Bouncing Back from Bullying; Horses worldwide are already known for their calming nature and aid in helping people of all ages and backgrounds regain confidence and overcome a variety of personal struggles (from anxiety and depression to PTSD and autism). Here at The Saddle Camp we have the pleasure of introducing to not just our horses and how great the equestrian sport is, but also to re-introduce people to themselves and their confidence. We see them change and glow from the inside out! Our latest addition to Weekend Camps is our Bounce Back Camp. Run similarly to our routine camps but designed to help you communicate and control your dreams so when you head back to reality on Sunday afternoon you feel rejuvenated and inspired to take on your week. If you're not able to stay the whole weekend we would love for you to join us for the day, make a new 4 legged and lots of 2 legged friends and see the difference a little horse magic can make to your life!
Someone who has been there and been saved by horses is the amazing Gill Shepherd, Author of "Buddy" the childrens picture & chapter book. Here is how she got into horses and how they inspired her writing:
Gill moved with her family from England and settled in Australia when she was 5. She'd always loved horses and finally at the age of 14 her parents worn down by years of longing went to the local sale and bought one - a totally unsuitable first horse for anyone.
He was a handsome Palomino Gelding named Golden Power, a retired trotting horse (harness racer) who was unstoppable to ride. So Gill had many 'adventures' until she somehow worked out that it was the bit causing the trouble. At the first day at her local Pony Club Golden Power told everyone quite clearly that he didn't like to wear a bit and Gill was asked to leave after the first day when she asked if she could not use a bit in future. So Gill skipped Pony Club and ignored those who teased her and were mean to her about her horse (even though it hurt so much). Gill rode Golden Power in a halter and with no bit at home, on rides and to the beach very happily. She went on to teach him how to trot and jump and entered and won many hacking classes and jumping events as he was so beautiful and clever at jumping.
Golden Power was the first horse of many in a lifetime of riding and working with horses. Gill says the secret to her success is the lesson that Golden Power taught her, which is you need to really listen to them. This took her all the way to competing at High Level Dressage, becoming a qualified Equestrian Australia Riding Coach, an Equine Body Worker who releases tension through horses muscles, and a qualified Saddle Fitter, and President of Bitless Inc (the National Equestrian Association for riders, drivers and groundwork handlers who wish to train and compete bitless, bridleless or at liberty. And she's absolutely delighted to see the horses at Saddle Camp in their bitless bridles!) And then to writing her book - Buddy the Special Chestnut Horse.
Gill met Buddy through her job as an Equine Body Worker and Saddle Fitter and saw immediately that he was special. It took many years and an unhappy road for Buddy before he and Gill were together (now forever) and the journey to bring them together is the storyline of the book. The story would not have been told if it wasn't for a friend, Amy Curran, who is also a publisher, asking her to review her book "Bobby The Plain Faced Cattle Dog" which is a part of a series of books with a social message designed to help children with issues such as bullying, friendship, loyalty and acceptance based on real animals. Gill told Amy how the story about Bobby reminded her of her journey with her horse Buddy who was very insecure but would blossom when everything was right in his world and Amy encouraged her to write the story down and send it to her. The book is now a reality and is part of the Tales of Tails series. Amy and her dog Bobby, as ambassadors for Angel's Hope, travel to schools, pre-schools and libraries to read the book and help spread the word that Bullying is Not Ok. Buddy is too shy to visit schools but loves receiving visitors at home especially when they bring carrots. But be sure to bring a towel as he will thank you by licking you all over!