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Horse Sense of the Carolinas, Inc.
6919 Meadows Town Road
Marshall, North Carolina 28753

Phone: (828) 683-7304
Fax: (828) 683-6281
E-mail: info@horsesenseotc.com








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Horse Sense of the Carolinas, Inc. is an internationally recognized leader in the field of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Learning. Horse Sense utilizes experiential learning to foster life skills and character development to support positive emotional, mental, behavioral and social skills of those who may be at risk or have special issues. Having supported literally thousands of clients since 2003, Horse Sense continues to be the leading resource in Western North Carolina for therapeutic equine interventions.

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Foundation Before Specialization or, Walk before you Run

From his days studying martial arts, Parelli recognized that there are levels of proficiency in any endeavor, including Natural Horsemanship, with different skillsets developed at each level. Parelli utilizes this concept to set up his horsemanship program into levels as well. Over the years, the Parelli™ organization has created several sets of the Parelli Levels curriculum, all of which I enjoy, as I like to see the development and progressive distillation of the ideas. The first level package I trained with in 1999 included a VCR tape, pocket guides and an audio CD, which I still watch and listen to today. I am particularly a fan of the “red” Level 1 materials from 2004 and the “blue” Level 2 materials from 2005. These particular sets contain a wealth of theory and other information contributing to the learning process, material I reference often when working with new Equine Specialists or mental health professionals. The newest version is a combination of the Level 1 and 2 pack (2009) The Parelli™ home study material evolved over the years. Any of these packs, old or new, can improve your knowledge skills and effectiveness as a horseperson.

Parelli’s Level 1 material focuses on basic safety with horses and deconstructs traditional beliefs and approaches to horsemanship. Level 2 focuses on developing confidence with horses, and reworks and reframes basic principles, marrying it...

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Getting Past the Wintertime Blahs

The holidays are actually over. You have even managed to put the last of the holiday decorations away until next year. The end of the year seemed to race by; in contrast, January and February feel as if they are dragging on forever. You have the wintertime blahs. One of the defintions of blah is: "a state of weariness, boredom or a general lack of interest in life."

How do you move past the "blahs?"  First, don't wait for someone else to do it for you.  YOU have the tools to move forward. Look ahead in your calendar. Is there a vacation coming up this summer? Do you have season tickets to a favorite sporting event? Do you usually spend some time with your horse in the summer exploring new trails or even traversing old favorites? In other words, step out of the cool shadow of holiday memories, and look ahead to the warm embrace of the events that are soon to come.   

You can also help your business move past the "blahs."  Don't let your post-holiday weariness spill over into your communication with customers.  You want to be that person who perks them up; so when they get off the phone they say, "Wow, I'm really glad I spoke with [your name] today!"  Don't assume that customers are overloaded from the holiday sales rush and tired of hearing from you - continue low-level outreach.  Let them know your business is not taking a break after the holidays and is ready to serve them!

Find those bright spots in winter; create those bright spots in winter.  And the promise of spring will not be far behind. 


Match-Making Clients and Horses

One of the things I guard against, in all this talk of categories and quadrants and such, is thinking that a particular Horsenality™ is the best or only horse for a given diagnosis or situation. I want to guard against match-making the horse and the client. Although I may have suspicions about which horse is going to be a great fit for a given client, I’m almost always going to start out with that horse in a group of horses, giving the client and the horse a chance to determine for themselves what happens next! I’m interested in being open to “mutual choosing,” such as happens when the horse and human appear to select each other. If left up to simply my choice of a particular horse for a client, many wonderful learning moments might never have happened. Some of the most insightful sessions have happened when I allowed the horse to choose the client!

The Healthy Horse and EAP/EAL

One of the key questions that came up in the process of researching this book and having these conversations is: What is a healthy horse? Young or old, healthy or unhealthy, horses offer feedback when being invited into relationship. We ask them to do all sorts of things, tolerate various forms of sensory input, and even put up with situations involving a great deal of repetition. This is perhaps the more import- ant question one should ask before selecting any horse for session, certainly out of a sense of responsibility toward the horse’s well-being, but also because it makes sense that a horse cannot be fully balanced or appropriate for client interaction without being healthy, depending on the kind of interaction. So I’ll try to define a healthy horse.

A healthy horse is sound, not just in body, but in mind and spirit as well. She is getting her basic needs...

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