The following is the continuation of the interview with Kaitlyn Siewert of the Nonprofit: REINS Therapeutic Riding Program
What is the most challenging part of equine assisted therapy?
The most challenging part of this type of therapy for me is the emotional aspect. We as instructors get so invested in our riders, and we constantly see the positive side because of what we do that sometimes we forget the challenges that our riders face on a day to day basis. When we get a glimpse of what they deal with daily, it is incredibly humbling and emotional. These riders are not just clients, they become family to us; and when a member of your family is dealing with a road block it affects all of us tremendously.
Do you see the field changing at all?
Change is the one thing in life that we can count on 100%! This field is going to explode, I predict that in the future therapeutic riding and/ or hippotherapy will be like Physical and Occupational Therapy is now. I think it will become a science that will be studied and quantified. The best part about this profession is that it is evolving; it is extremely specific for each and every rider, with consideration to their disabilities but focused on their abilities. There is great potential for future research, and I would hope/expect that to happen in the future.
What advice would you give young adults about following their passion?
One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is to love what you do for a living. Your career is going to affect your life in ways you don’t expect, so if you have something that you are passionate about and you can find a way to reach your financial goals with it than go for it. Not everybody will be supportive all the time, just remember that what makes YOU happy is what is most important. I would recommend that advice to anybody that is looking for more in life. Our world revolves so much around our work schedule that if you really are looking for happiness you need to be doing something you love and are passionate about.
Any thoughts for people interested in what you do?
I think if you are looking to go into the career of Therapeutic Riding, you really need to immerse yourself in it before deciding if it is the job for you. There is a lot in this line of work to consider, for one it is extremely physical. If you are not a person that is strong physically you will struggle with this profession. Secondly, this is a job that is learned largely through experience. The lessons I have learned working at REINS are not found in books. Getting involved in a PATH Center will allow you to have safe, hands on experience, and this is crucial. And lastly your job is to really analyze your riders and horses mentally, physically, and emotionally. The more book knowledge you have in these aspects of life the better. Take an anatomy class, and learn the body. Talk to or consult with professionals that work in the field of psychology to get a good understanding of what is going on under the surface of your clients. And take riding lessons to better understand how to manipulate the horse to get the results in your rider that you are looking for. Education is the key to fully embracing and understanding this job.