So where's the snow?

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

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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.

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Back to Blogging!

Confused hound!

I’ve finally reached a bit of quiet and some space to write and I’ve got so many ideas that I want to get down too!  Its been a hectic few weeks compared to the rest of the summer, the high point being my daughter’s visit, much chat and SHOPPING!  Even without new blogs, I had one day when I had 30 hits, there seems to be no rhyme nor reason to it.  I think I will go on Twitter just so I can link the Blog.

 As I write, I’ve got the neighbours Dalmation dog with me, who is very confused and thinks I’ve kidnapped her. Roland has been ill for a while and I’ve always said if I can help with Aika, please let me know.  This morning Lizzie herself was ill and also needed to talk to the Doctor so she rang me and I’ve had a glorious dog walk.  It was so good to get out with Doggie company,but my cynical voice said, this wouldn’t be such fun when its all icy!  Now I just wish Aika would settle a bit, she’s worried she’s been abandoned.  She’s hoovered the kitchen floor, you forget what dogs can find on an apparently clean floor!  Having seen Spotty dog in the Wooden Tops (that ages me), I’m glad to report that Dalmations really do walk like that!

The Indian summer has passed, with a fall of snow on the tops and the sycamores and larches turning gold at the same time, usually they’re a few weeks apart.  We’ve the National day bank holiday coming up, where we coould have done some specatcular walks – but not only are the high paths snowed up, its going to rain! Funny how one EU country has no trouble celebrating their land, (and they technically lost the last war), compared to our feeble washed out, scared of its own shadow UK!

Dave and I were all set to go to Germany this week for an Andrew Wommack conference, which we missed two years ago because of my working for Lois. This time, Dave’s  boss suddenly cancelled his holiday, and while I was annoyed at the time, I can see God’s hand was in it. During the time we should have been away, I’ve been able to help next door a little, and also run an EAGALA workshop with Edith and the horses, where we think we may have our first Lungau  customer. We were able to demonstrate the therapy to our sponsors from Tu Was (and I was allowed to do it in English!!!), and from the ensuing evening meeting, we have sponsorship for riding lessons for one of the Asylum seekers. Then when we watched Andrew online, his theme was something I’d been listening to on the old MP3 player while bog cleaning at the Burg!

The past few weeks have seen the end of the season at the Burg, with the last children, and a TV company filming which meant the season was extended while Stef was here – still I went, cleaned and came home!  It was one of these living in the middle ages and voting out a contestant each day things.  Having watched them filming, it makes you realise what a sham these things are.  When I last saw them, the two last contestants were knocking seven bells out of each other in the Hof with padded sticks…hmmm.  Just one more day this week to tidy the last bedrooms then finish.

I still havent really decided about next year. I’ll say I’ll be back so I have the option.  I did really blow it a bit with Erna too! We were cleaning the Rittersaal and I had to do another room, and I asked if she needed me again and she said no, so I wandered off, only to get shouted later because she expected me back to help after I’d done the room. Michaela confirmed I had said the right thing in German too!  Maybe just a miss understanding but quite honestly, I have no respect for the woman any more – it’s when you respect someone that its stressful. If I have to work with her again, I’ll just ignore her as we’ve done the end of this season.  I also went to the Docs, to find that my cholesterol is finally ok, but my thyroid is on the blink again – hence the extreme tiredness this season.  I wish I’d been able to see him sooner. On the higher medicine, I feel great, but of course I’m not working either. I’ve also managed to have a stinking cold and cystitis, which needed horse pill size antibiotics in the past couple of weeks too.  Not to mention the Panda having a major illness.  It was some speed control box, which was causing it to hiccup.  Dave’s still convinced I was imagining it, but the guy at the garage tried it with a bx from another Panda and it was ok.  Hence a huge garage bill too, but at least  Dave has a very small pension coming – if the Prudential can just get their system to accept our account number!

Well Aika has now been rescued and we’re going to have another round this afternoon -she’ll probably refuse to go with me!

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EAGALA at last- yaaaaaaaaaay!

Our partners, Avarkur and Lucca the Icelandics

Last week Edith and I  finally began our work  under the Tu Was project.  After so many set backs, delays and  frustrations, we collected our first little group of four from the Asylum Seekers’ Hostel in our cars. We can get their bus fares paid, but we have to take the money to the Hostel, collect the used tickets and then take them to the Caritas office and get a refund – completely impractical, so for the first few times we’re collecting them and maybe it will sort itself out.

We began with some grooming, just so they could have their first contact in an unthreatening situation.  One girl (the 15-year-old translator) was dabbing delicately at the horse, scared of the dirt and  hurting it.  Two other kids cleaned just the tummy, keeping away from the head, but they all quickly relaxed and got into it.  Unlike most situations, we know nothing about these people except they have been through some sort of trauma to be there. We cannot talk to some of them as their German is limited and we rely on one of the group translating.  They are mostly children and mothers with a few teenagers, I would be a bit worried with younger men, but I don’t think they would come. Asylum seekers have such a negative press these days, but I hope I’m seeing them just as people to help, faith and culture are irrelevant.

 All became accustomed to the horses, so we lead them over to the school, freed the horses and asked them to collect a horse and bring it to us.  We did make the mistake of giving them the headcollars, we should have let them choose how to do it – well it was our first official session too!

The small girl got quite upset as the horse repeatedly walked away from her, then when she came over to us, he followed her.  I asked her what had happened, and after trying so hard not to prompt her in my bad German, she realised she had achieved her goal, having brought us a horse and was thrilled.  The boy was more concerned with working out how the halter fitted, but eventually to his joy made it.  Grandma helped our translator and after doing  the task herself.  She was  talking to the horse and I saw her smile and surreptitiously give the horse a kiss on the nose!  She was adamant she has never worked much with animals, but I would say her body language belies this – but maybe it was only donkeys!   The translator also achieved with some help from Grandma, and was so pleased she wanted to do everything including  riding back to the Hostel! 

We did a leading exercise with cones, but our younger horse read too accurately the boy’s body language and ran away as he was asking her to trot, so we had a break.  After that we did Life’s little obstacle, where one horse quite happily walked over the pole while they were trying to get the other over and they missed it.  They couldn’t keep quiet, but achieved it easily.  We then took the horses away as they were both becoming a bit uptight, it was their first full session too!   The group was so excited, it was so much fun, the only negative aspect was the formerly full of confidence girl  lost it around the horses.   They all signed up for next time, lets hope they will come. Coming with nothing, we’re also having to find some of them  shoes and jeans, to protect them a bit.  We will also never know if they’ll be suddenly moved on, and so have to treat each session as an entirety.

Under their situation in the Hostel and language difficulties, several of those who said they’d come to the first session didn’t, Doctors appointments, something to do, or maybe just fear held them back.  Hopefully the experiences of our first group would encourage the others.  I would so like to find out their stories but as yet feel unable to ask.  Next time, we’ll repeat the haltering with any new guys, then try to get them to find a metaphor the in obstacle for their lives, or we’ll suggest one and try to go a little deeper.

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It was a slightly better day with Erna today.  I’m still having to learn the lesson of returning evil with good and living at peace with all.  However, today I got my head down and worked and tried to be calm.  It was exhausting but it all really didn’t matter because yesterday, Edith and I had our first customer!  I wont be blogging many details because of confidentiality unless something special happens and I’ll get permission.  Suffice to say, it was  a more traditional riding/lunge lesson, but it was so goo to teach and interact with the child and Edith and I worked as a team, did an evaluation after, it was just sooo good!  For the first time,for months I was so relaxed I fell asleep in front of the television!

Then today was the icing on the cake. Edith and I have our pictures in the Lungau Nachrichten (news) and a good quote.  Lets hope the work comes piling in!  We have to wait a couple of weeks before we get the documents (and funding!) from Tu Was and then we can work with the Asylum seekers but what ho, We’re doing more meetings with some psychotherapists and its all good.  Thank you God!

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Disapointments and FRUSTRATION!

Good times, sadly passed!

This Blog is slightly out  of order, but I wanted to publish now!  Today was due to be the second lesson for our one and only candidate,  Edith and I were ready for her and she never turned up, nor did her mother respond to my phonecall.  All she had to say it was too expensive, or I can’t come, or something. Now I have to face her at work to our mutual embarrassment. Edith was saying so Lungau, all’s ok till they have to part with the cash!

Yes, I was frustrated and upset by this, but the worst was just being back at the  yard.  Familiar faces and meeting with some dear friends. There was a woman there who had ridden with me and others, and they asked me questions and for help, and it was all so familiar. One pony mad 8 year old, (so shades of me), was hanging around and asking questions and itching to ride again.  I’d seen her earlier have a tantrum and didn’t rise to the bait and give her a ride, but would like to see her ride and find out what the problem is.  Then I saw a girl who I had started to ride, a nervous girl who I think is pushed by  her parents and may actually not want to ride.  She was put on a youngster who naturally reacted to her nerves and I could see she was having trouble controlling him.  All I have taught has been lost with her sitting on the back of the saddle with he hands in a vice-like grip.  After the ride, Lois shouted at her for her nerves, and after feeding her horse decided to roll.  She was terrified so I took the little blighter and turned him out for her, I hope it helped.  I just want to help these kids, teach them to enjoy riding and be safe around horses, all this Icelandic tolting and passing doesn’t interest me.  It produces riders who ride badly with no appreciation for the horse as all they seem to want to do it belt around the place as fast as possible.

I’m sure God has a solution for me. Today we met a great Physcotherapist who was really on the ball, asked me for an example of how we work and really seemed keen – except for the problems of finance as she is partly funded by the government. Edith and I planning some ‘Schnuppertags’ ie trial sessions for people just to try us out, maybe that will help.  The money from Tu Was still hasn’t arrived…….