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The Powerful Impact Nature and Horses will Forever Have on Me

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Lea and Yalakom

When I was 14 years old I went through a big phase of wondering why I am here in this world and what I was born for. “What is my purpose of being here?”, I wondered. Well growing up in Switzerland in a tight system of going to school, getting educated, getting a degree and working until retirement didn’t really sit well in my stomach. Bless my teacher for getting me started with a basic allround apprenticeship as an office manager. I was able to save up for my adventure in Canada. This trip was meant to help expand my horizons, find myself, learn to love myself and spend time with horses in nature. I was never a city person and I always loved animals. 

I kind of got talked into taking the guide training program the ranch offers. Which I am glad I did. But at the time I was afraid I wasn’t going to be capable enough to become a guide. I was very shy and had my hair down to cover up my face when I first arrived here. When I first drove into this place I felt right at home. It felt like I went back in time. There was fresh air, beautiful mountain views and it looked like pretty basic simple living, just what I like. No commuting, riding trains from A to B. Everything just right here. 

Before I came to the ranch I functioned in society. Lived up to the norm and played the game. I knew how to do it and I was pretty good at it. But I felt like a robot. Didn’t shed a tear for at least 7 years. Everything just kinda became the norm. My body did not really like that lifestyle. So somehow being out here with the horses getting all these opportunities to learn and grow opened my heart. My plan always was just to come here for 6 months and then go back to study either social work or psychology. Well, since I am a person who likes to get straight to the point and find the most efficient ways to do things, I found out that whatever I wanted to do had to be able to be combined with living on a farm and using the animals and surroundings as the teachers (“social workers” or “psychologists”) because sitting down talking about “how do you feel?” just didn’t seem like it would do the trick for me or anyone else for that matter. 

During my time at the ranch I went through a lot of emotional states and I had pushed myself outside of my comfort zone a few times. I am so grateful to have had the amazing opportunity to learn hands on and have the horse teach me how to “be”. I started to tie my hair back and become more confident. Seemed like my responsible, honest and reliable attitude worked in my favor. 

My ultimate transformational journey happened when I started to talk in front of people without having a stuttering voice, black out or a total red head. This happened when I was assigned to be a mentor guide in one of the guide training programs. When I saw that people weren’t paying any attention to the guide trying to explain how to safely shoe a horse, I had to step up. I knew what I needed my students to understand not to get hurt, so I made sure they got it. I got them involved and therefore they were engaged learners. I always had high expectations with school teachers or any kind of instructors so these expectations counted for myself as well. I guess I was always afraid to fail. Which with this opportunity I was sort of forced to overcome that silly fear. I had to learn that failures are valuable and not the worst possible things that could ever happen to you. 

There are consequences for everything you do in life, that’s for sure, but what I learned on my transformational journey was : “If you don’t want to fail, you might as well stay in bed!”

Lea A., Switzerland