The sensitive and accepting yet vulnerable and powerful nature of a horse can be used to provide healing and enrichment for humans from all walks of life. We call it “horse power”, and there are many wonderful programs where great things are happening through purposed horse interaction. Enjoy the stories of miracles happening every time a horse interacts with a human in a variety of Therapeutic Riding programs and Equine Assisted Therapy programs in SLO County.
Lyle Thomas is absolutely hooked on being a part of the SLO Sheriff’s Posse unit. He recognizes the unique team approach the horse offers to the Search and Rescue operation. “The horse is the first to sense something different. Horses have more acute vision, hearing and scent and seem to know when someone is up ahead before we do.” Sharon Jantzen meets up with Lyle at a local event and brings us the excitement, fun and camaraderie of the SLO Sheriff’s Posse unit.
From the tack room, McKenzie carries an armload of bridles while Gentilini balances a kid’s saddle on each hip. Both smile and joke with their students while navigating the herd with precision. Statuesque, tanned, and confident, the two young women have just celebrated their third year in business. Erin McGee introduces us to two go-getter ladies: Justine Gentilini and Michelle McKenzie of Hanging Heart Ranch in Templeton.
Many times, mental barriers are at the root of truly feeling that natural ease and joy with our horses. The range of thought patterns and processes that accompany our best riding efforts can be tricky territory and difficult to navigate on our own. Eventually, even the best rider will need a second set of eyes, and perhaps a different point of view, to overcome certain obstacles – remember, “even trainers have trainers”. Katja Elk, an equestrian and life coach, will be addressing these issues to help riders unlock mental blocks holding them back.