If the thought of a spa day brings images of cucumber slices and face masks to your mind, you aren’t alone. Though none of that was involved Wednesday during our spa day for horses, it was equally as relaxing for our four-legged friends.
Inspired by her own experience, Colts Coordinator Pat McKinney wanted to help horses wind down from the stress they can experience on the job. After facing a hip injury and being confined to the couch while recovering, McKinney began researching the psychology of horses. Now, every year she picks a new area of horse psychology to study and her devotion shows. But just learning about the horses isn’t the end goal for McKinney, she also implements it, bringing her knowledge into our barns. When on program, her passion for the horses and campers radiates in the ring.
Our riding program has so much history, and has inspired so many riders… It’s important that we pay it forward, starting with our horses.”Sam Holder, Ski Hi Wrangler
This year, her fifth volunteering with us, McKinney’s chosen area of horse education is functional anatomy and bodywork. Riders in Ski Hi got to experience McKinney’s devotion to horses during the spa day program, which aimed to help anxious horses relax and better bond with campers. McKinney taught the campers how to focus their body language, prompting the horse’s attention to areas where stress may be stored. Symbiotically, the camper and horse feel relief from anxiety when together.
Ski Hi Wrangler, Sam Holder, was taken aback by the remarkable connection shared between his campers and their horses. “Spa day was impactful because it really showed the campers how much their reactions can affect other animals and the environment around them,” said Holder. “Our riding program has so much history, and has inspired so many riders… It’s important that we pay it forward, starting with our horses.”
Watch our TikTok to hear more about the program, and click through the gallery below to see a peek into spa day.
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