So where's the snow?

Muddling through life from Austria to Wales; God, life and a small black dog

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Equine Assisted Therapy workshop

Following our training for EAGALA, Edith and I decided to run another Workshop to highlight the Equine Assisted L earning, (EAL) and went for it. This time we invited  people directly, did a Facebook page and invitations, advert in the paper and in the local tourist office – result, three people and two kids from the stables.  I guess its time to re think, we either have to go down the line of going completely professional, doing more workshops, more plugging around offices and officialdom, or maybe just have an open therapy session, such as a de-stress day,or relaxation day, but do things regularly. The other option is just leave it as it is – we get occasional people coming to us.  The changing situation at the stables where there’s more and more liveries who expect to use the arena 24/7 makes it difficult with privacy  and safety. Maybe its time to move on from the horses, despite my love of teaching riding, I’m determined this time to stay on God‘s agenda not mine.

Still it was fun working through the  basic EAGALA exercises and  seeing the dynamics and personalities of our victims, no,I mean volunteers, who were mostly complete strangers to each other.  We’ll see!



Snow more snow

View restored

The skiers still seem to be burning around the pistes,there have been fresh falls of snow but down here, spring is coming on.  The Wagtails and the Black redstarts have arrived. The redstart has this song like two stones being rubbed together in its throat, both irritating and such a part of spring for me. The Martins don’t seem to be moving here, such a shame, I saw them yesterday down at the Factory, burning around the tower.

Lissie and I went and cut back all the willows that have grown up by the edge of the Mur, restricting our view of the water, trouble is I now spend even more time gazing at it from the garden or the  kitchen window!

Dave and I walked along the Murweg to Doerfl in wonderful sunshine and for the first time in ages, I actually felt I had some power in my legs, whether its the Iron pills, thyroid medicine or spring, I don’t care, I actually wanted to go on walking and not stop.  Praise God!

The cleaning job is great but I never seem to make the 15 hours, so I really need a second job to keep my end up.I could just go on in this luxury as Dave is ging to be paid full-time the next couple of months so it ends up the same, but I feel so guilty, being at home, gardening and writing! I know, some people are never satisfied!  Edith and I must really crack on and have the workshop for the EAGALA therapy and find some customers!

Life is good, thanks you Lord!!!!!!!

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EAGALA and me!

Part of any EAGALA training is taking part in the activities yourself and so I was watching what was coming up and selected what I thought would be a simple one which wouldn’t be too difficult and then my bit would be done.  So when they asked for volunteers to get a horse (s) over an obstacle without touching the horse (I may remember wrongly) , no bribing and without talking, I thought easy and was there.  So it proved, with us linking arms together and with one of the ladies walking by the horse it was easily done, the only problem was the group deciding if finished.  It was the end of day and we all went home and I didn’t give it another thought.

It was only the next day , when we met again that everything suddenly hit me as others shared their experiences. One lady had been blown away by the whole experience and I’d never noticed.  For once I had completely lost focus on the horse, I was just in on myself and getting finished, and no-one else. I had felt I knew it all and this was just a simple exercise that meant nothing.  I know I’m single-minded, and can really only focus on one area at a time, and now I was showing the traits of the old arrogance – it’s still here.  With this, I felt a little low and wanted to touch and rub a horse. 

This set me wondering, do I prefer animal contact to people?  More affection that way too, due to my untouched childhood?  Do I have a need to touch and feel?  I don’t know!!!  Then one of the horses came and started blowing down the neck of one of the trainers and I was reminded of when I first came to Austria.  Despite all my saying I’d given up horses, I was missing them as they’d been so much part of my life.  I met Edda, who took me to visit her horses and as we went across the field, this huge thoroughbred youngster came up to me and snuffled my hair and I just stood there and felt the comfort of the touch, his interest in me, and was so grateful and touched, I felt rejuvenated.  Then at the training, the Shetland pony who was in charge of hospitality came up to the woman sitting in front of me and began snuffling her – I was so jealous!  I was needing that too, then he came to me, snuffled and lipped the side of my face so it was wet – I had to laugh, I’d got double the dose!  Watching these people I was with, all touching, scratching  and communicating with the horses, I suddenly realised I wasn’t alone.  And that was the greatest peace giver of all, I’m not alone in this bond with horses and from at that moment I was at peace.  If this work can do this for me, what more can it do for those in real pain and damage? How much more when this therapy is used to start God‘s healing?

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Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Training

Horse offering therapy!

This is the third time I’ve done this – mainly so I can keep my certification renewed and it was a great chance to network and keep up with new stuff. It all comes under the banner of Equine Assisted Learning (EAL)  or Therapy  (EAT) which is becoming more widespread as therapy. Last time the training was in Austria and as I’ve said, this time was a bit of a trek.  There’s a part two in the same place this summer, but I don’t think I’ll have the cash!

We had a different trainer this time, Mickey from the USA, so she brought a whole new slant on things. It was far more tiring this time, maybe me, maybe the weather, I don’t know. The training was more relaxed, but its the first time I’ve heard so many people question the method and disagree with it.  What their final verdict is I can’t tell. There were Germans, several Americans, mostly due to the USA airbase in the area, a Dutch couple, a Swiss lady and me as the token Brit! This time, the trainees themselves were discovering things about themselves, which shows how powerful this therapy can be. There was annoyance when it was not picked up that a trainee was in tears, but I could see why myself.  It was a totally unreal situation with people watching, a disparate band of people who didn’t know each other and a task that wasnt related to this group situation.  The trainers did debate what to do, and I think they made a right decision to let the group deal with it. In real life, a parent, sibling or friend would deal with this.  My only question is that if you are providing emotional safety, is comfort a part of this?

We worked though all the standard exercises and what stood out for me, is that I step in too soon, when people should be allowed to,’follow the process’.  We also did role play and I was put in the role of the Mental Health expert which I found really difficult as I couldn’t stop watching the horses. Yet Edith and I both felt we’ve been working together on the right tracks and this has helped us to add more skills to help people.

The only thing I didn’t like was the end, it ran over and people had to go and there was no formal Goodbye, or certificate giving or even a photo shoot, which left me a bit lost. Similarly, the translation between the two languages maybe made things take longer and maybe it would have been better to stick to English or German. However, I was so tired at the end all I wanted to do was get back to the Hotel and crash out! Do look at the articles below.

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EAGALA Training

I first did my training EAGALA before I left England feeling for some reason I needed to do it, but wasnt sure why.  God needed me to do it here!  When I re-did the training here, it was bliss to do it in English! So to keep my certification up to date and my knowhow, Edith an I are off the Germany to do an update and a little networking.  We’re also sending letters to local companies and charities in the Lungau looking for sponsorship when the snow clears – at present it just isn’t possible!

I still have no idea of my working future here. I applied for a job that was ideal, but have heard nothing back.  It was 20 hours a week and flexible.  maybe I shouldnt have sent it by email. I seem to be regaining my ability to make wrong decisions!  I keep on dreaming I’m back at the Burg too, which isn’t good! The chalet job just isn’t working, this month being the busiest of the season and I only work once.  But when I chucked it, she offered me a summer job gardening at about ten hours a week – worth thinking about.  I knew somehow  she would offer me something else, and my gut feeling was always good about this – I leave it to God to make it clear!

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Therapy Horses

Before Edith and I began our work, I had quite some issues about how to justify working in Equine Assisted Therapy, when I felt that God wanted me to work for him in some way.  Ok, so he created horses, and they’re his gift to us, and they have a unique place in our society through domestication.  They need to understand us to survive.  However, I recently read an article which I cant credit because its anonymous, but the gist is as follows.

Our two Icelandic therapists

This woman is a therapist and says that even most spiritually resistant people open their hearts and minds working with the horses when they experience a moment of wonder with the them as they suddenly understand something about themselves or gain an insight into their behaviour.  She believes that horses are equipped to carry God’s message as we are, through the unconditional forgiveness and tenderness they can give to an aching soul. God has made another way to express his love and character to his wounded ones. 

That’s it! What I’ve been trying to pinpoint.  As I read further, one client said, ‘each day I go back and work with the horses, and despite how I may have been mean or rough to them, they are there again, all forgiven and forgotten,without judgement.  Horses are in the here and now, and react to us accordingly.  This is why I want to work with in this therapy, to show people God’s unconditional love through the relationship with a horse.

It also struck me that ok, you can say this of any animal.  But looking at domesticated ones, cats are aloof and use you and dogs are childlike and subservient. Horses have dignity and love, which is perhaps they are more like God than other animals.  They serve and give sometimes to death.