Defeat, Horses, and Confidence. For this article, I asked Amy Dial our Master’s of Counseling intern who is attending the University
of North Carolina, Pembroke to share a therapy session that touched her the most. This is what she wrote.
This was Cam’s 3rd afternoon of trying. The task was to get a horse to move in the circle around him in the round pen. He just couldn’t get that horse to move. The only rule was that Cam couldn’t touch the horse. He tried kicking, crying, yelling and finally sulking. After spending his 2 previous afternoons making no headway with his task, Cam was feeling pretty defeated. His face was wrinkled up with traces of tears running down his face.
On this 3rd afternoon Cam bounded into the field and stated, “Ok, I’m ready. I’m going to get that horse to move”. He began to tell that horse in no uncertain terms who the boss was. He gave commands and directions like a 5 star general. As soon as the horse began walking around the pen Cam turned around, his face lit up like a New York City marquee, and squealed, “I’m doing it, I’m doing it, look I’m doing it”!
This session touched me because Cam had such an expressive face. You could read the defeat in his eyes and by the crease of his brow. Just as his negative expressions screamed out so did his joy at ‘making that horse move’. He tackled his problem and spoke with confidence. The message clicked so well in his mind. He also began to apply this confidence to his schoolwork and homework; a true breakthrough.
For more information, you can contact Heather Wilkerson at Hope-thru-Horses, Inc. at