Going to Horse Spirit Connections to follow Olin's progress was refreshing. Unlike the other segments, the horses were the teachers at this farm. A traditional approach to horses and riding includes the mentality that , "You must show the horse that you are the boss, they sense your confidence" . Most riding stables will live by the rule that bravery around horses is what makes them listen to us. This segment was completely different because Olin was visiting the farm with anxiety and self confidence issues. At no point in time was Olin asked to assert himself in a way that would make him uncomfortable, and yet by the end of each session he was relaxed and able to communicate with the horses with ease. I wish every horse enthusiast could have the opportunity to try this – just to give them a chance to allow their communication to develop rather than force the horse to hurry through a program. Riding is always more beautiful when neither horse or rider is forced.
I was approached (what feels like a lifetime ago) by Zoë Carter, Free Rein's creator, when we met over coffee and two adorable ponies. I remember the day when she asked me a light-hearted question of whether I would be interested in taking part in a tv show about horses. I'm sure my answer was as brief as my thoughts were, "sure, let me know when it gets off the ground". This summer has inspired a whole new kind of learning, and I'm so thankful for the experience and opportunity to take part in "Free Rein".