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Mental Health, Horses & Letting Nature in.

Updated: May 15, 2021

Last week was Mental Health Awareness week and this year's theme is "Letting Nature in." Around 20 mental health professionals swapped their office for the barn and some "horse time" at our facilities just outside Christchurch. Nature also made her presence felt in all her glory with howling winds and relentless sheets of sleety rain....just to be sure we really would let her in!

As the metaphors and stories unfolded through this short time, I was again reminded of the unique insights that each person takes away from their equine experience.

A few hours later I received this reflection from Margi who generously allowed me to share.

My Experience

Buddy’s acceptance of us

and the slow, quiet, watchful warm-up,

allowed time to still –

to be present in proximity,

but not touch.

To observe,

to gauge the mood of the individuals

and the group.

The smell of sun-soaked hay

amid sodden earth.

Blasts of wind

with sleeting, horizontal rain

zipping through the poplar stands,

flurries eddying

through open barn bays.

Feet freezing

while encased in leather-lined boots.

A multi-sensory experience

viewed and labelled

through my OT lens,

meshed with a teenage history

of an unpredictable,

sixteen-hand Ghangi,

who I was too untrained to understand.

Today was enriching and empowering;

To offer a hand

and be acknowledged and received

by Buddy

was an honour.

To calmly allow my stranger touch

and then a deep and lengthy currying,

was my privilege.

To be confident

not to have to do

or offer anything,

except praise and touch

and connection-

That was my lesson today!

Margi Prisk-Vink

This is a short account of an event that we held recently in recognition of Mental Health Awareness Week. There is no down side to carving out some time to let nature in. Thank you Margi for allowing me to share your experience.

hashtag#saltahorseshashtag#corporate coaching for success hashtag#mental health hashtag#horses helping humans # emotional intelligence

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