Horses and Bullying.
Just something crazy in my head the other day while I went to the barn with my little brother.
My little brother loves my horses, but sometimes refuses to get on them. He said my new guy is a "wild horse" since Archy was scared at the time of loading. Now, my little brother is bright, but gets bullied alot. He has switched schools two times and still gets picked on.
Well, I wanted him to ride Murray the other day. But it took awhile for him to get on. Lots of "I can't!" but he got on. He walked (slowly) towards the riding ring all by himself with Murray. He did pretty well. He had gotten pretty scared when Murray would flips his head, stop, or walk faster. This is when it came into my mind. Use horses for standing up to bullies.
I told him that when Murray is stopping or acting up, he's only testing you, like a bully would be when he's bugging you. What you gotta do is sharply "NO! Stop it!". Let him know you're not scared since horses can sense that. If you're standing on the ground beside him and he's pushing his head or body into you, stand your ground, say no and push him away. Same with riding. If he decides to stop, tell him walk on and move him on because you want to go this way, and not that way. Show him who's boss!
My little brother was ok to ride by myself a few laps around without me. Murray was a angel since it was only walk work and not more.
Has anyone thought of using horses to show bullying? I think I read it online somewhere where horses were used in bully programs, but I can't find the link. I know horses were my happy spot when being bullied in high school. Just a thought.
Horses can be absolutely invaluable when it comes to helping develop an individual's social skills. They can teach confidence, leadership, patience, humility, perseverance and a great deal more.
I used to be an insecure and very shy kid, but I'm quite confident in myself now and it takes a lot to rattle me very much. No, I haven't become suddenly the extroverted person that everyone takes an immediate liking to and wants to be the class president, but I'm very "stable" shall we say? I don't doubt myself so much. It's a lifelong process, but I truly feel that horses have helped me get there.
Even body positioning can make a huge difference. When you learn to take a deep breath and half-halt, you've learned something invaluable. If your brother were to learn how to take that deep breath and release all of the tension in his shoulders, allow them to fall back, straighten up just a bit, lift his chin and tighten his core a little, he would give off an entirely different impression. His body language would show more confidence, which in turn might give him more confidence and lead others not to consider him vulnerable. Our natural fear response (whether on a horse or facing bullies) is to tense up, but that can only make things worse. When we condition ourselves to respond with that deep steady breath and release of tension, we get an entirely different reaction.
Awww that's great for your brother. Anything that will give him confidence is a great idea, and its good of you to have turned it into a lesson for him with how to deal with bullies.
I think that is a great way to boost his confidence. As long as you know he can control the situation. I will say that working with horses and working around dominant horses, that I have become a little tougher along with a gentle but persistent way to approach a difficult situation.
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Awesome post! I like Eolith's too, good info and advice! Hopefully your brother will keep riding and stand up to those bullies at school. :]
I absolutely belive that horses/riding helps to build confidence. I myself got bullied in school and the horses helped me big time trough that difficult stage of my life. I don't know where I'd be today if it wasn't for the horses.
I just sold my wonderful gelding to a girl (well, her family) who reminded me so much of myself at that age and in only a short time she already gained confidence and made friends at her new school. And not only that, she is also a VERY talented young rider! Her mom sent me letter saying, that this horse has 'altered' her life! :D
Thanks everyone! Eolith, you make some great points. I will use them in the future.
I'm really thinking about creating a bully program with horses, just need to put some thought into it to work it out.
Tell him if he can if he can control a 1,000 pound animal with only a touch of rein, bullies should be no problem. :D
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