I went across the world, on my own, to live with a stranger I’ve never met.
I’ve always been curious of what lies outside my little town in Maine, and this sense of curiosity led me to another quiet town on the South Island of New Zealand, Gore.
Another fact about myself is that I enjoy saving money. Yes, I know, this trait is a hard one to stay loyal to, especially when working with horses.
However, I found ways. I found out about a program called WWOOFing. The acronym stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. I could discuss the whole process of how the site works, but in order to avoid boredom, I will keep it short.
Basically, you work on farms in exchange for free accommodation and food. The site allows you to find and interact with hosts.
I cheated a little bit, and keyword searched the word “horse”.
Raking weeds for 5 months didn’t sound so appealing, so I filtered those right out. By doing this, I found a wonderful stranger.
His name is Trevor Copland, owner of Cosy Dell Arabians. Little did I know, this stranger would shape my life, and my understanding of horses greatly.
I was scared, nervous, and questioning my decision to go to the farthest possible point from home. This all disappeared seconds after meeting Trevor. He picked me up from the airport smiling and barefoot. Quite honestly, he seemed more like family. Upon arrival, I thought I would be helping at a barn, similar to how the American equine industry works. It was entirely different. The Arabians ran freely, on many hectares of land. I also believed I would be handling, for lack of a better word, “normal” horses. However, these horses were special.
Generally speaking, the Arabians are born wild, from mares who are not handled. They then grow up on the fields just being horses and later are brought in around 5 years old to be handled, and eventually ridden. I certainly had my work cut out for me.
A couple of the girls I worked with and I were assigned a young Arabian. Trevor was always careful who he let work with these horses, as it could get dangerous quickly. We learned from Trevor how to understand the horses, when to apply pressure and when to remove it. He had a special way with the horses, he trusted them and never once doubted them.