Horses, Kids, Relationships, & Cell Phones

By November 23, 2013 January 15th, 2016 Equine Therapy


I  learned more about human relationships and in particular, how to “be with kids” in a weekend horse clinic than I have in all my years of medicine, my personal life, yoga workshops, leadership conferences, and counselors……AND…..I  must admit…. 

I just finished riding my horse…….and was on the phone the entire time.This clinic I attended was taught by Linda Salinas, right here in Gastonia, NC.  She teaches horsemanship based on the nature of the horses, a method developed by Carolyn Resnick.  In this philosophy, you don’t begin to train or ride a horse until you have a relationship with that animal.  The key elements to this relationship are as follows:

1.  Connection

2  Bond

3.  Trust

4.  Love

5.  Respect

6.  Leadership

7.  Self Esteem

There is no faking any one of these when it comes to a thousand pound animal standing in front of you.  And a horse, just like a child, may not exactly understand the words we are using, but they read body language and energy in an instant.  “Presence is priceless when we are with a child and it is critical to safety when working with a horse.  And once we have established that strong bond, we are far more likely to get them to do what we are asking of them…….unless of course, we are talking on a cell phone….

And the trust component is huge.  It implies we will not ask them to do anything they are not comfortable doing.  For a horse, it may be crossing a slat board bridge and for a child, it may be sitting in a noisy restaurant, with way too much stimulation for their nervous system, and expecting them to sit quietly and wait for their food.  It is about reading body language constantly and adapting the external environment to keep the child or animal’s internal environment as peaceful as possible.

How often in our busy lives and in our education & medical systems are we asking children to do things based on our own agenda and because we have a schedule to maintain?

Healthy relationships with children begin with the list of attributes above.  And I feel strongly that we must strive to develop these qualities not only toward the children we love, but also toward ourselves.  How can we attempt to lead our children if we do not trust and respect our own intuition?

When it comes to much of the “adult” world most of us try and fake it till we make it, but with kids and horses (and all animals), there’s no faking it.  They will call our bluff in a heartbeat.  So it is our responsibility to cultivate inner peace & strength in order to allow our children to do the same.

I leave you with my favorite quote from Linda’s weekend workshop.  “What do you have if you have love without trust… have nothing”.

Linda Salinas’s website:

Carolyn Resnick’s website:

Carolyn’s book on natural horsemanship:  Naked Liberty