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  • Kathryn Hulland

I Learned.......


I was reading the quote in this photo above nodding away thinking yes yes yes it's saying my thoughts, I got all excited as I always love it when I come across people who think like this. I looked to see what wonderful person wrote it, I should've known it was Ben Hart (hartshorsemanship.com) one of the few that seem to really understand horses, people, how to handle each of them and say it how it is!

These words resonated with me so much not just because that's how it is with our horses but also life as a whole, my fibromyalgia taught me that with the help of my own healing journey and learning how to accept it, it no longer rules my life I rule it.

"But only one step at a time you can only do what you can do"

A few years ago I could not accept this and it would make my illness worse, I wanted to do it all and couldn't accept my body was no longer allowing (there was a time when I worked full time, helped run the Dartmoor Pony Training Centre training and rehoming the ponies as well as lots of admin which was almost a full time job in itself; I had up to 5 of my own horses and ponies and was also a Police Special – and not forgetting the amount of party nights)! Is it any wonder my body eventually said no, but I loved doing all this and didn’t want to stop. I would fight and push until in the end I could no longer move and would end up stuck in my bed unable to do anything at all - what use is that? I have thankfully found the balance and accept "But only one step at a time you can only do what you can do" - it did mean changing my whole life but it was worth it to be doing what I am doing now healing with the horses.

Using this example with horses we need to remember if we push too hard, keep asking the same things that obviously aren't working, get frustrated because we believe or were told it would work, keep listening to those people who "know best" and ignoring our gut we will hit that brick wall like I hit my bed. Acceptance that you can't do it all, there are other options and different ways to look at the task at hand, it is ok to stop and walk away if today it is not going right and that there are always other days is the best attitude to have that will get you to where you want to go, and that place may not actually be where you expected!

When I accepted my illness my life changed, I am still restricted at times but not in a bad way, in a way that I am in tune with my body to know what I can and can’t do and as a result I can do more of what I love – it certainly makes you prioritise "doing what can be done is all that is required to continue on the road to a better life"

  • ·I learned to listen to my body - listen to your horses – I mean really listen;

  • I learned to not give in to peer pressure to do something if I felt it would upset my health balance- learn to not give in to peer pressure and the “know it alls” if they insist they know best but it doesn’t feel right with you – your gut talks a lot of sense learn to hear it and act on it;

  • I learned to say no to people, that was difficult I felt like I was letting people down but my health comes first I am no use to anyone broken - learn to say no if something doesn't feel right, you may feel it lets someone down or you may feel embarrassed if you have to back out of something but if you carry on you're only letting yourself and your horse down;

  • I learned there is always tomorrow - you and your horse always have tomorrow what's the rush? It is ok to walk away from today’s goal if it doesn’t feel right to keep going there is no such thing as “the horse has beaten me/won”; revisit and look into whether there are better ways to go about achieving your goal, can you break it down in to smaller steps or ask someone you trust and believe in to help.

  • I learned to take things slowly one step at a time it will work out with patience - be patient with your horses and yourself in addition be kind to your horse and yourself.

  • I learned to walk away let go of what wasn't helping me – a bit like there’s always tomorrow if something isn't working walk away and rethink and let it go don't beat yourself up and let frustration take over insisting it should have worked, we and the horses are all individuals with our own pasts and idiosyncrasies.

  • I learned it's ok to take a break and just be - try that with your horses sit in the field with them, in the stable and just feel their presence no pressure or goals.

  • I learned to be flexible with myself and my time depending on what my body is saying - be flexible with your horse, today may not be a good day for them. We have days when we feel off colour so do they


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