In this story: Anxiety / Mental health /

"I love my work because I witness people transforming"

A few years ago I made a career change from the pressured world of film production to a job where I could be of help to others. Growing up loving horses and being outdoors were key elements but I was also passionate about Social Enterprise.

After a lengthy re-training I have a job I adore working as an Equine Facilitator for Darcy’s Equine Assisted Learning Centre CIC just outside Glasgow and for me it’s a great fit. I’m outside in all weathers, surrounded by beautiful countryside, a herd of horses and brilliant colleagues who feel as strongly as I do about the mental health crisis affecting young people. Specialising in teenagers struggling at school or not attending at all, I work one to one or in groups of four.  For these young people extreme anxiety is a common factor, especially being around other people.  This is where the horses come in.  We focus on the horse and its anxieties and this acts as the catalyst for awareness and subsequent change. As a prey animal, a horse can be terrified of something as simple as a billowing tarp. It’s such a joy seeing the proud expression on the face of an anxious teenager who has just helped a huge animal remain calm and overcome fear. Helping a horse with its anxieties helps those attending gain a greater understanding of their own fears and what happens in their body while in that state.

By teaming up to help the horses, the young people experience that they can get on with others their own age.  They build trust and help each other out with solutions to their own anxieties, not just those of the horse. When I see a group relaxing into the environment, bonding with the horses and experiencing it is safe to share their worries, that’s where I receive my job satisfaction.

I love my work because I witness people transforming – arriving nervous and quiet – and leaving ten weeks later full of confidence and hope for a better future, understanding that they are the experts on themselves.  I’m very fortunate to have found a way to combine all my passions into one.

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