Talk with a horse lover about what makes these animals so special and invariably they say the same thing: horses teach you trust, patience, kindness and honesty. John Longhill believes they can also teach you about self-leadership, which can change your life.
He would know. Longhill has been working with horses for 30 years. Formerly the founder and executive director of the rescue program Swan Center Outreach, Longhill recently started the non-profit Blue River Horse Center.
“Horses have the ability to givehumans amazing insight about our-selves by mirroring behaviors weare not always aware of,” he says.
In his work, Longhill partners children and adults withabused and neglected horses toprovide experiential educationalprograms. By working with andlearning about the horses, eachperson learns more about himself.
“It really is transformative,” says Longhill. “Literally, in just one day, I see dramatic changes in people. I explain the energetic basis for how life works and how animals show us that, and they leave with a whole new perspective about what’s possible in life.”
Longhill has worked with more than 10,000 kids over the years, but one boy sticks out among them all. Hewas an angry 12-year-old boy who’d been in and out of detention homes and was on a bad track. Ten years after the boy attended summer camp on the ranch, Longhill got an unexpected email from him. Now married, with a steady job and expecting his first child, he thanked Longhill. “That was the turning point in my life,” he wrote. “I probably would have ended up in prison.”
Photo credit: Matt Lit