Is it ever too late?

I turned sixty-five last month, an age when you’re meant to retire graciously, or that’s what I have always believed.  My dad retired at sixty-five with no plan to do anything except stop work. I suggested he write a book, so he did.  I have a copy on my bookshelf. He died only seven years into retirement, so just the one book.

Now that I am sixty-five, I have started a new job. Someone told me the other day it was a long way down from the pinnacle of success I had known in my earlier career. They couldn’t be further from the truth. What is this new job? (Erm, I am still writing stories! My new job is part time) I have started working in Equine Therapy. Horses helping people basically. It is something I have wanted to do my entire life. 

To know how monumental this is, you need a little background

I was horse mad as a kid and it’s never left me.  I didn’t have my own horse growing up, I rented them on the weekend. I longed for one and every birthday wish, every first star, I wished for a pony. I wanted to be like those kids in the stories who rode to school and went on horse riding adventures, belonged to pony clubs and won ribbons at royal shows.

Just being anywhere near horses sent me into another stratosphere. I was happy mucking out stables, anything just so I could smell horses. Horses were my confidants. They knew all my deepest secrets and shared all the pain in my young heart. Horses know how to listen, they understood me.  They are creatures who live in the present, in the now. They don’t care how you look or what you wear.

“Horses don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Pat Parelli

My horse madness meant that all my friends had to come riding, my husband had to come riding, even my boss and his family had to come riding. We rode every weekend until the children came along. Then we had one pony after another, just so they could experience being near horses.

Horses bring healing and wholeness in a way that not even dogs can. Dogs, like us, are predators although unlike us, they love unconditionally. Horses are not like dogs, they are prey animals, more like a deer than a dog, you have to win their hearts. 

My early career involved working with young people, and I tried to get horse programmes into what we were already doing. Equine Therapy wasn’t around and my crazy ideas were shut down. I knew if we could design some sort of programme with horses and young people, change would happen. Now, at the end of my working life, I have been given the opportunity to do just that.  To put young people, indeed any people, together with horses.

There are Equine Therapy programmes popping up everywhere these days, some working with people on the Autism spectrum, some helping people suffering PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and many other areas. People are experiencing recovery after participating in horse programmes. Who knew? Not that it’s all about anxiety or depression or recovery from trauma. Some need to build confidence, some are lonely, some are sad or frightened.  For some it’s a corporate team training day.

The programme I am working with, ‘Horses for Humanity’ is in the exciting early stages. I am thrilled to finally be doing something I have wanted to do for as long as I can remember and the Director just happens to be a lifelong friend.  It doesn’t get any better than that.

I invite you to have a look at the website here: horsesforhumanity.com.au 

My soul mate Jack

11 thoughts on “Is it ever too late?

  1. Who knew? Indeed dear friend, we’ve had 30 years of dreaming crazy dreams and having a blast along the way … who knew? I am certain the best is yet to come in every way! It is interesting, the concept of where the pinnacle is … whether we have reached it yet or fallen from it? Does it matter? Really? I’m convinced that there will always be people needing to meet ponies, and there will always be stories needing to be written. I’m so blessed to have my best friend, the writer (and all round wonder) join me with people and ponies in a paddock! Perhaps the pinnacles are for those who need them … maybe one day we could get a pony and call it ‘Pinnacle’!! 🤣 Who knows!!!

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    1. Now that’s funny! A pony named Pinnacle. 🤣 We could rename Snowy ‘Snowden’ that’s a pretty high pinnacle. So blessed to be working alongside you dear friend. Happy Birthday for tomorrow!

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  2. What a wonderful and full filling job to do. Can you even call it a ‘job’ when you will obviously get so much love out of it. My family had horses. We were brought up with Jake, Prince and Silver. We also had Clydesdales, quite a few as we had horse draw caravans which we hired out for people to holiday in. These Clydesdales were gentle giants. They could be stubborn and flighty at times but I also saw them be gentle with children and instinctive with a groups of blind students. Horses are amazing creatures and you are amazing too. Good luck with this exciting adventure Rhiannon xx

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    1. Thank you for your very kind words. It constantly amazes me how instinctively they behave with children My husband’s horse is a punk to me and then he turns into a gentle giant with 4 year olds. I’ve always wanted to have a caravan holiday with Clydesdales! It’s the Gypsy in me.

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      1. One of my favourite holidays, was taking our kids to the SA York Peninsular and getting away in a horse drawn wagon. The kids each had a riding pony too. Wow Polly Warren, that brought back memories from the early ’80s.

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  3. How wonderful that you have something meaningful to do in your ‘retirement’ – and I mean MEANINGFUL! We are ready to receive the gifts of equine therapy right at a time when you are able to devote yourself to it. I grew up with horses and my daughter has 3 now – she has this amazing way of communicating with them which I think is called ‘horsemanship’ and may even be Pat Parelli. This wasn’t even invented back in my day and the horses suffered for it I believe. I’m so excited for you – bringing all your experience to this new venture. And I’m glad you reached out and we have connected! BEST WISHES with it 🙂

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    1. It is quite wonderful. We discovered Parelli Natural Horsemanship fifteen years ago and haven’t looked back. Like you, I wish it had been known when I was young. Poor horses. We are on hold here in Victoria, but the programme is ready and waiting with people booked in. Plenty of time to devote to writing and learning to wrestle the demons, lol. It’s good to connect with like minded people. All the best with your writing too. I highly recommend Jen Storer’s ‘Scribbles Academy’ for freeing up writers from all those things that keep us frozen. Open for annual intake this month. I joined last year and it’s the best thing I have ever done. (Take it from and online course fiend). I’m looking forward to reading a piece from you soon.

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      1. That’s brilliant. The Duck Pond is a very supportive place to be. Jen’s courses are very freeing and I am still dipping in and out of Scribbles. Jen is about to do monthly live rounds. If you look her up on YouTube (Q and Q Friday’s) you’ll get an idea of what it’s like.

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