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What horses can teach us about ourselves... A summer blog series

It's late May and the afternoon temperatures are already reaching 30C or more. It's fixing to be a very hot season, so we're planning a bit of a slower summer than previous years.

Riding 4 Life has grown considerably in the past few years. Before COVID, we typically saw 3 seasons of programs with about 40 riders booked in weekly at a stables we board at in Penticton. Just three quick years later, and we now serve 70 weekly riders, 20 or more boarders, 30+ clinic participants, 10+ haul-in horse owners, 30 or so day campers, 7 interns, and 2 live in staffers at our Ranch facility in Oliver, BC. That's about 150 humans and 45 horses that are served or cared for by our team. Yikes... tallying up those numbers makes me a little light headed actually. So, a hot lazy summer might be just what we need to slow down, rest, and reflect a bit on how we got here, and how we'd like to continue this work.

Quiggly (then 2 years old) with one of Riding 4 Life's very first clients in 2005 at her facility in Port Alberni, BC.

'What horses can teach us about ourselves' has been our tag line since the very beginning of Riding 4 Life back in 2004. (That means our 20th anniversary is next year!) At the time I imagined it might evolve as we grew. It hasn't. This is still a very grounded and authentic representation of our work... and I think it's time for us to share more about the method to our sometimes apparent madness.

For starters, the bulk of our work over the past 8 years has been billed, advertised, and acknowledged as having a primarily 'therapeutic' benefit. However, what we primarily do is teach, foster, and promote horsemanship, as I see it.

Mark Rashid says, "After all, the qualities required to be good with horses are the same qualities required to be good at life in general, and vice versa." And I couldn't agree more. So let this little post be the teaser, and be sure and subscribe to our site. Beginning in July you can follow our 8 week reflective journey about what horses have taught me... and therefore will continue to teach everyone at Riding 4 Life.

When I started Riding 4 Life, I made it my mission to offer something to my surrounding horse community that no one else was offering. I saw huge gaps in what was available and decided to try and fill some of them. In fact, it was my policy to only accept beginner clients at first. Much to my family's frustration I refused to be a horsemanship professional in my area that built their business by re-recruiting existing horse owners. This was very counter cultural and not at all like the business practice of my colleagues. I wanted something that I'd never had when I was a developing young horsewoman, and I was determined to at least try and get it. And yes... I've been 'getting it' now for quite some time and I have no plans to stop.

This is the quote I selected for my tack room white board today. It's been my practice to share a favourite quote every week or two as our programs run. For the eight weeks of summer, I plan to share each quote of the week with you in a blog post as we reflect on them here in our barnyard. Let's reflect together (hopefully from somewhere air conditioned!) and consider what horses can teach us all about ourselves.


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