Dear Blog

~ Animal Therapy ~

Emotional well being and why the best therapists have fur and four legs . . .

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My Four legged Therapist!

The words Anxiety and Depression have become very well known in recent years, particularly amongst young people who have grown up beside the brave souls sharing their mental health experiences, breaking down stigmas and raising awareness.

Mental health no longer sits completely on the shelf, with hardly any acknowledgment that it’s very real and very much there. Nowadays, more and more people are taking notice of it, and best all of, understanding it and making it better.

Whether you’re struggling yourself or you know someone who is, no doubt you are better acquainted with the debilitating effects of fragile emotional/mental well being.

Everyone’s story is different. But everyone’s story equally matters. . .

My own encounters with vulnerability in my mind began as a child, and transformed as I grew into a rather severe form of OCD. I manage day to day and am seeking support for managing my symptoms but despite the heavy weight that it causes upon my day to day activities, the one nurturing and encouraging strength has always been, my country life and my beloved ponies.

It is from this that I’ve come to realise how animals truly do facilitate positive mental health and it is why I’ve become so passionate about learning, studying and applying Animal Assisted Therapy in my own life.

‘Work within your strengths and natural loves’  I was encouraged!

Animals and horses do not judge, ask questions or apply any kind of pressure in our fragile moments. They simply give us their devotion, their trust, and a place to belong. To anyone feeling the disorientation of a Mental illness, that loyalty is overwhelmingly healing and a welcome relief.

It’s as though the broken pieces within us are fitted back together with an animal present in our lives. I often wonder, are they angels in disguise!?!

Their needs and feelings are akin to our own, maybe that is why we treat them in such a humanised way at times. There is a mutual understanding there. A comfort which is often hard to find when our mental health strips away self compassion.

I am hoping with each new day, that I can continue to learn all the little pearls of wisdom that Animal Therapy can bring. One day I hope to be fully trained to assist anyone in need of a four legged therapist. If not that, then maybe just a friend. The sort that puts their head beside you and with one affection gaze says . . .

‘ everything will be okay. I am here’ 

 

Milly and Bloss xx
Bloss and I – A.A.T training!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having courage

Courage can come when you give yourself a chance

Would you like to follow my adventures on instagram . . . My homepage now shares my instagram special moments and Meadow Ponies venture, Facebook page.

Writing in a little online journal of my very own has been a wonderful creative outlet. But I never imagined it would also be so confidence building. . .

To share the snippets of my thoughts, discoveries and pony adventures has given me a courage and bravery I never knew I could have in my life . . .

And now, I’m in a place to work closely with those dreams I kept safely tucked away, and make them my reality.

Whoever reads, stops by, has a quick look at anything I may post or share, truly, thank you!

If I can get there all in good time, I know you can too!

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Have courage, be kind and say yes to new adventures. You’ll know when the time is right to give yourself a chance . . .

 

 

A simple moment to reflect

When I think back to a couple of years ago, an overpowering realisation hits me and often reduces me to feel rather tearful. I felt trapped and so very unhappy back then because I was walking the wrong path.

Like a friend warmly waving in the distance, my ponies have always been there and they’ve taught me in numerous ways, throughout our ten year journey together that my path is with them. It always has been. My confidence, my personality, my courage has all blossomed because of them. Which is why I’ve been inspired to share this wonderful experience with children. .  . with Meadow Ponies, my new venture! My hope is to help children learn and grow with the gentle assistance of my incredibly special herd of ponies in our beloved Bridie’s Meadow.

I know how it feels to be shy and fearful of the big wide world. Putting yourself first seems painful and breaking free to do what you love feels frightening, because there’s always someone who frowns and shakes their head, because you’re no longer serving them.

But,

If I can help little ones see their worth and share what ponies have brought to me, then what a special thing that would be . . . there’s still the child in all of us who longs to be heard and cherished for simply being themselves.

How fortunate that ponies never judge . . . they just listen. There is such a lot of power in that, a strong healing power, and I truly cannot wait to share it  . . .

meadow ponies

‘ They give us wings so we may fly, to ride a horse is to ride the sky’ .  .  .

~ Author unknown ~

 

 

 

 

Doing what you love

A few words on taking back your dreams . . .

We all have a quiet dream that sometimes gets tucked away for while.

Maybe confidence prevents us from believing we could make it happen. Maybe it’s fear that we’re not capable enough. Maybe we are simply afraid to have a go, or even just unsure of how to make it come to light. Do we have the skills. The tools. Do we deserve to really give our dreams our full energy and devotion . . .

Staying a float and supporting ourselves can all too often take over when we venture out into the world. I’ve always seen truth in the succinct quote ‘ If you don’t build your own dreams, someone else will hire you to hep build theirs ‘ This happens so easily and before long we can be walking a path that we’re not entirely sure is right for us. . . . .

Helping others build their dreams is a wonderful thing of course, we all need support and team work. But it is only worthwhile if you’re happy to do it. If you’re working for others because you want to and are freely giving yourself to their cause.

If we are happy to put our dreams to one side, or even change our minds and focus on a new dream, then that’s wonderful . . . but if we feel like we’re losing our sparkle, losing that passion to do what we love, and feeling sad at letting that dream slip away, then we simply must address it and take action.

Horses have always been my safe place. My happy place. My home outside of home. I’ve always planned to have them closely linked into my leisure and working life. I remain grateful each day that they’re part of my little world.

Confidence can leave you fearful of pursuing what you love . . . worrying about what others think can also plummet your courage but, when a loved one gives you a pat on the back and says ‘ go and do it ‘ all manner of doubt fades steadily away . . .

My words and musings on horses and mindfulness have not flowed as regularly as I had hoped in recent months. But, a new dream of mine is busying itself and preparing to come to life, so my blog has kindly taken a quiet step back until it’s pages can regularly be filled again – and they will – because my new dream is actually, wonderfully bringing itself into the meadow and into my day to day time with my ponies as I type. Mindfulness with Horses is well and truly coming to fully fledged life  . . . I’m living what I write as well as writing what I live.

When what you love comes back to you, you have to trust it . . .  right?

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Silver linings

Calm and kindness amongst nature . . .

Something about the birdsong in the meadow, when the traffic has steadied, the tractors have finished their roaring past and the faint sound of their busy work can only be noticed from a distance . . . something then, about that beautiful bird song is so calming, so humbling and so very therapeutic, it’s as if they they’re singing just for you and you’re the only one that can hear it.

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Soft ripples and sparkling waves

 

Do you ever have those moments where things get a little bit overwhelming? You’re not really sure why? But the feelings build and build until you’re not quite sure what to do with yourself! I experienced a moment just like this recently. It’s a regular occurrence as an individual who sees the world through worried eyes. But, in the midst of my angst something remarkable happened. I was alerted to a tiny sound upon the ground, and there, quietly in his own state of worry, was a tiny, precious lost duckling who had wandered too far from his mother.

I know the meadow inside out. Each corner of the bank which drops down to the river is where the ducks nestle and start their families. This tiny, lost little creature needed some help, so, I very gently scooped him up in my hands, carefully carried him to the river bank where just as hoped, mother duck was waiting and quacking with her two other children! Her voice calmed at the sight of her infant and I placed him down beside her. Happily the four of them hobbled back into the river and swam over the ripples and floated down stream rekindled once more. What a beautiful sight on an anxious morning. A silver lining and a gentle reminder that kindness is a healer to each other and to ourselves . . .

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The magical meadow river

 

 

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Crystal clear paddling

 

 

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Afternoon Daydreams

Little day dreamer ~

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They place their soft noses into your hands, and breathe warm air onto your skin.

They look into your eyes and grow to know you, heart by heart.

They look out for you each day.

They always communicate honestly and sweetly, towards everyone. They care about each other deeply and their silent words and whispered emotions speak a thousand languages.

They are my horses .  . . They are my place, and they are my home . . .

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Grief ~ a year on

When sadness struck our meadow – the sun kept shining . . .

It’s okay to remember. It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to hang on to all that we had.

It’s okay to smile, move forwards and be brave, because here in my heart is where you’ll always be  . . .

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~ Bridie ~

1991 – April 2016

‘ Losing a beloved animal is probably a different sort of grief to losing a beloved person. But . . . what if that animal was ‘like a person’ to you . . . anything loved so much when lost will cause a crushing sound to the heart . . . but life. . . funny, muddled up, curious, joyful, sad, mysterious life always finds a way to scoop you up, dust you off, and say . . .

‘ It’s going to be okay ‘

And it really will . . .

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Fields of golden light

Spring eve wonder

 

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Sunshine in the fields

Blue bell wandering, woodland walks, sunlit skin, hoof beats upon the grassy tracks, spring breeze, pastel blossom in the air, golden fields, late evening musings, daisy faces, cow parsley bunches, riding for miles into the sunshine and beyond, towards the sparkling meadows of yellow, blue and green.

A horse life of evening rides into the sunset truly is the

 best medicine for mind, body and soul . . .

Harmony and a sense of home is restored.

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A meadow diary of spring ~

Our ‘not so’ secret garden

‘Might I have a bit of earth? . . . ‘

The Secret Garden

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 ‘ And…just like that Spring arrived ‘

Our meadow is a little piece of paradise in the spring and summer. The ponies fondly call it home and so do we.

You will leave feeling more restored than when you first arrived, despite the probability of a tired body from pony care combined with the devotion to rural pursuits!

It’s a little like farming and gardening once the meadow transforms from bare to green.  Care must be taken to tend to it’s seasonal needs, harrowing the grassland, preparing spring fencing, tidying and refreshing from the now drying mud. It’s a real lifestyle choice running a meadow . . .  but oh how I love it so.

For a very long time, I hoped for such a place to keep my treasured ponies. It came along just at the right time and for the first time in my life, I leapt into confident action to stand a chance of making it mine.

It’s funny how a place can be become such a part of your life and identity. Spring is the time we bring our meadow back to life. Hanging baskets, plant pots, bunting. It may not be a ‘secret’ garden, but it’s our little slice of magic  . . .  and it just so happens to have four beautiful horses in it to make it perfectly complete.

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Our meadow river sparkling bright
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Sunlit mornings filled with light

 

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Blossom of the valley sways

 

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Feeding our precious robins each day

 

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”

The Secret Garden

 

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Be still, heart

Taking a moment . . .

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~ Our meadow ponies ~

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I see a photograph of my beautiful herd of ponies and in an instant, all is right in the world and with myself. Their affectionate gaze as I potter around them taking pictures, followed by their obligingly alert ears, listening intently to what I have to say. There is peace felt that is unlike any other. Horses are wonderful creatures. I am thankful each and everyday that I am able to share my life with them.

I read something truly stirring just recently. I stumbled on it quite by chance. It read something like this ‘ Horses can sense your heartbeat up to 4ft away ‘  . . .

I’ve always known that horses possess a deep sensitivity. It is one of the reasons why they are such beautiful creatures in my eyes – but to grasp a deeper insight into the true essence of their powerful intuition and senses, it is wholeheartedly inspiring to me.

Horses teach you when to be calm. When to be strong. When to be soft. When to be confident. When to be brave. And they also quietly communicate when to be still . . .

In a world where a lot of frightening things happen at the speed of light, I think being still is an essential way in which we can all gain composure, courage to stand together and the bravery to carry on despite the chaos that surrounds us.

If we listen to the soft silence in which for a moment all is well, we can gather ourselves, take heart and trust that there are good things all around, subtle signs of magic under the surface, and an energy that exists beside our own. It’s gently there, waiting to restore us whenever things become a little hard to understand or difficult to bear.

Horses know not of the fears our world can bring, but they know the affect it has on us. They hear it and sense it. Yet, if you’re willing to believe, then you’ll find these sensitive creatures know how to heal and make those feelings inside us feel better when the outside world shakes our core.

Embrace those few precious moments of stillness if you can. Hold on to them.

Have courage and then steadily carry on.

With my horses beside me, I am hoping to do just that . . .

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