Girl on the edge

Im breaking my wordpress hiatus to share a incredibly moving and true story based on a teenager who through the powerful intervention of equine assisted therapy overcome abuse and exploitation through social media. It demonstrates how equine therapy reaches people on so many levels.
The trailer can be viewed here:
Film Review:
Girl on the Edgewas written by  Joey Curtis (“Blue Valentine”) and Directed by  Jay Silverman (Co-Creator of A&E’s “The Cleaner” with Benjamin Bratt).  The film stars  Taylor Sprietler,Peter Coyote, Gil Bellows,  Elizabeth Pena, Amy Davidson, Mackenzie Phillips and Amy Price-Francis.
SYNOPSIS:
GIRL ON THE EDGE is the powerful true story of HANNAH GREEN, a teenager struggling with the aftermath of a horrific trauma caused in part by social media, and the old wounds from her childhood that it reopens. Despite her resistance, she is sent away to an oasis of healing called “Maheo” that uses innovative techniques like equine therapy to empower its troubled girls
With the help of an eclectic group of mentors, peers, and a bond with her horse Betsy, she starts to invest in her own recovery and overcome this powerful rite of passage.
In the UK the film can be purchased on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B06W53BRX1/ref=dp_mv_of_dp_1/261-9892319-8823522

Now I don’t ever share things like this, well there haven’t been any mainstream ones, apart from the “Horse whisper” which was a story of strength, struggle and healing but for horse and human. But this movie parallels so many girls stories of how they came about equine therapy and powerful it was for them in their own journey of healing.

 

 

 

Biscuit and team Horse Resource

So its been a long time since we posted on here, as we have been busy developing the business and building the website ready for the now completed move to our new home in Devon. Bye bye London hello country life! We are super excited now that our website is fully working and the link is http://www.horse-resource.com. Find out all the information on our retreats, holistic horse rides and kids unicorn parties as well as our personalised special needs programmes which is the core of what we do but is helped funded by the parties and horseshoes!!

The MEDIA section on our website is directly linked to our instagram, now “horse resource” but previously “biteofbiscuit” and is updated several times a week with all the action from team HR. The team now consists of 4 horses, 3 of which are rescues/projects who were in need of rehabilitation and some TLC. Jay and Biscuit predominately do the ridden therapeutic horsemanship with the new girl Florrie 9year old (14’3 cob x Coloured) and Rocko 7year old (16’1 ID x WB Bay) who is for me to develop to Event as well as use in the ground work and grooming sessions.

Biscuit has been a busy boy and had his 1st “Unicorn party” at our new site last week with great success. This has followed on from a busy year for him between therapeutic horsemanship programmes for his private disabled clients, visiting the Learning Through Horses Equine Assisted learning centre to partake in there groundwork programmes and having lots of adventures with the HR team. We have loved our time in London and working for Learning Through Horses and Strength in Horses, and have been very excited to take on all the knowledge shared by the empowering team of ladies who were qualified in fields such as psychotherapy, art psychotherapy to osteopaths; seeing how they each utilised their own brand of equine therapy.

Biscuit is an absolute joy to work with, always engaged in whatever activity you do. He makes us smile on a daily basis with his funny quirks and cheeky nature. He especially loves a tickle and rub and is so perfect for the therapeutic horsemanship work as he is genuinely interested in all the people who meet him and has such a knowing nature. His schooling has progressed to him strutting around like a show pony on the flat, popping around a 2’9′ SJ courses and flying around the XC field up to 3″!! His next step is to be used for driving of disabled people in wheelchairs, his training for which is coming along brilliantly, he loves to strut up front on the long lines so its just a case of waiting for a suitable trap to come along so we can get going!!

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Last of the september sun

So it has been about a year since the beautiful Biscuit came into my life, and what an awesome year it has been.

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I have loved every second of working with him. He brings a smile to my face no matter what. He has also made sooo much progress that I couldn’t be prouder of how he is turning out- from a feeble, scared, scarred and nervous pony to a content, calm and cheeky little man.

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We have had a year of many ups, the odd down but more importantly he has been making progress the whole time.

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A year after beginning work with him from scratch, he was petrified of being touched let alone anything else- I now have an all rounder who has been able to brighten up the lives of many children and adults all ready. I love the fact that he loves people so much, he wants to be involved in everything and loves a good old scratch.

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Most importantly he has the easiest nature to work with, apart from getting quite frisky in the field with the ladies he is a pleasure to work with in hand and ridden.

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He has already taught 2 children how to trot and been able to participate in lessons at other stables and settle right in. I am able to hack him out alone or in company which when I think of how nervous he was of cars, lorries and bikes its an incredible achievement. I also love how well he gets on with my big boy and how easy they are to work together on the ground.

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I feel incredibly fortunate to have Biscuit in my life and cant wait to see where we will be in another years time! Hopefully he will have a competent little jockey to enjoy taking him out for PC activities as well as being in equine therapy and THR lessons.

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School Holiday madness

Apologies for the long period of inactivity- I have had a wonderfully busy, diverse school holiday period.

Bath time

Bath time

We ran our 1st Social horse camp for adolescents with Autism at the “Edge Stables’ ran by Strength in Horses and Learning Through Horses charities. I am a program co-ordinator for Learning Through Horses and had a brilliant time helping with the summer programs.

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The social camp was a success, with a markable improvement in confidence, self esteem and decision making by the end of the week. The course involved a mixture of horsemanship skills, equine therapy ran by Dr Jemma Hockley and instruction based activities as part of equine assisted learning all designed to benefit the participants cognitive, emotional and behavioural functioning.

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I have also been really busy with Biscuit who has come on leaps and bounds. He has had a busy summer with lots of friends and their children doing different activities on him. I am also super proud of him as I took him to his 1st show yesterday- Barnet Lane- to do clear round jumping.

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He was such a star and took the show environment in his stride and was great in the jumping ring. He was slightly nervous when Jay left him, as we had hacked them down together, but soon got the hang of it.

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It was quite a tight course and he still struggles to collect and work round the corners so we missed a few jumps the 1st time but he wasn’t spooked by any of the jumps and went round clear the 2nd time : )

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He was responsive and listen well to my aids, coming back to trot in the corners so we had straight lines- he tends to lead with his shoulder round corners so it can be easy for him to drift past a jump unless he is brought back to trot and rebalanced on the corners. He was really so easy to get round though and should be a perfect pony for a child to do pony club activities on as well as equine therapy!

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I am trying to give him as many experiences as possible so that new situations and people don’t effect his performance. I look forward to getting him out to XC training soon to!

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Whats your desire?

Wise words by the awesome Alan Watts, with a fittingly horsey theme!

Click on the image for the full comic strip… which brilliantly depicts my desires.

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Source (The spirit science)

Whats the point in doing something for the sake of it, for the sake of money. Spending your whole life chasing something when you could have it all along. If you take the leap of faith, everything will work out and you will be immensely happier than if you didn’t even try.

The wonderful month of July

Apologies for the online inactivity- July has been super busy with the children I work with now on school holidays and me being on holiday at the beginning of the month : )

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Biscuit had a gentle two weeks whilst I was away apart from a few schooling sessions with my instructor and gentle hacks with my mum. He has been pretty full on since then though…

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July with its warm weather and light evenings have meant all my friends suddenly want to come and ride the boys!!

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So they have had lots of beginners or friends who used to ride tootling around and out for hacks with me!

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Both Jay and Biscuit are always so gentle with beginners not doing more than they are asked.

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Biscuit has had two little jockeys who had their 1st trots on him this week which was sooo nice to see!!

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Since my holiday both the horses have been spoilt with new saddles and all new tack in Jays case!

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He had the same 2nd hand saddle for 10 years which I get re-flocked every 6 months and is great for jumping but makes me slouchy when schooling! It now feels like I am riding a new horse and I cant wait to get him out to some competitions! I am also super excited by my sparkly new hat!!

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Here are a few photos of Jaybe looking smart in his new tack!

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I never manage to get any good photos whilst riding so was really happy to have a friend who was snapping whilst on Biscuit!!

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Chaos and control

I have a whirlwind few weeks with sooo much going on. Highlights include attending the Autism Show London on behalf of Learning Through Horses (where I work 2 days a week as a program coordinator). LTH has been really busy lately with a sucecesfuly open day taking on more clients for the next school year : ) It was great to visit the Autism show and get the word out on the great benefits of working with horses for people with autism… benefits include improved socialisation, communication, motor skills and reduced maladaptive traits. Clients of LTH currently include Ambitious about Autism & Swiss Cottage, where we provide instruction led ground work programs. It was also fascinating to hear all the up to date research in the autism field, learn about Lego therapy!?? and find out more about autism provisions in our area- the autism show really highlighted the diverse range of services supporting the autism community.

As well as working for LTH I have been busy doing private sessions, my job with Mad Science (science clubs and demos for children) and the personal development work with the 2 wonderful autistic boys AND working on setting up Horse-Resource, to provide Equine assisted therapy/ learning services and consulting. Horse-Resource is supported by my MSc research into The effects of equine assisted activities for improving social functioning in children with autism.

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Back to Biscuit, who has had a rather wild few weeks. He has been a bad boy out in the field, what with the mares coming in and out of season, he has been charging around and attempting to ‘see off’ the big boys!! So he is covered in kicks and bites, dare I say it deservedly so! For a little pony he certainly has a big attitude!! Now most of the time the attitude stays in the field, however, we had a slight issue whilst hacking last week, which resulted in him galloping off down a track, that me on top could fit through, resulting in some nasty looking scratches and half a tree in my hat!! That aside he has been a super star in his therapeutic ridden sessions. We had another great one today with the darling boy with cerebral palsy. We have been doing lots of no stirrup work to really focus on his core strength. We have also introduced steering and leg aids (which due to his condition is a struggle). He is doing fantastically well and is beginning to steer him independently through cones and ask (verbally) for halt and walk backed up by leg aids : ) He currently finds it hard to hold the reins and keep his body still when turning, but he is beginning to clearly ask him to bend left and right. Its great seeing his progression over such a short period of time and I cant wait to see how far he has come by the end of the program!

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I particularly love observing the equine assisted learning groundwork sessions where you can see Biscuit reacting to peoples behaviours and them having to modify their approach in order to get him to complete the required tasks! I enjoy getting clients to set up obstacle courses and then navigate it, which depending on their attributes varies, with the horses reacting to exactly what each person presents. I will be doing a case study of this on my Horse-Resource website (still in the making : |) to identify the key features of why horses are so brilliant for making people more self-aware!!

Busy Biscuit

Where to start with what we have been up to since the last blog post. Both biscuit and I have been super busy, myself with lots of equine assisted learning sessions at Learning Through Horses and Biscuit with lots of riding lessons with friends kids and some equine therapy sessions.

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Over the half term Biscuit had everyone one from 5 year olds to 14 year old boys with Autism riding to my friends uncle with Learning difficulties leading him out. He really is such an adaptable pony, changing his whole demeanour to suit the rider/leaders ability. We did a photo shoot of an EAT session for my Horse Resource website (coming soon!!) with two of the autistic boys I work with, so this post will have a sneak peak of some of those.

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Biscuit had been extremely gentle with the little boy with cerebral palsy who has been riding him weekly, we have been continuing our work which is aiming to help build up his core and balance. We have now included exercises such as rising in walk and up in to a forward seat. He finds these particularly tiring but does a great jonb at holding each pose for the count of 5. I like him to talk out aloud when we count, as it helps relax his muscles and focus him on the task. We are doing a 12-week program, so I am hoping after his next visit to the physiotherapist there is some improvement in muscle tone!

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Both the horses are getting into the lazy swing of summer, with them coming in from a night out in the field and laying straight down! I haven’t seen Biscuit laying down much, so it was great when I got up to ride a bit later yest and he was tucking himself up for a snooze and I got to join him : )

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Equine Assisted Therapy and Learning

I have been working for a few months at the Learning Through Horses centre in Edgwareberry, North London. I have loved getting stuck in with the various groups they have… Employability skills for at-risk youths as well as Equine Assisted Learning for adolescents with Autism. It fascinating to see each week how people without any prior knowledge of horses take to handling them, learning about non-verbal communication and body language.

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(Source: Equus magazine)

The sessions are based on horsemanship skills… grooming, feeding, mucking out- as well as various groundwork activities leading, lunging etc depending on their competence. They are in need of an extra pony to do equine-assisted psychotherapy for primary school children as part of the Strength in Horses charity which is also based at this site, and I am thinking about moving Biscuit there! It would be great for me to have a base where I could do more private EAL/T sessions as well as working for the charities- it would also be wonderful to see Biscuit being used regularly for equine-therapy work which is the purpose I have trained him for. There is a lot to consider but the more time I spend at the wonderful ‘Edge’ stables, makes me think it might be the right move for all of us!

Biscuit has been a super star and had another wonderful therapeutic horseback riding session with the lovely little boy with Cerebral Palsy. There was a marked improvement in the boys balance and core stability from the 1st session, with him being able to hold himself up straighter for longer and carry out various stretches and exercises both at a stand and in walk. We also did some basic work on controlling Biscuit with the reins and voice too, he was such a clever pony listening to voice commands to go forward and backwards!! There is a video clip on our BiteofBiscuit Instagram page which I haven’t been able to upload to this unfortunately.