Lesley and I are in the same facebook group and I was really interested to hear about her business because she works with horses. So I thought I’d intrview her for my blog, it’s a really fascinating read

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So who is Lesley?

My name is Lesley and I am from Emsworth, Hampshire. My territory growing up was the South Downs and particularly between Stansted and Kingley Vale. I spent many many hours riding around with friends and our ponies all year round in all weathers. My favourite part is being on top of Kingley Vale – sometimes quite spooky for horses but just beautiful being up there.

What do you do for a living?

My work is about helping horses and their owners/guardians hear and understand each other. I help humans to become resourced and sensitive to the whispers of the horse. I also have a part-time job whilst I develop my work, volunteering at the Cat and Rabbit Rescue Centre in Sidlesham.

Have you always done this? How did you get into it?

Yes and no. I started riding lessons at an early age and used to constantly be told to ‘get cross’ with the horse, smack him/her harder and make them do what I was asking because it was really common for the horse to just walk slowly or change direction with me even though that wasn’t where I was ‘supposed’ to be going. At the time, telling the horse off used to make me cry and I used to think I was useless and no good at riding but I loved being around the horses. It was like I was addicted to horses, even though I cried a lot and was scared a lot, my world made sense when I was around horses. I now know that my truth was exactly that I didn’t want to smack them or get cross with them because it wasn’t right and it wasn’t necessary. However, I had also been brought up to be a ‘good girl’, not speak up and I didn’t want to cause trouble or disrupt the class… and because it was common for riding teachers to shout and get cross if what they were asking of me and the horse wasn’t happening, I learnt to adapt and do the best I could. I also learnt how to use the whip ‘correctly’ in terms of timing and supporting leg aids but not in anger…. so I learned to believe what I was doing was ok. Unfortunately it was very common attitude at the time in teaching of riding lessons to get cross with the students and ‘get after’ the horses. I therefore spent many many years loving horses and riding and being very scared of what I was being told to do (but interestingly rarely scared of the horses – only the situations I was being put in..). but continually going back week after week for lessons and any opportunity to be with them.

I got into what I am now doing through Basil, who was my dream horse and we shared 11 years together. After having several horses and ponies on loan, he came into my life and taught me so much, not just about horses, but about life. After he died 10 years ago I fell apart as I had no idea how much he was the centre of my world. I knew he was important, but didn’t really know the impact. It has been a long slow recovery to becoming a human being and I now have a level of peace and confidence inside that I could never have imagined could exist without having horses and particularly Basil at my side all those years ago.
What drives you forward, why are you doing this?
I am doing this work now because I think it is vital that we break this cycle of abuse that exists to ourselves as humans and animals, even though many actions have the intention of love behind them. There are so so many things I do differently now with horses and that is partly because i have developed a level of self care and love (with a lot of help!) that I didn’t have previously, together with the training and learning I have done. I can now allow myself to hear horses when they are speaking through their bodies and instead of feeling fearful or taking it personally, or putting us into dangerous situations, I can access a bag of tools, knowledge and experience, stay calm and stay safe. I want to share that with others who are in the situation I was. Who can see that their animal is scared, nervous, unresourced or in pain, yet don’t necessarily have the confidence, skills or support around them to change it for them. I want to be part of their solution to helping themselves and their horses.

What is your favourite tool or prop you love to use or couldn’t live without?

This sounds weird, but it is my heart. I now trust it and can listen to it separately from feelings and emotions.

Do you have any pets that keep you company whilst you work?

Yes, Bessie my cat. She came to us a few years ago through rescue and using the tools and knowledge I have gained specifically through Tellington-TTouch (a forward thinking approach to training, handling and rehabilitation) I have the most enjoyable relationship and level of mutual trust with her. She sleeps on my bed or my sofa when I am around, jumps off my bed and runs down the stairs to greet me every time I come in and follows me around downstairs when I am there taking every moment she can to sit on my lap or sit beside me. She is an absolute treasure and I thank the work I have learned every day because it truly made so much difference to developing our trust and relationship at the beginning when she was so scared. You can find out more about Lesley here on her facebook page

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