Patty Lasko: Day 19

Hmm. Day 19’s Challenge tip is from popular psychologist Jenny Susser. She says to use this day to do something you’ve been thinking about doing but haven’t yet found time to do.


I’m sure I have something like that. Let me think. Well, I’d like to do some painting on canvas. I like to paint but I never do it. Maybe this winter is the time. Or maybe it’s to learn more about becoming a teacher for the Horse Boy Method. I was just at the Horse Boy headquarters in Austin, Texas, the first of December and the experience was amazing and inspiring. Founder Rupert Isaacson, who uses dressage to help autistic children, says we should all think about what else we can do with our wonderfully trained dressage horses. He suggests using them as therapy horses for ourselves and/or others. Here is just a bit of his philosophy.

Therapeutic Dressage: Learn to derive the same comfort and security from the horse as the horse (hopefully) derives from you. Rather than approaching the horse as some kind of mountain to climb, it’s worth regarding him as a co-adventurer, co-explorer and general partner in crime. The best way to do this is to let the horse help calm your anxiety. Anxiety breeds mental and physical stiffness. Dressage requires looseness and relaxation. So the best way to achieve this is to address the nervous system, which is where stress expresses itself most obviously – shortness of breath, tense movement, fear, and nervousness in general. Addressing it is simple. Lying body to body with the horse – sensory work – calms the mind and body and sooths the senses. This may sound completely “woo woo” but it is the same very practical set of exercises we use to calm very anxious children with autism and very stressed autism parents in our Horse Boy Method Program. It works for them, it works for us, why wouldn’t it work for you? Once you have gone through the sensory exercises, you will find you can begin riding in a much more relaxed and receptive frame of mind.

Intriguing, yes? Learn more from his website at I am.

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