One of my earliest formative memories involves a horse. I had decided I was going to go down and catch old Running Bear, and go for a ride. I was about 7 years old and my horsemanship skills were very green, if not nonexistent. I had my heart pretty well set on a ride, but Ol’ Bear didn’t feel like cooperating that day. After what seemed like an eternity (but was probably a few minutes), I gave up, in tears, likely muttering something about “that stupid horse”. Little did I realize he was trying to teach me.
Over the last nearly 40 years I’ve had the opportunity that many haven’t; to come to know many more teachers, human and horse alike. Some of the humans I’ve studied, I’ve not known well, or even met; but they’ve impacted my life nonetheless. Their knack for applying the horsemanship principles that we strive to do justice to in our curriculum, to all aspects of their lives; is something I try to emulate. This approach to life is part of what I hope to be able to share with others who may not have had the opportunities life has afforded me.
As for horses, each one has been a teacher. Until around 1995 though, I’d not grown enough to learn from the lesson that was being offered. Since then I’ve become a model student, daydreaming about and applying those lessons to everything I do. It’s no coincidence that around that same time I started to learn a lot more about what life was trying to teach me as well. Embracing life as a chance to learn, is something I continue to develop, and I’m at a point where I feel an obligation to give something back to my community.
By using our horses as the basis of our lesson plan, we hope to H3LP others in our community, by saving them blood, sweat, and/or tears we’ve all shed; as they work to become better students, practitioners, and eventually, instructors in life.
More importantly though, we hope to offer the gift of time. I can only imagine where I’d be now, had I known the traits that needed developing in me—Awareness, Observation, and Patience to name a few—to fully grasp the lesson Ol’ Running Bear was offering all those years ago. It was really a microcosm of life. Things may not go as we first plan, however we can learn to apply an approach that can have a tremendous effect on outcomes. The earlier we begin to develop the qualities needed to be a permanent student of life, and incorporate these philosophies into our very lifestyle, the quicker we can get to a point where we’re giving some back.
I’m excited to be a part of Project H3LP!, and look forward to sharing more stories here on the website, and in person; and I look forward to meeting any and all of you that are interested.