who live alone. Helping others can really help us to take the focus of our own problems. As things start to open up again, I am beginning to see people face to face again, socially distancing outside, the horses play such an integral part to helping people with their emotional wellbeing, so if this is something you may like to experience, please do get in touch.

Finally, in the words of St Paul to the Galatians let us consider this:

“So, let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up” Galatians 6:9 (New Living Translation).

Emma Rourke

Hephzibah Horses

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