Sunday, April 13, 2008

a little bit about a lot of things

It's an odd springtime day - a cool wind is blowing through, and I take it we'll have rain tomorrow, but for now, the sun is shining brilliant on the bright green grass and the cats are climbing high into the barn rafters trying to get at birds or mice. The horses came from the back field when I called for their early evening session in the front. Keil Bay came with big lengthened strides. Cody followed, but Keil would not let him through the gate so he spun and waited. Apache cantered from the very furthest corner of the back field and charged Keil Bay further afield. Cody dashed through while he had the chance. Rafer Johnson ran halfway but then stopped to wait for Salina. He walked purposefully in front of her and then, just as they came through the gate to the good green stuff, did a double buck to celebrate.

Geese are flying by overhead, honking loudly.

I spent a few minutes refilling a pollen-dusted water trough and putting DE on fire ant hills and then came back upstairs hoping to get a bit more done on my novel edit. I hit a stuck spot on Thursday, wrote past it Friday evening, took yesterday off, and sailed on into new material this morning. I made sure to stop at a point where things were flying, so it will be easy to jump back in.

I wish I could adequately sum up the workshop I did this weekend with Bessel van der Kolk. The work he's done and continues to do in finding the best treatments for trauma is truly wonderful. After seeing his summation of the latest and best brain research I now understand completely the science behind equine-assisted psychotherapy with traumatized people. He made a number of revelatory statements that I wish I had in front of me. I did take some notes, but mostly I sat and soaked in his passion for the work and for abandoning the many aspects of our mental health systems that re-traumatize patients.

His focus on things like yoga, group theatre, body therapies, and other experiential treatments reminded me of so many of my own cases where I did unusual things with very good results. I spent the drive home last night recounting some of those stories in my head and remembering the clients and their journeys.

These big impersonal workshops aren't always so good, but this one not only taught me things, it renewed my spirit.

Funny little synchronicity - I sat by two women who ended up knowing a number of former colleagues from my public mental health days, and I also met a man who is starting an equine-assisted psychotherapy practice with his wife. Funny how out of close to 300 people, I ended up right beside these 3.

M. and I managed to get taxes done today, which is such a relief. I keep receipts for all horse/farm expenses and the grand total for 2007 was slightly less than 2006 but is still a staggering figure.

However... all one needs to do to let go of that dollar figure is walk outside and stand by any one of the horses. Actually, I just heard Keil Bay snort from my garret window and that single sound says it all.


Rising Rainbow said...

A two day workshop would only work for me if it was on horses. I don't know how you do it otherwise.

Kiel Bay does look content munching away.

billie said...

There are a number of things I'd LOVE to do two-day workshops on, if the space was nice!

They're all very happy to be getting time in the front field again. By the end of their grazing time last night it was dark, and I had to go get them one by one - they were perfectly willing to go ahead and shift to night-time turn-out.

Interesting - no rain this morning and blue skies. We'll how things roll.

Grey Horse Matters said...

The horses seem to be excited by the new grass we have too, it is getting harder to get them to come up to the front paddock at dinnertime. Dusty refused to be caught the other night until she finally had no other choice but to follow everyone else in. She was being a real attitude diva.
The workshop sounds interesting, did he have any thing to say regarding Post Traumatic Stress in humans that might be helpful to the horses?

billie said...

Arlene, much of the brain research made me curious - if horses' brains work the same as ours, then a lot would apply. I need to see what's out there about horses' brains!

One thing that I suspect, and this is me just shooting from the hip, is that clicker training with abused horses might be doing a similar thing as EMDR and neuro feedback does for traumatized humans.