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Derek Watts' Join-up Journey

02 January 2022
Derek Watts tries his hand at equine or horse therapy, where horses interact with people to help them heal. An experiential form of therapy, the patient does set activities and simple tasks with the horse during a session.
Derek Watts' Join-up Journey: Part 3 Image : 9292

The way they approach the activities gives an understanding of the personality or mental state of the patient... it’s also simply about being able to bond with the horse.

Part 1

As we start…you can tell I am nervous around horses by the number of “Okays” I’m saying. I guess it goes back to the number of times they have bolted or bucked and left me rolling in the dust!

Although it was due to being thrown off a horse in the Magaliesberg that I met my wife Belinda. That is a long story but I was trying to ride it backwards!

There is some background in that I had an amazing interview a few years ago with the “man who listens to horses” Monty Roberts who developed the Join Up therapy.

Part 2
There were definitely a few communication problems with the horse and trainer, Natasha, in the early stages. Much hesitation on my side and it took a while to establish some command and control. But the two big breakthroughs were learning his name was Chockie and getting that eye contact going!

Part 3
In the end the inner Cowboy came out and I felt a definite bond with Chockie. And a comforting inner strength as I got him to canter as instructed.

Although it was a lot of fun, I can understand how equine therapy has a very definite place engendering confidence and trust in someone, young or old, who has gone through a dark space in their lives.

And maybe I won’t be as tentative next time getting into the saddle!


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