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Top 10 lessons horse farm owner ,equine therapist, learns from her students

This year, according to the most recent Chinese New Year's celebration is The Year of the Horse. It seemed perfect to interview the owner of a horse farm- whose birthday year makes her a "Horse"' in Chinese Astrological terms-to gain insights into lessons she's learned working with both people and horses for the last 22 years.

Adult rider at Johnson Folly Horse Farm
Photos by Lori Wilk

Nongae Johnson, the owner of Johnson's Folly Horse Farm -a beautiful farm nestled on a quiet street in Delray Beach, Florida-is a small business owner who has expanded her focus from offering lessons and boarding horses at her farm to adding programs using equine therapy.

Watching the children's faces as they work with the horses and seeing how spending time with the horses has made such a difference for the children who have had these experiences at the Johnson's Folly Horse Farm has inspired Nongae. She is developing additional equine therapy programs which will benefit even more children in the near future.

The insights shared by Nongae include principles which apply to more than just the horse farm, they apply to the rest of our lives and to many of our work environments . Her top 10 insights are: :

1. Students usually blame the horse for their inability to control the horse. They inevitably learn, if they stick with it and don't give up, that being able to control the horse is a learning process.

2. Frustration comes from lack of knowledge and experience to work through the situation on the ground and on the saddle. This lesson carries into other areas of life. You could take the same lesson about frustration for just about anything you are trying to accomplish.

3. Horses are not for the weak. It takes stamina, patience, and most of all a sense of humor. Surviving lfe is easier with a sense of humor.

4.Riders need to be clear about where they started in their riding , have a vision of where they have been, and where they would like to be.

5. Horseback riding in groups can help the students see where their own individual weaknesses are whether it is their body position, their motion, or even a strength in the other riders.

6. Being around horses brings new confidence to riders of any age.

7. Some horses seem to have a mystical power to heal those who seek it. "It is so incredible, "said Nongae," They make movies, write books, record research data, and create cirriculum based on this equine therapy."

8. Riding is good for your health and your spirit. It builds cardio, pulmonary stamina and muscles. But most of all, it builds character.

9.If in the first 20 minutes of a lesson things are going great, finish with something easier. If it is difficult for the student in the first 5 minutes, keep changing the lesson plans. It's never fun when you're not feeling successful. Another real world and work principle.

10. Barns can be peaceful and serene or places of drama and mayhem. Ask yourself which energy you want to feed into.

As I drove away from the farm I thought that our work environments can also be peaceful or dramatic and we have choices about the environment we chose to create.

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