Now those of you who have been really paying attention will have noticed in the last blog the slight change in the title…did you notice? I choose to do that because the differences in agenda can be quite subtle from one person to the next. And now I want this blog post to be all about yours.
When I went to my first camp, organised by a riding club, I was asked to go along by a friend and have to confess, I had to push myself to go. I was running my riding school at the time and taking a whole weekend out seemed like madness. But to say that one camp changed my life is an understatement. Not only my life at that time, but my future. But at the time, all I wanted to do was go and have some fun with one of my horses!
But why do you guys come to camp? What’s your agenda? All of us have different dreams, goals and desires and our horses shape many of them. But I am guessing…in fact I know…that many of you come just because you want to have a holiday and spend some time with friends. But I think secretly, (at least until I set up on you with a goal setting talk!) we have something more that we want to get from camp.
For me I wanted to escape from the pressure of day to day life. I wanted to remember what it was like to just have one horse to focus on, because all of mine back home needed and deserved my attention all the time and I did my best to give it to them. But you can’t beat one to one time with a horse.
I have had people come to camp and spend their entire weekend in the stable or grazing their horse in hand, even sleeping with their horse just because they needed the therapy that horses give you. Would I be right in saying that when you’re with your horse, riding, grooming, grazing, just hanging out – something about your world changes? Do you start to forget the rubbish things in life that get you down – like the state of the house, your idiot boss, how you’re going to pay the rent? This year so many people said that by the end of camp, they’d almost forgotten the devastating effects that Covid-19 was having on the world. But isn’t that what horses do for you if you let them?
And whilst at camp, what do we give them? Perhaps something that we just don’t have normally…our time. Life takes over when you’re at home. It might seem a bit selfish if you spend 4 hours hanging out with your horse in the evening when you’re kids are waiting to be tucked into bed at night! But at camp, you have those 4 hours in fact you have a whole 48 hours or more! And for those of us not lucky enough to live with our horses, how cool is it to go muck out in your onesie? Kelly? Jenna? Hahaha. These ladies have special camp onesies! I love it! We may even have a photo to prove it…
For me the very best time of night is just before lights out. I get to go and check on your horses, give them all reassuring scratches and to just breathe with them. I get to see who they’ve made friends with, how settled they are and watch them do cute things like pass hay to their neighbour or nick hay from someone else’s! But I also get to see you guys relishing in that time to just look at your horses, watch them, kiss and scratch them. I see you lost in your own thoughts with gorgeous smiles on your faces, just appreciating them. Isn’t that time so special? And I don’t know about you guys but the bond I have with which ever horse I bring ( I still have 8! ) grows so much in just that short time. Let’s face it, if life didn’t get in the way so much, wouldn’t we all just spend every minute with our equines?
Maybe you come to camp to learn about your horse and what he can do, six or nine hours of lessons is quite intense and I think wonderful for progression. But how many of you come expecting to see a change in your horse and go home seeing a massive change in yourselves? I see so many of you grow in so many ways. I see people relax and really let go of life’s stresses. Confidence starts to ooze from pores that were frozen solid with fear! Friendships – now this one really gets to me – form and develop that I just know are going to last for a long, long time. It’s happened to me. Some of my closest friends I met at camp! And the truth is, I’ve been scared of people for a lot of my life so friendships have been hard for me, real friendships I mean, like those I have in my life now. And all of them are with people who have a passion for horses.
I also seen massive shifts in attitudes. People are so good at criticising themselves. They beat themselves up, they worry about everything and I swear they have forgotten that they can actually control a 600lb animal – that alone makes them awesome! But many people come with low self-esteem, subtle though it may be. I’ve been studying human and horse psychology for years, I kind of have an eye for this now and I think once you’ve been there yourself, you recognise it in others very easily. So to see this gradual transformation in such a short space of time, means so much to me. The encouragement everyone gets, the support when it goes pear shaped, the fun, the laughter and the letting go of all of that negativity is palpable! Like a cloak lifted from the back of someone who has been shrouded by it for so long it’s made them stoop. But now they’re standing tall and proud, knowing that they’ve got this, they can do it, they are good enough for their horse. They know that baby steps accumulate and they can achieve.
I think the point I’m trying to make in my long winded waffling, is that everyone comes to camp with their own agenda, and that is exactly as it should be. It’s about you. You and your horse, you best friend that you just don’t get to spend enough time with.
So what’s your agenda? Are we helping you to achieve it? Can we do more to help? Do we hit the target you set us? I’d really like to know because you guys mean a lot to me and I want to be of service to you in the best way that I can be x
P.s. Maybe next time I’ll tell you a tale about how you guys have helped me to realise something that I never thought I would x
Hey Folks, I'm Lorraine and the picture is of one of my horses Tara - in our office! I really am the luckiest person alive to get to do what I do.