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For years I have looked on “equine-aided”, “equine-facilitated” and “equine-guided” activities with some misgivings. In the main this is probably because these terms impute a role to the horse which is secondary to that of the human. They also seem to suggest that it is acceptable for us humans to unload our emotional or psychological baggage onto horses. In particular, I have grave doubts about the use (I use the term advisedly) of horses in programmes designed to boost the profitability of private companies and, as such, increase the earnings of a privileged few at the expense of the many. Continue Reading »

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From the day on which she entered my life, Pip has impressed upon me the need to find holistic solutions for her requirements, much as our other horses have also done. Addressing her lopsided forequarters reflected in unbalanced shoulders and uneven feet has required a combination of ongoing movement in a herd, appropriate hoof trimming, straightness training and bodywork. Continue Reading »

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There was a time when I was a “natural horsemanship” proselyte. You know the type, generally a human who insists that no horse should be kept in a stable, that they should always be kept outside in a herd without metal studs on their feet or rugs on their backs, that they should be ridden bitless, that they may only wear rope halters, and that they should be driven from behind rather than pulled from the front. Continue Reading »

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Ultimately, the type of relationship which has worked best with Pip is that of friendship. Being a friend to her is a lesson that, once learned, she has reciprocated. But what does being a friend mean? At the end of the day, it boils down to a simple four-letter word, one which I had difficulty acknowledging in my relationship with Pip until I met Michael Bevilacqua. It is this: love. Continue Reading »

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This is a lesson which goes hand-in-hand with expecting nothing. When Pip came to me, her experience of humans had been dictated by their demands and expectations of her. Instead of being allowed to live like a horse, she was confined to a stable with the exception of a few hours a day and her behaviour was dictated by force or the threat of force with the aid of equipment which would not be out of place in some despot’s torture chamber.

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