Nevaeh’s Story…

Nevaeh (her name and pictures have been changed to protect her privacy) knew the importance of cleaning her horse’s feet before riding and had seen the instructor demonstrate how to do it, but to Nevaeh standing beside her new, 4 legged, 1000 lbs. friend the task seemed impossible.

But it must be done, so Nevaeh leaned down beside her horse’s foot and made the exact same motions the instructor had made. After a quick, unsuccessful try Nevaeh stood up and said, “I can’t do it.”. She expected the instructor would jump in and do it for her, as Nevaeh found she could often get out of difficult tasks by making a small effort and then exclaiming, “I can’t!”.

Instead of doing it for her though the instructor told her, “Of course you can. But you have to be assertive. Your horse is waiting for you to show it that you can be a strong, assertive leader. When your horse sees that in you, then it will pick up its foot, because then it will trust that you can take care of it.”.

Nevaeh was frustrated that her usual evasive maneuver hadn’t worked, but she took a deep breathe, thought hard about what the instructor had said, and tried again. This time Nevaeh didn’t just go through the motions, but put all the feeling and assertive energy behind it she could muster. As Nevaeh persisted she couldn’t believe it, but her horse’s foot was lifting off the ground so she could clean it out!

When Nevaeh stood up she was smiling from ear to ear and exclaimed, “I can’t believe I did it!”. You could see Nevaeh thinking of all the things she might be capable of now that she knew she was strong, assertive and brave enough to convince her horse, a 1000 lbs. animal, that she could be a trusted leader and friend.

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