The Oxford Dictionary excerpt says energy is: The strength and vitality required for sustained physical or mental activity.

Let’s start with how as humans, we expend energy.

The most obvious way is probably, physically. We expend energy to move around to live our physical lives.  Do the dishes, drive a car, work, garden, go fishing, play with the kids, play footy and netball, walk the dog, and play with our horses.

A lot of this energy is, of course, expended internally. Our metabolism, digestion of food, etc.

What about our mental and emotional energy?  How many of you have had a moment or a day where you have come home and dropped into your comfy chair, saying, “Why am I soooo tired?  I haven’t done anything today”! 

Parents and Carers of others (including the rest of the animal kingdom) are a good example.  These are positions that aren’t easily walked away from, as lives depend on you.  This isn’t to negate the responsibilities of other professions, of course. Still, I reckon we may more easily wonder if someone will actually die or be harmed if I don’t finish this letter by 3 pm, or could I take a break for five minutes to just take a breath?  Choose your own example, but I hope you get the gist.

Stress and Guilt

We seem so geared to needing to prove we can do physical work, achieve big goals, keeping on the go.  Don’t stop because if you do, it’s like it’s a sign of weakness or being less than the next person.  So much pressure is placed on the human body to keep going physically that I sometimes wonder just how many of us consider the mental and emotional part of ourselves and how exhausted this part of us is sometimes becoming.

How many people feel like they will be called lazy or careless if they don’t get involved in anything and everything?  If you struggle with this, having a yarn to a mental health professional could be good.  There is more information around these days on this for anyone to look for, but it is a good plan to talk with someone if you are struggling with it.

Awareness is Key

The media has this topic all over it!  Burnout.  Mental exhaustion. The good ol’ breakdown. I’m not fond of this saying as I feel it has too many negative connotations. When we do feel like collapsing, is it really a breakdown? More and more evidence shows that it is the body’s way of saying enough is enough! It’s been sending you warning signals for a while, so now it’s time to rest and care for yourself so your body can, eventually, get going again.  

Sometimes we recognize this in others but find it difficult to see it in ourselves, and if we do, what do we do or how to deal with it?

It would be remiss of me not to mention how important energy awareness is when working and playing with our horses.  Whether at work or playing with our horses, our energy plays an important part in our communication, in our attention, and intention.  Horses have a range of emotions and energy like humans and can feel a human’s energy from many feet away. EAL can help you develop these skills and a positive attitude in your equine endeavours.

Down Tools and Exhale

EAL sessions with the horses help remind us mere mortals to look inside and sense deeper into ourselves, our lives, and what is happening to us.   The realization isn’t necessarily like pushing a button or flicking a switch, more a slower awakening like it’s dawning on a person that you have made some changes. You are noticing the positive change happening for you.

If you like reading, this little story demonstrates the point pretty nicely: The Story of Two Woodcutters —Why You Should Sharpen Your Axes (look it up for the full version).

“How could you have chopped down more trees than me? I heard you stop working every hour for fifteen minutes!” exclaimed John.  Peter replied, “Well, it’s really simple. Every time I stopped work while you were still chopping down trees, I was sharpening my axe.”

Horses live in the moment.  They respond and react to situations in their own environment and then return to grazing.

In personal and professional development, developing these tools can help us become aware so we can support ourselves better and, in turn, support our people and, indeed, our animal companions better.


I’d love to hear how you experience and take care of your energy levels throughout your day. Perhaps you could share this on the Wilkydoo Facebook page or message me directly.   

My herd and I can support you in developing your strategies in a safe and no-judgment setting. 

If you would you like to learn more about how EAL can help you with your personal and professional development, please contact me.  Contact details are on the Wilkydoo website.

If any of this has raised your issues or concerns for you, please don’t hesitate to contact your GP or mental health professional.  Help is available.

Lifeline 13 11 14, Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636. Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800.

Bush Support Line 1800 805 391


As humans, we are often distracted by our world of work, family and the ever-present electronic devices, among other things.  Our senses may be easily overwhelmed or distracted, leaving us unaware of what is happening to us in our environment. 

What is your environment? 

This is where you are at the time such as your home, your workplace, and your outdoor environment. 

Sometimes this is inside in an airconditioned environment where you may not be aware of the outdoor weather and activity; sometimes, it is outdoors where you are aware of these things because they are directly impacting you.  The man-made environment is just that, man-made.  In many instances, if you look around and take notice of the sounds, smells, sights, and feelings of your indoor environment, you will work out that it is probably very different from your outdoor environment.

Awareness is noticing what is happening around us and recognising our feelings and sensations in our body and mind.

During the COVID-19 restrictions, many people were able to or were directed to work from their home office.  I had this opportunity and found it valuable as I could go outside on a regular break, ground myself, and step back to my office space with greater focus, having stretched my legs and exercised my senses.

In my EAL work, I am outdoors with the horses and the humans who access our services.  I am aware of elements such as the weather, the trees, the sounds, the animals, and how my clients and horses are responding or reacting to their environment.  This awareness helps us make contact with ourselves and our horses.

Here is a little exercise!

Where ever you are now, give this a go (safely of course).

Look around your environment.

What do you see? (Shapes, forms, movement, colour)

What do you smell? (Pleasant and not-so-pleasant)

Listen. What sounds are there in your vicinity, and if it’s not too noisy, within yourself?  Try closing your eyes and see if you hear anything differently.

Do a quick body scan. What do you feel?  Externally:  Where you come into contact with the seat you are sitting on.  The footwear or your bare feet are in contact with the ground.  A breeze on your skin.

Then focus inwards: tummy tightness or softness, your heart, or your pulse.  Warmth or coolness.

Your Mind!  How are your thoughts, feelings, and emotions now? 

You get the idea!

Awareness keeps you safe by giving you a choice to respond to your environment and all that may be happening in the here and now.

Are you able to briefly tune in to yourself and tune out of what is happening around you? How did that feel? Were you comfortable with the experience, or did you not want to wait in that space for long?

Many of us are so busy experiencing external experiences that we either can’t or forget to really feel what our body is talking to us about.

Everything we do or experience shows up in the body either immediately or eventually.   Sometimes this is positive, and sometimes, it’s not.  If you are interested in this, there is quite a bit of reading on this.  These are just a couple of examples:

The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk and

When the Body Says No, The Cost of Hidden Stress by Gabor Mate.

By being more aware of what is happening for us, the more we are able to tune into the other parts of our lives.  

Horses model their ability to be aware of their world beautifully for humans, and we can learn so much from them if we simply stop, wait, and become aware.


I’d love to hear how you experience your levels of awareness and if you do anything to help with this. If it’s not something you wish to share publicly, that’s ok.  It may just help a fellow reader if you are happy to share anonymously.

My herd and I can support you in developing your strategies in a safe and no-judgment setting. 

If you would you like to learn more about how EAL can help you with your personal and professional development, please contact me.  Contact details are on the Wilkydoo website.

If any of this has raised your issues or concerns for you, please don’t hesitate to contact your GP or mental health professional.  Help is available.

Lifeline 13 11 14, Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636. Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800.

Bush Support Line 1800 805 391

New Year Is Here! 

The Wilkydoo Herd Wishes You a Happy and Contented New Year

I would like to start out by acknowledging the extraordinary difficulties many people around Australia are experiencing largely with flooding and all that that brings immediate and in the future.  Many may not be flooded but are still living in a community affected by flooding. My heart is with you.

What does this year look like for you?

I’ll let you in on a little secret, given this blog is largely about resolutions and goals; this was meant to be the January blog, but life just got away from me!

January 2023, started out at a pretty relaxed pace and gathered momentum going into February.  I have been doing a lot of planning and some extra professional development to further support my clients, my horses and myself in the coming months.  As the weather sometimes dictates, indoor activities like planning and writing are the way to go but we have had exceptional outdoor weather, so that is where a lot of my efforts have been focussed.

I have some property development achieved with more to be achieved, to improve my service delivery space and make it more easily maintained.

I will be looking to offer a school holiday Horse Wisdom Program at WEC from April this year and travel to regional areas to support people in their communities with the help of horses.  I will post details on my social media pages when it is formalised.

Great Expectations!

Are you a New Year’s resolution person?

Personally?  I don’t do New Year’s resolutions.  This is not to say we don’t need goals, but we often aim a bit high too soon.  While it’s important to have an end goal, breaking goals into smaller and more attainable goals has a couple of benefits; one being organisational and the other, reducing the feeling of being overwhelmed (which I sometimes am) by the BIG goal.  Do you see any other benefits?


Many of you may have seen this acronym, SMART.  It has been around for decades.  It makes sense.

Specific – Define the goal so no one is in doubt about what the goal is and who will achieve it.

Measurable – Find a way to monitor your progress, so you know how far you have come with your goal.

Achievable – You need to be able to achieve your goal.  Do you have the knowledge, tools and resources to achieve this goal?

Relevant – Is the goal realistic?  And does it make sense in the scheme of the rest of your life?

Time – What is your timeline?  When do you need to complete this goal?


Does this scenario sound familiar?

You have set yourself a task: Today, I will re-organise the workshop (insert whatever task you have set yourself here). 

Path: Open the workshop door.  Rub hands together, and announce to yourself “right let’s get into this…. oh, look at that.  I have been looking for that for weeks. Where can I put that so it’s safe?  Hmmm, in this drawer perhaps.  (Open the drawer) Oh, look at this?  I haven’t used that tool for years.  I remember when I got that for my birthday years ago because I had a project to do.  Now, what was I doing?   Hmmm. Look at the time, it’s lunchtime so I’ll get back to it after lunch”.  

This may sound like a simple distraction but it may also be a tactic to put off a task.

Outcome: Some days, weeks or months later, the workshop is still not re-organised and you may well be feeling more anxious and overwhelmed about getting it done.

Let’s check in: What are you experiencing?

Pressure: What do you feel when you experience this?  There may be words that spring to mind of course, but pause, exhale and focus on the feeling you have in your body at that moment. I wonder if it is always the same or has it changed.

Organisation: Then there is what I call the domino effect.  You need to get one thing done before you can do the next thing, and so it goes on down the list of tasks.   While this is part of the planning and goal-setting process it can feel frustrating and really overwhelming!

Overwhelm: If you sigh or turn on your heel and walk away from a task, perhaps it is overwhelm you are experiencing. Try and recognise what is happening and consider reducing your goal steps to something more achievable.  

Anxiety: The overwhelmed feeling you are sensing in your body somewhere just may be some temporary anxiety.  This is where your breathing and mindfulness practice can help you.  Pause, exhale.  It will be ok. You will be ok.


I’d love to hear how you go about reaching your goals and how you deal with procrastination, and the things touched on in this blog. If it’s not something you wish to share publicly, that’s ok.  It may just help a fellow reader if you are happy to share.

Would you like to learn more about how EAL can help you with your goal setting and working with your responses around this process?

My herd and I can offer you support to develop your own strategies in a safe and no-judgment setting. 

If you’d like to know more, please send me an email, and I will get in contact with you.

If any of this has raised issues or concerns for you, please don’t hesitate to contact your GP or mental health professional.

Help is available.

Lifeline 13 11 14, Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636. Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800.

Bush Support Line 1800 805 391

Silly Season is Here: You’ve Got This!

It’s here already!! Where on earth did the year go?  Christmas time and all that it brings can be both fun and stressful.

The festive season brings a host of expectations: Happy gatherings of family and friends, giving and receiving gifts, often exceptionally lavish meals, decorations, lighting displays, dressing up, and quirky things like where the Elf on the Shelf needs to be positioned and moved around somewhat creatively. 

Personally, and financially, Christmas time can be an absolute nightmare for many. While for others, it’s a wonderous time of family, friends and fun.  The expectation to have a wonderful fun-filled time with family is often tainted with the stress of being able to afford all the festivities. Keeping up with the Jones’s.  Maintaining family traditions.  Children grow and have their own families and start their own family traditions.   Changes in family dynamics.  Some people are working.  The list is endless and it is stressful.

Awareness of your own situation.

As we move towards Christmas how are you feeling about it all?  Do you even celebrate Christmas?

Do you have a wonderful Christmas planned?  Will you be with family and friends for the day or are you alone?  (And if you are, are you ok about it?)  Being alone for Christmas may be challenging and isolating.  It may be your preference to be alone or have a low-key time.

No matter what your plans, obligations or expectations are for Christmas, there are things you can do to have a wonderful day.

You are enough.  You are worthwhile.

What can we do to help ourselves?

Money:  Set your budget.  Stick to it.  It’s you who will be left to deal with the consequences of being pressured into overspending, not the person you were trying to keep up appearances with.

People:  You want to be with family or friends but can’t?   The technology available now allows you to spend a little time connecting with your loved ones.  I hope you can access it.

Geography: I recall spending a few Christmas meals with other families and what we called the “Orphans’ Christmas” when many of us couldn’t get home for the time so we all had a meal together.  I am not sure I appreciated this fully at the time, but I look back on these days with great fondness and appreciation. 

Yourself: Take care of yourself.  Expectations are high enough at this time of year. Be kind to yourself. This is probably easier said than done and sounds over-simplified, but it’s true.  Maybe take some time away from the crowd to breathe, and regulate yourself again.  

Others: if you are able to, take care of someone else either directly or by donating a little something or even your time.

Some organizations that can support people who would like a bit of help at this time of year with Christmas gifts, and food are:

The Smith Family

Salvation Army



(Actually, I did an online search for Christmas support for Families, and a big list came up!  There are bazillions of organizations and individuals, doing something to support others at this time of year)

The Wilkydoo herd and I wish you all a safe and contented Silly Season. 

May it be the best you can make it.

If any of this has raised issues or concerns for you, please don’t hesitate to contact your GP or mental health professional. Help is available.           

Lifeline 13 11 14, Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636. Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800.

Bush Support Line 1800 805 391

Regulation – How to take control

Being in your calm state is the emotional regulation that allows presence, mindfulness, gratitude and feeling content. But life happens and having the ability to be in command of our emotions is often challenging.

There are so many things in our lives that may build into a mini-tornado or explosion of emotion. Or perhaps withdrawing is your go-to. It’s a very individual experience for each of us. We are doing what we need to do in the moment to get us through. 

Emotions during challenging times

At the time of writing this, we have unprecedented, extensive flooding, largely in the eastern states of Australia, when in the not-too-distant past, we endured destructive bushfires and, for many, droughts.  For others, it may be a fabulous year on the farm with a promise of a bumper year for the first-time following years of drought.  

Feelings of loss, powerlessness, despair and overwhelm often push aside our small moments of happiness and joy. Contentment in our lives may seem so out of reach right now. 

Often, what happens in our rural areas is reflected in our towns and cities. The resulting strain is just as palpable for each individual and their community. How we deal with this depends on our own personal resources and those in our family and community.

I can only imagine how the pressure is felt by those sitting their final school exams during this turbulent time. Family and friends’ expectations about what you will achieve or do when you leave school can weigh heavy. The big question: Am I enough?  Well, yes, you are.

So, let’s ask a question: 

How often do you have a “moment” when you just let go of your emotions and express yourself?

It happens to us all. When something happens in our day, and a build-up of stress, anger, fear, sadness and even joy cuts loose. This may have been building for a while or just in your day-to-day. Sometimes this is in private, sometimes not. Sometimes you feel safe to do this, and sometimes you don’t. When I say “safe”, I mean physically and/or emotionally. Are you with people who can hold space for you when you have your “moment”, or are you alone where you can take the time and care you need for yourself?

What did your “moment” look like, and what did you do then?

Was it a good belly laugh, angry outburst, throwing something, tears of joy or sadness, a happy dance, or something less demonstrative like withdrawing, walking/running, gardening, patting the dog or hanging with your horse, or maybe yarning to a mate? 

Maybe you can’t recall what happened to make you have your “moment”. Let’s focus on the here and now and how to self-regulate so you can get back to “normal” function.  

So, what is this “normal” state? 

In EAL, the Cycle of Experience ends with “return to grazing”. A state of calm has resumed where you can think, respond and act to get on with what you need to in the moment. 

Some of us find this easier than others. If you find yourself or someone needing support, try to be kind and wait until the storm subsides, as it will. 

“When we trust that we are the ocean, we are not afraid of the waves.” Quote by Tara Brach. 

How can EAL assist with social-emotional regulation?

Horses show their feelings by yawning, snorting, neighing (taking an outbreath), grazing, playing, hanging out with the herd, moving around at various gaits, prancing, and having a roll. 

When horses become anxious or alert by a perceived danger to themselves or their herd, they will show this by moving their body, snorting, looking alert, and possibly running away. Then, when they sense the danger is reduced or passed, they will reduce this activity and eventually return to grazing as this is their way of showing the event is passed, and they can get on with what they need to in the moment. 

Horses model this experience for humans beautifully and can support us in co-regulation with them.

Would you like to learn more about how EAL can help you with your own social-emotional development?

My herd and I can offer you support to develop your own strategies in a safe and no judgement setting.

If you’d like to know more, please send me an email, and I will get in contact with you.

If any of this raises issues for you, please don’t hesitate to contact your GP or mental health professional. Help is available. 

Lifeline 13 11 14, Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636. Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800,

Bush Support Line 1800 805 391

Let’s talk about boundaries

Have you ever stopped and thought about what your boundaries are? 

Do you find yourself working extra hours at work? 

Are you that person at the committee meeting who leaves with all the jobs because you couldn’t say no? 

Maybe you’re the one at home who does most of the chores. 

Perhaps you’re in a relationship that doesn’t represent a two-way street. 

Many of us will put up with things or give to others to keep the peace. 

At what price? The price of our own well-being.

Whatever our situation or circumstance, to lead a healthy, balanced and fulfilling life, we all need to be aware of our boundaries. More often than not, boundaries aren’t something that is adequately taught to us at school or at home. Often the people who raised us didn’t know their boundaries, and we’ve learnt from example just to put on a happy face and get on with it. Many of us have learnt to adapt to please others, sometimes at our own expense.

Because many of us are busy attending to the happiness of “others”, we may not know our boundaries. Is this familiar? 

Boundaries are important. In this blog, I wanted to take some time to identify what boundaries are, the cues to look out for, and what you can do to be mindful of and establish your boundaries.

What are boundaries?

Boundaries are what make us feel safe, comfortable and in control. They may, in fact, help to keep us safe. 

We have outer physical boundaries and inner emotional boundaries. 

We are responsible for taking care of our boundaries.

Our physical boundaries are possibly the easiest to identify. For example, if someone enters your personal space, do you immediately feel uncomfortable? Why? Because someone has crossed your boundary.

The inner boundaries are not as obvious. Perhaps when someone speaks down to you and makes you feel uncomfortable, inadequate, or fearful, this is the crossing of a non-physical boundary.

What are the cues to look out for?

We all have the right to feel safe. 

Our bodies quickly let us know when we’ve reached our limits.

Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve had sweaty palms, clenched fists, or a squirmy tummy? 

These are all examples of the physical signals your body gives you when you’re uncomfortable and don’t feel safe.

Feelings of overwhelm or being controlled are emotional cues that your boundaries may have been crossed.

It’s up to you to be aware of these cues. From this point, you can decide if you need to assert your boundaries.

How to establish boundaries?

Ask yourself: ‘What’s important to me?’ 

Boundaries is another word for priorities. 

For example, if your boss constantly asks you to work overtime, which is impacting your home life, it’s up to you to define and clear your boundaries.

Understandably, this can be uncomfortable! 

Why? Because you’re putting your own needs ahead of others. This may be confronting when others think you’re being selfish. But that kind of thinking is on them. This, unfortunately, is often why we put up with things. When it comes to your own self-care, having personal boundaries will be noticed by you as increasingly and more obviously necessary. This will also, hopefully, become more important to those around you, personally and professionally. 

How to get help setting boundaries?

Although it can be challenging to establish and set your boundaries, the benefits to you personally will eventually be noticeably beneficial. 

Here are some simple ways to get started:

  • Write down a short list of your top priorities.
  • Take notice of over a week of things that are consuming your time. 
  • Put yourself in situations where you’ll test your boundaries.

I’m a qualified Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) practitioner, and my horses and I offer a safe space to test your boundaries.

How can EAL assist with knowing and establishing boundaries?

Horses, by nature, quickly establish where they fit in to their herd. They do this to feel safe. 

When we humans come into the company of a horse, we’ve entered their herd. They will test your boundaries by doing things like entering your personal space and may give you a nudge. This may make you feel uncomfortable, but as you step away from the horse, they have discovered your boundary.

An experience like this helps us to discover and set our boundaries. We become aware of our innate need to feel comfortable and in control. Often in life, we don’t get this opportunity. Therefore, being in the company of horses is both empowering and enriching. We discover our personal power. We find ways to gain control in our lives.

Would you like to learn more about how EAL can help you set boundaries in your life?

My herd and I can offer you the opportunity to test your personal boundaries in a safe and no judgement setting.

If you’d like to know more, please send me an email, and I will get in contact with you.

This blog does discuss mental health and has been written for general information only. Always seek the advice of your General Practitioner or mental health professional for any questions or concerns you may have.

If you, or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call 000, visit your nearest hospital emergency or use any of the following helplines: Lifeline 13 11 14, Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636. Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800.

Supporting people’s mental health in rural Australia is very important to me.  Living in rural Australia offers freedom, wide open spaces, and fresh air. It may look like we’re living the dream to some, but if you slip off those rose-coloured glasses for a second, rural life, is at times, pretty tough. 

Local economies in small towns are at the mercy of mother nature; drought, bushfires, frosts, and hail to name a few. This land of extremes on which we choose to live and make our living, raise families or recreate, has its own plan. Sometimes when things are out of our control, it may affect our health and more specifically, our mental health. 

For many, our homes are also our places of work. We might be farming on a generational family farm and live near our parents and siblings, who are also farming the land. Many of us have only ever farmed, and it’s all we know. Some of us are just starting out on the rural living and working adventure. If the farm fails because of an act of mother nature, or commodity prices crashing, or escalating business overheads, there’s not only the fear of failure but also, what’s next?

I’m not saying that city life is easy, I’ve done that too, and I know this also has a variety of challenges. The pressures of rural life are particularly great because sometimes there’s no such thing as a work-life balance. The two don’t necessarily separate. 

Because I’m writing this blog just after the  2022 R U OK day, I thought it was an excellent opportunity to reach out to rural Australians to let you know that I see you, and I get it. I also want to tell you that there is always help around.

You don’t always have to put on a brave face.

Unfortunately, there is a social stigma around mental health, especially among rural people. Having worked with people from many walks of life, with many and varied life challenges, I’ve seen good lives take a bumpy track when people suppress their problems and escape using less than desirable substances or actions to alleviate their disturbance with negative effect on yourself or people close to you.

It is OK to say that you’re not OK. This may be hard to admit. But it’s the first step towards getting back on track. 

Where to get help?

Sometimes we can feel trapped in our own town. If you’re seen going to the doctor or mental health professional, it may seem confronting personally and socially, but it’s an important step. There is help around. There are even organisations around primarily geared towards helping rural people. Nowadays, it’s as simple as getting on your smartphone in the privacy of your ute! Who’d have thought!

If you or someone you know is in an emergency situation, please call 000.

The list of organisations below are places you can go for more information (this list is in no way exhaustive). 

I am a qualified Equine Assisted Learning Practitioner (EAL). 

For years I’ve been studying ways to support others wellbeing through horses’ guidance. For me, when times have been tough, I’ve been fortunate to have my horses to turn to for help. Horses are intuitive, and they’re pretty good at understanding. They have this ability to simplify things for you and ground a person. 

The words of Meg Kirby, Founder of the Equine Psychotherapy Institute, explains it well “Horses see the real you. Being seen is incredibly healing.”

How can EAL help?

My herd of horses at my Wilkdoo property can offer a safe place and a no judgement zone for you to work through your challenges. We work as a team to support you on your journey. This isn’t touchy-feely stuff, and I don’t offer counselling or therapy. (But EAL may support room-based therapy if that’s what you’re after). What I offer with my herd is a simple and down to earth approach to your wellbeing.

I offer you a space in nature, where you can take time out and let the horse’s inner wisdom and ability to co-regulate emotions, bring you to a place where you can start to feel grounded and in control again. We go back to basics.

I love the quote,” There’s something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man” (thought to be a Winston Churchill quote).

Is EAL for you?

If you’d like to find out more about EAL at Wilkydoo, send me an email and I’ll give you a call. There’s no such thing as a silly question, and I’d be happy to have a chat with you.