Between Horses and Humans hosts Leadership classes for 8 weeks each summer. Each class has 10 students, and always starts with a safety check for helmets & proper footwear. Then students introduce themselves to a volunteer, telling them something about themselves.
While I was filming a beautiful girl named Prudence introduced herself to me. She said, “Hi, I’m Prudence. I’m really shy at first but I’m very kind. Once you get to know me I can be pretty crazy too.” What an amazing thing for a shy student like Prudence to approach a complete stranger and display such self awareness many adults I know couldn’t do that!
When introductions are over the students move on to body work, making sure their horse’s coat is in good, clean condition. During this grooming session two students learned how to read the signals Mari gave them. When Mari turns sharply during grooming her owner Cindy asks the students, “Now what did Mari just tell you?” They discuss how Mari is communicating that she doesn’t like to be brushed too hard.
Here you can see Eli cleaning out Mari’s hooves. He shows no fear of being next to such a large animal, and just gets in there and gets the job done. There is plenty of time for the students to pet the horses, groom them, and show them care. When Eli notices a bug bite on Mari’s belly he makes sure she gets some cream for it. However, it’s not always serious business here Program Director Barbara Slade decides a student’s helmet might be better on her head!
Students work in pairs with their horses, learning important teamwork lessons, especially how important it is to work together. When Prudence wanders too far from her partner she quickly realizes she needs to correct. The children are given direction on the next part of the lesson.
Then they put it into practice. What may look like simply walking around an arena is actually teaching the students many important lessons. They are learning to focus on the task at hand. They are learning to work together with their partner and the rest of their classmates to ensure their horse says in the correct position. They are learning how important each team member is. And they are learning how their horse responds to their actions and guidance.
At the Between Horses and Humans Leadership program children learn lifelong lessons about leadership through horsemanship.