De-Stressage creator Lucinda McAlpine began her collaboration with horses at an early age, growing up on her grandfather’s thoroughbred stud where she spent hours studying the mares and foals and watching their interaction. A successful competitive career both in showing and dressage brought her connections with horses that were significant in her steps towards finding a more natural approach to horse management. It was from this “letting go” that De-Stressage was born and has been developing for the last 15 years or so.

Lucinda says “Changing the horses’ lifestyle has helped, not only them but also me enormously, boosting my confidence, courage and assertiveness, increasing my positive outlook on life. I have a far greater capacity for love now as it is no longer conditional but most of all it has helped me to know myself with the horses as a constant mirror – it takes one to know one so whenever I become judgemental with them I get a sharp reminder! I am therefore in an ideal position to help to guide others through their own experiences with these animals and help them to find their own happiness. Many of my older horses’ problems were formed at an early stage in their lives so I launched a breeding programme which was aimed at producing foals that, unlike their predecessors, had the best possible start in life. These foals were conceived and born naturally with minimal human intervention and they are therefore closer in nature to wild horses whilst being comfortable around humans as they have lived in a domestic situation. They do not wear clothes or shoes and live outdoors all year round – they are ALL HORSE!

De-Stressage in actionThe inspiration for the launch of De-Stressage in its own right was a lady called Beth who called and said that she wanted to work with me. Beth had a background with horses but due to long term illness was unable to ride and was looking for somewhere to have a chance to spend time with horses. To watch her arrive looking grey and unwell but over the course of a weekend to transform into a rosy cheeked person full of enthusiasm, planning for the future and walking greater distances than she had previously found possible was a joy to behold. Within moments of her departure I became resolved to develop this side of our facility as I realised just how much the horses really can help humans, mentally spiritually and physically. There was no time to waste as so many people in her situation were out there and could benefit from something which I have right outside my front door! Once upon a time I had dreams of being on the British team for the Olympics but this work seems so much more important and is certainly more fulfilling.”

When we meet people that we identify with we connect with them on a sub-conscious level – somehow we know instantly that we will get on and often only later discover that we share similar character traits. So it is when meeting a horse. On an initial session Bowhayes clients will be given a tour of the farm and introduced to the various characters resident here. “De-stressage “sessions are deliberately flexible and run according to the clients needs and wishes. If certain horses are highlighted during this tour we will move on to work more closely with them and see what happens! Riding is optional- it is an effective way of getting closer to the horses but is only one of the methods Lucinda employs.

We have facilities for guests to bring their own horse with them. Part of the day will then be dedicated to finding a greater understanding in the relationship between horse and rider. Putting a new perspective on the way that a partnership works together means that the harmony we seek can be achieved by using a more intuitive approach.

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