By Dr. Brad Crump, Health Services Manager
In my nearly twelve years at Red Mountain, I have participated in many activities and programs. I have learned something new and important from all of them. Recently, I had the opportunity to be part of the M.E.E.T. the Mustangs program. Being an animal lover, I was so excited to be close to such an amazing animal. It certainly did not disappoint.
I was not really sure what to expect. Once we arrived at the ranch, you could immediately sense the uniqueness of the horses. We all could feel that we were being watched and investigated. The facilitators did a wonderful job of educating us as to the history of the mustangs as well as the importance of their survival. It really gave me a greater appreciation of their value to all of us.
What was most inspiring to me was the group dynamic and the social order amongst the mustangs. We were taught about the hierarchy and social order of the horses, which then became very obvious as we watched the body language and key movements of the leader and those that ranked below her. I left with a better understanding about the importance of communication - verbal and non-verbal - and how powerful and influential proper communication is.
We were able to approach and touch the horses as we learned to pick up on their signals. It taught me to appreciate each horse’s uniqueness and personality. Some were approachable and others were not ready for that closeness. It was in those moments that I learned that I had to be patient and find a different way to gain their trust. It was a real learning process. This certainly made me better understand relationships that we all have.
The best part of the experience was the “Heart Hug.” This is where you literally place your chest against the horse’s chest. There was most definitely a bond that was formed. To be that close to such a powerful, but yet loving, animal was amazing. Certainly it was an experience that I will never forget. We were all taught that day (I mean us humans).
Go meet the mustangs. It is a must see and is only available until the end of April and then again starting in October. (The mustangs spend the summer in the milder climate of northern Utah.) For more information visit our M.E.E.T. the Mustangs page.