EP3: Terri Brosnan - Childvision - Dublin, IRE

Rupert Isaacson: Welcome
to Equine Assisted World.

I'm your host, Rupert Isaacson.

New York Times bestselling
author of the Horse Boy.

Founder of New Trails Learning
Systems and long ride home.com.

You can find details of all our programs
and shows on Rupert isaacson.com.

Here on Equine Assisted World.

We look at the cutting edge and the best
practices currently being developed and,

established in the equine assisted field.

This can be psychological, this
can be neuropsych, this can be

physical, this can be all of the
conditions that human beings have.

These lovely equines, these beautiful
horses that we work with, help us with.

Thank you for being part of the adventure
and we hope you enjoy today's show

welcome back to Equine Assisted World,
where we talk to people, who are in

the world of therapy therapeutic, stuff
that is just pl flat out good for you.

working with horses in a way for the
body, for the mind, for the soul.

what's the cutting edge of this?

It's, it's a rapidly developing field,
and the point of this, podcast is

to make people aware of some of the
people who are out there really at the

cutting edge, doing amazing work with
this on the neuroscience end, on the

practical end, on the horse welfare
end, or putting it all together.

So I have today somebody
absolutely fabulous.

you can always rely on me to
find people who are absolutely

fabulous, and this is one of them.

She's called Terry Brosnan.

If you don't know who Terry Brosnan
is, you should, Terry Brosnan is

in Dublin, and she runs the, equine
program at the Child Vision, school,

which is in the middle of Dublin.

I don't mean on the edge of Dublin
with some fields, I mean in the

middle of Dublin with horses
starving kids from, poor backgrounds.

And, it's a school for the visually
impaired, which has a really, really,

really large collegiate intake.

But it's also, a school that has large
amounts of people with autism, other

neuropsychiatric related, conditions and
physical conditions, some of them quite

severe and visually impaired altogether.

It's a really, it's tough job, , in a
tough place, and Terry makes it work.

but Terry doesn't just do that.

Terry has been somewhat of a newcomer
to the equine assisted world,

meaning within the last decade.

And one of the things which she
identified, which I thought was very

interesting, was that there was a
lot of factionalism and a lot of

division between the different areas
of equine assisted stuff, whether it

was Path International or R d a or
Hippotherapy or I gala or Horse Boy or

Dead, all of which are great things.

But they were all existing very
much separate from each other.

And people, having an idea that somehow
they were in competition with each

other or, you should do one but not
the other, which of course is not true.

all the best practices combined.

So, Terry really saw this problem and
she's one of the few people I've run

across who were proactive about it, and I
was lucky enough to be sitting in a, in a.

Meeting about three years ago in Dublin,
where an idea came up to create, an

organization called Equine Assisted
Ireland, a national association

that would put together all these
modalities, all these paradigms,

and, look for the best and look, look
for the best practices within them.

This then went on to something
else rather extraordinary.

And this is what I'm
gonna ask Terry about.

So Terry, just introduce her.

Who are you?

What do you do?

Why are you here?

Terri Brosnan: I'm Terry Brosnan.

I have grown up around horses
and fascinated by the way that we

interact with them all of my life.

I got the opportunity, just
over seven years ago to work

in, a therapeutic setting.

and to take it on and make it
work cuz it was sitting there.

It wasn't quite working.

and they didn't know what was, why
this couldn't work in a situation

that had been set up specifically
for it and it still wasn't working.

and so I came in and, one of the
big problems that I found was that

there was a lack of communication
between all of these different groups

that were setting themselves up
within the equine assisted areas.

There was a lot of what we would call here
in Ireland, snobbery, and just difference

between groups, and a feeling that certain
groups were better or less than others.

from my understanding of it,
because I was coming in from the

outside, I could kind of see that
all of these groups were fantastic.

All of them offered really good
connections with the people

that they were working with.

They were all coming from a really good
place, and all of them wanted to learn

more than they currently knew, and
wanted this practice to move forward.

so I think that when I, when I see common
goals, I'm, I'm somebody who kind of goes,

oh, well, let's group all these people
together and see, see where this can go,

because we're always better together.

We're, you know, human beings, we're
better in a tribe, you know, we're

always better when we have support,
and we're not trying to go it alone.

and so I thought, right, if I can get
all these people in a room and we can

say, actually, look, we have so much to
offer each other, we can go send so many

more places together than we can apart.

, and that was where the
idea was born out of.

, we have a great relationship with
I Gala because, you know, their

practices are so high standard here.

Their, their, their people are
really well trained and, and

fantastic, , at what they do.

And when we looked at the R D A I,
which it is in Ireland, which is the

equivalent of PATH or the R D A in
the uk, these guys had been working

at this since, in Ireland, I think
since the seventies and the eighties.

all with really good backgrounds.

They, a lot of these women coming
from horsey backgrounds, knowing

their, their good Irish horses,
knowing all these attributes, and

desperate for more information and
not really having a way of connecting

in with the wider world and wider
developments and EQU assisted activities.

And, and so bringing everybody together
was a way of trying to, establish

connections to the likes of Hetty I, Ohio,
the larger organizations where research

was being done where, like Horse Boy
where people could actually just say,

oh yeah, I can see how I can apply this
to my work and improve what I'm doing.

So that was how we started that.

Rupert Isaacson: So, just for the
listeners who aren't familiar with

Heti and I Ohio, can you just tell
us a little bit about what they're,

Terri Brosnan: so I'll start
with I Ohio, cause they're a

really interesting organization.

They're the International Association of
Human Animal Interaction Organizations.

So they look after things like, you know,
human animal interactions with dogs, cats,

farm animals, horses, elephants, whale.




And they're interested in studying how
humans and animals interact with each

other, and they very involved in research
and looking at this across the globe.

Then, I suppose Hetty is the horses
in Education and Therapy International,

and they would be a member of Ohio.


They would be one of the members of Iowa,
Ohio, but they specialize in horses alone.

And so they would have originally been
made up of the rda, the Riding for the

Disabled Association, path International.

those would've been the original
founding groups of Hetty.

and it has evolved now, and it
includes Al in various countries.

It includes, horse boy practitioners, it
includes therapeutic riding coaches, OTs,

physios, everybody who's coming into this
field, can become a member of if Hetty.

, and they're looking at trying to ensure
great welfare for their horses, welfare

for clients and, and a kind of standard,
professional standard across the board.

Rupert Isaacson: And so I,
I, I was there with you.

That's kind of when I more
or less first met you.


and we were, you were, putting forward,
an island based national association,

which has since gained ground.

Called Equine Assisted Ireland, bringing
all of these diverse groups together,

which I thought was a brilliant idea.

and now several years on, I now see
that you're doing something else on a

national level, which I find intriguing.

so what, for the listeners, what,
what Terry's done is she, so

she, she has, well, tell us, you
involved Horse Sport Ireland, right?


She managed to get the sport horse
organization, which would be the

equivalent of the US Equestrian Federation
or the British Horse Society to back

a really interesting project that, so
what have you managed to do, Terry?

Terri Brosnan: So, I think, you
know, we recognize the need for

therapeutic riding across every
society that we've come across.

and what's happening is people
are turning up on riding school

doors and going, knocking there and
saying, hi, can you see my child?

and the riding instructors that are
there have all this horse knowledge.

They've learned how to
give a flat work lesson.

They've learned how to give a lunch
lesson, lead rain, jumping, all of this.

But they've never learned how
to give a therapeutic session.


They didn't have that skill,
that toolbox, that skill group.

and so horse Sport Ireland, came
to us and said, look, we have this

demand, we have this enormous demand.

How are we going to fill it?

How, how can, what can we do?

How can we allow the people that are
there who have all of this horse knowledge

to expand it and have a toolbox to work
with children with, autism, sensory

processing issues, disabilities, all
sorts of, in a regular riding school

environment, in a regular riding school.



Rupert Isaacson: I guess this would
also include people with eating

disorders or anxiety or D H D or
just the stuff that shows up, right?

Terri Brosnan: Everything
across the board.

So, I mean, they're, these people
are the type of people who are, are

knocking on the doors of writing
centers all over Ireland anyway.

and there was a huge demand,
but no qualified staff.

and so horse board Allen said, look, we
need to provide qualified people here.

How do, how are we gonna do it?

And they came to, our team and, where I
work in television, they said, look, you

guys all started as riding instructors.

You guys all came from a horse
background system is working and

you're providing this amazing service.

So how can we, how can we become you?

How, how can we make ourselves, how
can we provide this information to.

All of, the, people around, excuse me,
there's a ghost in the background here.

Large dogs, but a four-legged one.


A four-legged one.


So, we proposed that we would sit
down, examine our practices and

see what it was that makes ridings
instructors really good at this work.

And I think we're uniquely qualified.

Actually, horsey people are uniquely
qualified because our day-to-day

colleague is a large non-verbal colleague.

We work with non-verbal
people, inver commas, horses,

Rupert Isaacson: with a lot of anxiety.

A horse with a prey animal,

Terri Brosnan: absolutely.

With high cortisol levels.

So, I mean, these are our, these
are our, best friends and our,

and our colleagues every day.

And so we are used to
reading body language.

We're used to not having to communicate
with words, and we're used to doing risk

assessments on a very, very quick basis.

so we, we have lots of skills within
our armor that we can add to, to,

allow people to really provide good
quality researched, Sessions that

will meet goals for people, okay.

Meet goals for the children and adults
that they're seeing, and improve lives.

So that was what we did.

We put together a course,
we wrote it over lockdown.

and then we, they, they,
they came to us and, and said,

look, we'll fund it with you.

If you apply for funding with
us, we'll, we'll go for it.

We applied for funding.

We were successful.

And that financed the setting up writing
and, rolling out of this course.

So I, last year, between actually
November, 2021 and November, 2022,

we had had about 50 people on our
course, but qualified about 35 of them.

They all had the right qualifications
to get certified within the process.

Rupert Isaacson: So when you say the right
qualifications, this, this means that

these were people, for example, who'd
already done their B H S A I, that would

be the British Horse Society assisted
instructor basic level thing, that they

had to at least have something like that,

Terri Brosnan: or Absolutely.

They had to have some coaching
ch or teaching qualification.

They had to have a good horse background.

and they also needed, because of
the, the, the setup with the Horse,

port Island and the Association
of Irish Riding establishments.

Who really pushed for this to go
through, they had to be a member

of the Association of Irish Riding
Establishments or be, an employee of a

member of the Association of Irish Riding

Rupert Isaacson: establishment.

So there's something here
that's blowing my mind.

I'm used to the large horse
associations, being closed priesthoods

that perhaps, act like gatekeepers
and this can, like any bureaucratic

organization, make change a slow thing.

You said that horse Sport Island
came to you, you didn't go to them.


That's unheard of.

How did this happen?

Terri Brosnan: well, I think they had, I,
I knew a lot of people who were working

in the industry have done all of my life.

and they were interested in, when
I started into therapeutic writing,

they were interested because
they know the way my mind works.

I need to have facts.

I, I'm very logical, I like things
to, to progress in an order.

and they know that for me, the horse
knowledge is where I want to come from.

I always wanna learn more.

I want to interact with my horses
in the best way that I can.

and I'm not afraid to say there's
lots of things I don't know, and

I'm always willing to learn if
there's a better way to do something.

and so we started this.

I got a lot of help from people within
the organization that I work from.

I have an amazing team.

Everybody came with ideas.

We were lucky enough to be introduced
to you, Rupert, and we, we absorb,

we have a team that absorbs ideas and
we will find the best principles and

we'll take them and run with them.

I'm a magpie.

I will take anybody else's idea if I think
it's good enough, and I will run with it.

And that's really what happened.

We learned a lot very quickly
from our OTs, our physios from the

experts in orientation and mobility,
disability experts learned a lot

going back to basics of horsemanship
and going, okay, so what can we do?

How do we marry this all together?

The final linchpin for me
was the horse boy experience.

So that marries the, the, the
two aspects really well together.

And it showed me the place of the horse
at the center of the work that I'm

doing, which really sat well with me.

and so when I'm doing something
like that and I'm all enthusiastic,

I'll, I'm very evangelistic.

I'm, I'm talking to everybody about it.

so I, you know, I was, I was letting,
people that I knew in the industry

know about this, the work that I was
doing, and they said, this sounds

just like really good horsemanship
and that's what we want to promote.

and you're, you're really preserving
your horses at the center of the

work and you're doing good work
with the clients that you're seeing.

So that's what we are interested in.

We're interested in coming
from a horse perspective.

I think the difficulty is for the, the
governing horse bodies around the world

is that the horse isn't always the center
of therapeutic riding or therapeutic or

equine-assisted activities, whatever the

Rupert Isaacson: terminology of sport
riding as well, I mean, or, or of sport

Terri Brosnan: riding.


Rupert Isaacson: Horse is
often neglected as even, yes.


Terri Brosnan: So, so they're really
are starting to move towards a

system where the horse is the center.


And everything else
needs to come from that.

The, you know, because if
we're looking at having.

Other professions wanting to
join us in the arena, they need

to have a horse person there.

I think the analogy I like to use is,
you know, when you're a healthcare

professional and you're working with
parents, they are the expert on their

child and they will tell you all of
this amazing information about their

child and they know more about their
children's needs than anybody else.

And that's equivalent.

You know, there doesn't make them a
professional, a healthcare professional,

because if they had seen a thousand
children at that level, that makes them a

horse care pro or healthcare professional.

And I would feel the same about horses.

Somebody who owns one horse and knows it
well may be an expert in that horse, but

it doesn't make them a horse professional.


But when you've had hundreds of horses
through your hands and working with

them on an ongoing basis, that makes
you a horse professional, hopefully

you're a horse professional who puts
the horse at the center of your work.

and I think we need to be
really, enthused that horse.

People want to get involved in this
because they need to protect the horse

and keep it at the center of this work.

I want

Rupert Isaacson: to come in a few minutes
to how exactly you are putting the horse

first, and what are you doing for the
horse body, mind, spirit wellbeing as

part of this work and policy force.

But before I go there,
what's been the response?

From the equine, these young equine
professionals that you're reaching out to.

Cause you're basically saying to them,
if, if I understand it correctly,

look, there's a career path here.

whether you do actual therapeutic
modalities or whether you want to

just be, , a writing instructor,
but knowing that you're gonna get

these people coming in now more and
more with diagnosed conditions or

maybe undiagnosed conditions, but
still needing a more sensitive hand.

what's been the response
from these people?

Because horse people are famously
bossy and like, well, they

should just get up with it and,
you know, pull their socks up.

And so how, how have you managed to, to
get through that bossy horsiness that

so many of us were brought up with?

Terri Brosnan: I, I, there
are two aspects to this.

I think the overwhelming response has
been relief, interesting from people.


They have been looking for a way to deal
with these clients that they're seeing.

Either they know and they're being
told these clients have autism or A

D H D or they're not told and they're
still having to try and put them

on a horse and teach them riding
without any skillset or toolkit.

so on that basis, there was overall relief
and that was added to by the idea that.

Yes, you already have a huge number
of the skills that are required.

We're not gonna teach you to suck eggs.

You know, we're not going
to reinvent the wheel here.

All of the skills that you have around
horses are all valid, and this is

how you utilize them better to put
the horse at the center of your work.

and I think it's really important
for, particularly in Ireland, because

we're the land of the horse and nobody
wants to be talked down to here.

We're all very prickly about, you
know, we know what we're doing.

so it, it leads to that idea of, you
know, if you're gentle with people

and assume that they're coming from
a place of knowledge, they can always

ask if they, if they want to fill in
any gaps, and we leave that space open.

But we're saying to them, okay
guys, this is stuff you have.

How do you want to evolve it?

You know, we're gonna give
you everything you need.

What are you looking for?

So we're asking them to feed back into
it, and that takes away the bossiness.

We all need to be a little bit more
curious, a little bit more vulnerable,

a little less, you know, on edge
when we, when we meet with other

professionals, who might, it might seem
quite threatening, you know, here's

somebody going to tell you how to run
your life or how to run your horses.

And that's not what we're about at all.

We're about.

Saying, look, we were curious.

We, we found this great system and
we found other great systems and

we've implemented them all together.

or as much of the, the best practice
with a human and the best practice

with a horse that we could find
for various different reasons.

I mean, our specialty is visual
impairment and it's a very unique slot.

And we found all the experts in that.

And we, we look at that very particularly.

but we have lots to learn
from our students as well.

And we're not above saying to them,
look, what is your experience?

Tell us your experience.

Bring your personality into the situation.

Trust the

Rupert Isaacson: experts, basically.

The experts being absolutely, yeah.

With the condition.


Yeah, that makes perfect sense.

So, I'm gonna ask you actually a
bit in a mi in a moment about the

specifics of working with people with
visual impairments, and particularly

when there's visual impairments
are combined with say, autism or

say, a serious physical condition.

but let's talk about this
horse welfare aspect.

so if you were saying that the, horse
sport island, and then professionals

within the horse industry there were
reacting well to what you were including

in this course, for professionals, not
just about how you work with people with.

Special needs of one kind or another,
but also on how do you prioritize

the welfare of the horse in this?

Can you tell us a bit about
how you do prioritize the

welfare of the horse in this?

Cause you, you're in a unique position
there in the middle of the city.

Terri Brosnan: Yeah.

So it there, there's a couple
of interesting aspects to this.

Yes, we are in the city center,
so that means that we actually

don't have access to daily grazing.

We don't have access to some of the
things that in an ideal world, we would

want for our horses on a day-to-day

Rupert Isaacson: basis.

Well, that many people take for granted.

Terri Brosnan: Yeah, absolutely.

Horses and humans live have and will
always live hand and gel for the last

God knows how many thousand of years.

So we've found a way of prioritizing
the most important things,

which are our horses, welfare
and happiness on a daily basis.

why, why would I be interested in this?

Well, originally when I, went and,
and talked to the guys in Ohio, I,

I was talking to them from a horse
perspective and a lot of their.

Practitioners were coming from
psychological perspectives and working

with horses, but, but not necessarily
always from a horse background.

And they were really interested
to work with people who were just

coming from an equine background.

And so one of the things that I
got involved in early on was a, an

equine welfare task force, or an
equine task force, not just welfare.

One of the modules we worked on
was welfare and training of the

horse and best practices within
equine assisted activities.

It was a group from all over the
world, and everybody was coming at

it from their own unique perspective.

You know, people from South
Africa, from Australia, from

France, Germany, the states.

And everybody's situation was
different, but the core tenants of

best welfare practice were the same.

and so that was an interesting
group to work with.

And it, it, it, it fed into a lot
of what I knew, what I'd learned,

what I was going to go on and learn.

and I'd always been interested in,
Andrew McLean and Paul McGreevy's

work on equitation science.

I'd always been interested
in how horses learn.

And then having worked with you guys in
Horse Boy , it's applying that learning.

To keeping horses interested, keeping
them happy, not letting them go

still, cuz in Ireland, I don't know.

I, I can only speak
from my own perspective.

We have a situation where we break
horses around four years of age.

We teach them a lot between four
and six, maybe seven years of age.

And then we just stop,
we stop their education.


Unless they're very, in a very
tiny number of elite horses

that are doing, progressing with
dressage or venting, we stop.

And it's just so devastating for horses.

They're such intelligent beings.

They love to learn.

and they, they'll learn anything.

They'll learn lots of bad habits as
well as good habits if you let them.

and I think that's inevitably what
often happens to, to, horses in the

long run is that they get so bored,
that they, they learn bad habits

Rupert Isaacson: instead of I agree.

I mean the, the, the, a lot of what
people say, I think when they're saying,

oh, this horse is bad to behave, or
it's just bored and, and that horses

are essentially playful animals and
the one thing they're often so often

not allowed to ever do is play.

And certainly that, that play can't
come into the working environment.

Can you tell us how that, given
that you are in these, this really

constrained environment, what
is your week to week program?

For your horses that keeps them
happy, involved, fit and body and

mind that others could follow.

What, what, what's your formula?

What do you do at Child Vision?

Terri Brosnan: Okay, so it's a real mix.

across the board.

There are play times,
there's loose schooling.

most of the weekends we, we
don't work at the weekends.

We're in a very luxury
position with horses.

Unlike most people.

We, we are, our horses are off
every weekend, so we encourage

lots of loose schooling over our
weekends, loose jumping, little

bit of lunging, but nothing where
there's a human on their back.

If we can possibly get away with
it over the weekend, Monday to

Friday, then we'll work in hand.

We'll work long reigns, we'll work
lunging, and we will school our horses.

We don't have a huge amount of time.

We see an awful lot of people.

How many do you see Between
80 and 120 every week.


And we have a, we have a staff
of, of four at the moment.

Rupert Isaacson: to a
hundred people a week.

Staff of four.

And you said lunging in hand and
long reigning during the week.

When you're seeing these hundred people,
how do you avoid there being a time

conflict between what you gotta do for
the horse and what you gotta do for

Terri Brosnan: the people?

So this was, this was the
really interesting thing working

with you guys was just where,
how could we find the time?

Where would we find the time?

Because it seemed like, you know, you
needed time for in hand work, you needed

time for this, you needed time for that.

And where were we gonna
see all these clients?

so we, we combined the two where,
where possible, you know, we give lunch

lessons, we'll give in hand work with
our clients, we'll teach them how to

do it, we'll teach them how to lunch.

We will, you know, work
with them in long reigns.

We will in use side rains
and we'll use market harbors.

We'll use v e side rains to give
our horse contact to work into, so

that they can continue the work that
they've done on the lunge or in the

side rains as they progress around.

Rupert Isaacson: Oh, that's clever.

So you, you sessions, they
can build their muscles at the

same time as working with the

Terri Brosnan: kids.


Cuz we don't have enough time
to do it outside of sessions.

We have to incorporate that work into
when the horses are actually moving.

Rupert Isaacson: okay, so you, you,
for example, would have an autistic

or blind child on the horse while
doing the in-hand work with the horse?


Terri Brosnan: It gives them amazing feel.

Rupert Isaacson: Ah, okay.


No, this makes sense.

And then do some of your, older.

Clients who maybe are getting
to adolescent, can you bring

them in as part of the team?

Can you then hand over some of the
lunging, long reigning and in hand

Terri Brosnan: work to them?

Yeah, I mean, we, we would have, we
would have volunteers and we would

have older clients that come in and do
work experience with us and volunteer.

And we would try, and this is not
rocket science, and there is very little

gatekeeping within, our organization or
our team within the expertise we have.

We have this expertise, do
you wanna come and learn?

Let's do this.

You know, we'll give, we'll pitch
it at the right volume, we'll

pitch it at the right level.

but we are not saying, you can't
do this or you can't learn this.

There's far too much of that in horses.

It's like, I have this knowledge
and you need to give me all

your money so you can have it.

so we try and just say, look, you
know, what, what part of this, do

you wanna help us train these horses?

Would you like to, to
learn how to lunge them?

Would you like to learn
how to do in handwork?

And we keep it fairly basic because,
you know, it depends on how we

don't wanna overwhelm people either.

You want to set them up for success and
make sure that they're, you're, you're

providing them with accurate training
that's going to allow them to do the work

that th that you're doing with them and
improve what the situation and, and make

it all happier for them and the horse.

Rupert Isaacson: From the listener's point
of view, I can really attest to this.

I had the, honor of going to
the, Royal Dublin show, which

is the big Irish horse show.

If you haven't ever gone
there, you really should.

It's one of the great cultural
experiences in the world, I think.

and, I saw you Terry and Lucy, Lucy,
Dylan, your right hand, who's amazing, and

David, , tell me David's surname again.

David Mole.

David Mole, that's right.

David Moore, who comes from a
show jumping background, but is

now working in the autism field.

I saw you guys do a, a demo of the
work, and one of the things that I

found very amusing was that the horses
looked so good, that, and you listeners

will get a chuckle out of this.

So, basically the reason why a
lot of people bring their horses

stubborn and show, obviously try
and sell their horses, right?

So the, the horses had to look
fabulous, you know, huge top

lines, huge muscles, da da.

And so the, the child, we saw the
child vision team go in to do their

therapeutic riding demo on horses.

That looked so good that people
came up who had no idea what they

were doing and said, oh, which
showing class are these horses in?

And are they for sale?

And these were like donation
throwaway horses that you guys had.

Totally turned around, and
looked frankly magnificent.

and this of course, I was, I'm not used
to seeing in the therapeutic riding world.

What do you think, we can do or
you can or one can do mm-hmm.

To get their therapeutic places, getting
their horses into meta horses like this.

Because I saw how these horses
arrived with you and they Yeah.

Didn't look like that.

And then I saw how they were a year
later, while having been trained

and rehabbed while serving the kids.

It wasn't like you had the time
and the luxury to take them out

of work and build them, and then
you've done it at the same time.

What would you say to, people who are
running therapeutic riding or even

just regular riding, establishments
who are, you do have this time

crunch to get their horses like this?

What, what's your advice?

Terri Brosnan: Well, first of all, on
a very basic business economic level,

this is just a no-brainer for me.

you know, up until, you know, a couple
of years ago, people are spending money,

massively on equine chiropractics.

you're, you know, you're spending
money on spas, equine spas.

You're, you're trying to find
time to school your horses there,

your insurance is going through
the roof because your horses are.

Switched off.

And accidents happen when horses
are not paying attention and

they're not engaged with the
people that are working with them.

so from a very basic economic perspective,
I have a very low insurance, rate.

I have really good
feedback from my clients.

They love being on my horses
and looking up my horses.

They want to be with them.

I don't have big chiropractic bills.

I have very small spa and chiropractic
bills for my horses because they have

good core strength and they are stable.

So from, if you leave everything else
aside, you know, if I leave all of

the therapeutics, by the way, that's a

Rupert Isaacson: dog in the
background, everybody, sorry.

It is

Terri Brosnan: a very, very large
dog with high heel spot clip

clapping across the wooden floor.

if you leave all of, if you leave the
therapeutics aside, but you were in a

horse business and you want your horse to
turn out and be, you know, look amazing

and behave amazingly, and be interested
in what they're doing, then the work

that we do with them is how that happens.

It wa they, as you say, they
weren't like that when we got them.

but putting these horses together
not only improves their physical

attribute, but they're mentally much.

More engaged.

They really have a trust
bond with the people that are

working beside them every day.

You know, they'll look to Lucy and David
and myself, and they'll, you know, they'll

trust us over whatever is happening
on their back, which means that we

can use them for very compromised kids
because they're not listening to this.

They're listening.

They're not listening to the sky
monkey, they're not listening

to the person on the back.

They're listening to the person at
their front, at the side who's, who's

going to mind them, and who's the
person who puts all the work into them.

and so from that basis, it's,
it really is a no-brainer.

and I couldn't go back to producing horses
for anything in a different way, because

it just wouldn't make economic sense.

Rupert Isaacson: So for you, the, the,
the secret is in the, the play time, loose

schooling, and then also the lunging in
hand and, and in, and, long reigning work.


But combining that with the clients now,
can they come to you and learn this?

Terri Brosnan: Absolutely.

you know, we're, we're happy, happy to
teach people what we're we're doing.

because it's, I think when you
find something that works so

well, you want to pass it on.

You don't want to keep it to yourself.

You wanna spread the word, and
you know, We're an open door.

People can come in and shadow us.

They can come and do courses with us.

they can learn about what we do.

we're, we're happy.

We're really are very open campus.

because the, we've nothing to hide.

I think that's one of the things as well.

It takes away that whole anxiety.

You know, people, how do
you train your horses?

Is there some secret?

There's no secret.

This is science.

This is basic good horsemanship, teaching
your horse new tricks, keeping them

engaged, doing with your horse is what you
would love people to do with your kids.


Keeping them interested.

Learning, moving, supple, happy, engaged.

Rupert Isaacson: So this what this sounds
like, you, you, you, you, there's some

sounds like conflict resolution to me.

so you've got, you've got
time conflict resolved.


You've got a seeming conflict between
the sport or performance horse aspect

and the therapeutic aspect result.


You've got, can we have horses in a
city versus country seemingly resolved?

and also looking for resolution through
what you're doing through equine assisted

island and the, these courses for young
professionals with horse sport island.

I know that you have a bit of a
background in conflict resolution,

that's a little bit unusual.

Would you tell us, cuz it, because I
think those stories would really help

inform people of how you've managed to
come up with this rather revolutionary.

Yeah, yeah.

Terri Brosnan: I have, I have a
brain that is tuned to conflict.

I suppose I grew up, , in the north
of Ireland, between, I was born in

1969, just after the trouble started.

and I lived there until I was 10
years old, 11 years of age in 1981.


Rupert Isaacson: just before you go
on, not everyone who's listening knows

what the troubles were and that's, it
doesn't sound like a very big word.

Terri Brosnan: It's, it's a very small
word to describe an apartheid system.


so in the north of Ireland, there
were two opposing, factions.

Very divided between what was seen as the
Catholic Irish Republican, faction and

the Protestant unionist with, that's a
union with the uk, and wanting to still

be part of the UK government and monarchy.

these were people who had originally
been, asked to come and settle

the land in Northern Ireland,
from Scotland, from England.

they had been given this land to settle
and to organize, centuries before.

So they were at odds with each other
because the people who had come

in, been given the land, had taken
it off the existing inhabitants.

they had organized all of the
businesses, and the economics so

that they benefited only and that
the indigenous pop, indigenous

population couldn't benefit from it.

and, and that obviously leads to conflict.

however, you also have a situation
where people have to live side by

side, and they've defined a way of,
regardless of their internal politics

or even their external politics, of
finding a way of smiling and nodding

at people across the counter in a,
in a, in a day-to-day situation.


I have great observation skills, so
I, I spent my childhood watching these

interactions, and watching people
who I knew were in opposition to

each other, having to go about their
day-to-day lives in some somewhat of

a hand in glove way, and yet being at
very opposing ends of the spectrum.

And it was fascinating how that

Rupert Isaacson: might turned.

Well, that makes it sound like sort
of village or o office politics.

This is not what was going on.

The, the, the, the troubles for tho for
those listeners who, dunno, what happened

was it erupted into enormous violence.


and not, not

Terri Brosnan: British army were
sent in to the British Army,

were sent in to qam the violence.

It started with, peaceful marches,
people looking for, civil rights,

effectively, the, the Catholics

Rupert Isaacson: looking for civil rights

Terri Brosnan: effectively.

Catholics looking for civil rights.

and, the English government going, oh,
well, we can't have them taking over.

Because the English government had a
vested interest in supplying the unionist

population, the, the Protestant population
with money and jobs and keeping the

governing Northern Ireland, keeping it
all of their income in the UK tax coffers.

and so they said, look,
we will support you guys.

We'll send in the Army to keep
the peace in inverted commas.

and so in 1969, they sent paratroopers
onto the streets of Belfast, and

violence erupted on a grand scale,
because, Catholic, people were

already living in enclaves and,
very poor economic and, situations.

They were at the end of
their tether, tether.

They could not earn a
living, successfully.

They couldn't get out of the
situation they were in, because all

of very, like a apartheid in South
Africa, all of the, power was in the

hands of the unionist population.


Rupert Isaacson: us about the violence.

How did the violence manifest itself?

What, what happened?

Terri Brosnan: Oh, So, yeah,
this is a, it's a, it's a thing.

It's funny to to think about it now.

It's, there were bombs all the time.

There were bomb scares every day.

So you might be in a shop and just be
asked to leave, put down everything

you've, you've done and walk out the door.

you got searched every time you
went into a public building.

Any public building, could be a library,
could be a shop, anywhere where other

people went into the door as well.

You could be, bodily searched
at every entrance to the shop.

your handbag was looked in.

your shopping bags were examined
every time you went into a shop.


Rupert Isaacson: bombs
were going off, right?


Bombs were actually exploding.


And killing

Terri Brosnan: people.


People were being kidnapped, people were
being shot, people were being disappeared.

and it may, it was happening and it
didn't always happen so close to home,

but it was happening all around you.

The funny thing that always springs
to mind when, when I talk about this

is there was an announcement used
to be made around about six o'clock

or seven o'clock in the evening.

It would just come on in the middle of
TV programs on your tv and it would,

people would say, will all key holders
in a certain area please return to their.


And that was because there had
been a fire bomb or there had been,

there was a bomb scare in the area.

And, and my, my father was a business
owner, so he would often have to get up,

drive back into Belfast, go and open the
shop or do whatever was required of him.

And people lived like this all the

Rupert Isaacson: time now.


So your father was a
business owner through Yes.

So you, and you were a child
through this thing with bombs going

off, people targeting businesses.

And one of the things I know happened,
was that both sides ended up behaving

somewhat criminally and Yeah.

And getting protection rackets
going where they would go and say,

well, we will burn your shop or
we'll bomb your shop or whatever.

or we'll kill you if you, you
don't pay us protection money.

You don't pay us protection money,
which we'll use to supposedly

for our, our, our cause.

Our cause.

But actually we're gonna,
you know, use to, yeah.


What happened to your dad?

Was he caught up in this?

Terri Brosnan: Yes.

So he had an off license.

Rupert Isaacson: what's an off

Terri Brosnan: license for
those who are not British?

Oh, , where you sell beer and wine.

A liquor store?


Liquor store, exactly.

In the States, the liquor store.

In, in, in, in Australia it's an an offie.


Rupert Isaacson: license to
sell alcohol off premises.

Absent off, off license.



Terri Brosnan: license.

And so, he had been in the
wine trade all of his life.

really enjoyed that end.

Had a barn restaurant in a, in a village.

And he knew instinctively that actually
the area that he was looking at to

set up this off license would be,
was a developing up and coming area.

And he thought, I know
that needs an off license.

And he was right, it did,
maybe just not at that time.

So he, he put this off license in
what was effectively an old part

of the markets area of off Belfast.

and, it was right between two areas.

one was Protestant, one was Catholic.

So both factions would come, knock on
his door, hold ho, hold him up with guns,

bombs, and demand money with menaces.

and so he had, he had three or
four bad incidences, where he

just avoided being seriously hurt.

Rupert Isaacson: there's
one you told me about.

Terri Brosnan: About, oh, the guys
with the, with the barber, the ceiling.

Rupert Isaacson: Please tell us
that story so solicits can get

an idea of how extreme this was.

Terri Brosnan: So they
came in, one had a gun.

So he hold, holds my dad up and he says,
you know, just don't make any false moves.

Don't ring anybody, don't shout.

and he sent the other guy up to plant
an incendiary device, which obviously

a bottle shop is a great place to
plant an incendiary device cuz you're

gonna have lots of, you're gonna
have lots of glass flying everywhere.

and so he sends them upstairs into the,
store area, and there's this and the

floor, the ceiling literally comes down
near the floor and goes back up again.


Rupert Isaacson: it's obvious
that this, the ceiling goes,

goes down, it comes back up.


Most people never see
that in, in their life.

I know.


Terri Brosnan: just go and the, the, the
reaction from the floor back up again.

So it just, and, and the guy who's
holding my dad up says, walk.

Don't run to the guy upstairs.

He's s scuffling out.

The incendiary device had gone on
under his arm, got off under his arm

and it, he, he was missing part of
his limb and the other guy grabs him.

The two of them make it out onto
the street and they get away.

And this guy's

Rupert Isaacson: like
holding it his seven arm.



Blood spurting

Terri Brosnan: never caught.

Rupert Isaacson: Incredible.

Got into, and this was just, this
was just one of several incidents.

Terri Brosnan: One of several incidents.

so yeah, it wasn't a place to have a
successful business in the seventies.

It just wasn't possible.


Rupert Isaacson: how were you
getting into horses mm-hmm.

While you were living effectively in a
war zone in Belfast during the troubles?

What, what, what was happening
that you could do that?


Terri Brosnan: it's interesting,
you know, my dad had, he has this

vision for, an amazing place.

he wanted to set up a hotel that
also had a riding stables, along

a river, in a beautiful place
called Newcastle and County down.

And he had bought the hotel sale,
ended up falling through 1974.

but he had this vision and he, he
knew that this was what something

that people would love to do.

and he said, you know what, you,
you would love to be on horses.

And at the age of five, I was sent,
onto the back of this little Shetland

pony with my brother, and he hated it.

And he fell off the first day.

And I loved it and I
couldn't get enough of it.

and so it was a priority.

My dad just went, yeah, do you
know what you're gonna do this?

So he sent me every week, And it, you
know, it was one of the, the, it was the

light in my life, in the maddest of times.

It was the thing that kept me going.



Rupert Isaacson: Belfast itself
as a city was not so big.

So you could get out of it to the
countryside relatively quickly.


Terri Brosnan: Yeah.

Really, really easily.

Rupert Isaacson: and so this craziness
is going on where you are living.

Terri Brosnan: Yeah.

And you need to get away from

Rupert Isaacson: it.


That makes sense.

But it's not just

Terri Brosnan: going on, it's not
just going on where you're living.

It's going on around the
families that you're living with.


The people you're in school with, you
know, it may not be happening in your

home, but it's happening in their home.

It's happening in your family.

Extended families lives.

It affected everybody.

It's a very small area.

I mean, we've less than a million
people at the time in Northern

Ireland and over six counties.

and so, you know, a dispersed
population, very few of them in the city.

Rupert Isaacson: So obviously, this is not
really a healthy environment, if you can

possibly get out of it, to bring up kids.

what did your dad do?

How did he handle that dilemma?

Terri Brosnan: So in interestingly, he
had, through, through all of this trouble

in, in the off license, he'd ended up, one
of his bank businesses had gone bankrupt.

He was working for other people.

And it was 1980s, , Thatcher
government in the uk.

lots of economic hardship across the uk.

so he had lost a job that he had.

and during the day when he was unemployed,
he used to go down to the library

and look at all of the newspapers
that they had for possible jobs.

And one of them was for a job on
a stud farm in county temporary.

and he clipped it out, brought it home,
and he said, oh my goodness, look at this.

Wouldn't this be amazing?

and on a whim, he applied for the job.

It was a job of, effectively,
house manager butler to an American

multimillionaire who ran a stud farm.

In the most beautiful county in
Ireland, in temporary, and in

Rupert Isaacson: Southern Ireland.

Not in Northern Ireland.

In Southern Ireland.

Terri Brosnan: Away from the troubles.

Away from the troubles.

And he got the job.

and he went down to try it
out for a couple of months,

and things were escalating.

The hunger strikes were ongoing
in, Belfast at the time.

These were political prisoners, hunger
striking for political, political

prisoner status and recognition by
the uk, which was not happening.

they had been on dirty
protests and they had gone on

to, , starvation, hunger strike.

and so tensions were incredibly high,
and we couldn't really wait to get out.

it was getting closer and closer.

My, my parents were really concerned.

My older brother was at, you know,
he's 13, 14, very vulnerable age

when you're seeing all of this
tension around you community-wise.

and we had arranged to leave in May
of 1981, and the day we moved house

was the day that Bobby Sands died.

Rupert Isaacson: One of the may.

Tell us who, yeah.

Tell us who Bobby Sands was
and why that was important.


Terri Brosnan: was one of
the main hunger strikers.

and on the Catholic end,
on the, yeah, Catholic end.

He, he was in the Mays prison and he
was, Protesting peacefully for political

prisoner status of recognition that these
people were not just, were not criminals.

That they were there because
they were engaged in, conflict.

That a political conflict with, the
current regime in the north of Ireland.

and it wasn't being recognized.

so they'd been arrested.

A lot of them had been
interned without trial.

and then they took things
as far as they could.

They stopped wearing clothes.

They started, stopped
using toilet facilities.

and they smeared their excrement on
the walls in the, in the, the prison

in order to highlight their plight.

and eventually the only thing they
could resort to was hunger strike.

and so they did.

and several of them died, and Bobby
Sands had stood as an MP for his

area, and it was unheard of that
a member of parliament, parliament

of the UK parliament would be on
hunger strike and then subsequently

die, from that hunger strike.

And it was just insane.

The place went up like a Tinder kick.

Rupert Isaacson: Okay.

So then it really erupted the violence.

I remember this.


Cause bombs were going off.

I was brought up in London.

Bombs were going off in
London at that time as well.

Terri Brosnan: I remember we're
driving, we're driving outta Dodge

with all of our stuff on our back.

Rupert Isaacson: Literally.

So your dad gets this job?


In the south hundred.

150 miles or more away
from Yeah, all of this.

Terri Brosnan: We leave the
day that this all erupts.

We're leaving.

Rupert Isaacson: Okay.

Leaving as literally the
buildings are burning around you.

You are driving out.


Terri Brosnan: an interesting
Yeah, it was an interesting day.

Good lord.

and we arrived to a very rural,
very bucolic, south County

temporary stud farm, you know,
three or four miles from any town.

It's all very quiet, and
very different lifestyle.

Very different lifestyle.

Rupert Isaacson: And that's where
your horse career really took

Terri Brosnan: off.

Yeah, absolutely.

I had the most amazing luxury
of these fun, fantastic people

who had stunning horse knowledge
and who wanted to pass it on.

and this was the crim Carol family.

Amazing family in temporary, me under
their wing and taught me everything.

I know.

They were incredible.

and I was like a little sponge.

I just couldn't wait to
learn more and more and more.

and, yeah, it was an amazing education.


Rupert Isaacson: you then grow up and go
through your adolescence, become, get into

the horse world, become a professional,
, something is intriguing me here though.


We've talked about your, your background
with conflict and looking for resolution

within conflict, and perhaps that being
something of an instinct, because you

would've, as a kid, been having to
negotiate that whole system of in school,

in the shops in family while all this
stuff was going on in Northern Ireland.

then suddenly you find
yourself in horse paradise.


but something else that I'm dictator,
detecting rather down in, in what you've

been doing within the equine assisted
world is there's a system to it.

Like you, you identified a problem
which was fragmentation, factionalism

people from one area of therapeutic
writing saying, oh, there's not

so good to the other people.

Which I guess if you're coming out of the
troubles in Northern Ireland, if you can

put it in perspective and say, well, yeah,
at least you're not planting a century

bombs in each other, in each other's.


This is small potatoes, guys.

You get over yourself.


I get, I mean, you useful, a
useful perspective to come from.

and then, but this thing about, you know,
looking for the system of, you know,

lunging in hand long reigning to, and
play to get the, keep the horses happy.


Muscled and supple and.

And then looking for how to
incorporate that into the session

so there's no time conflict.

And then looking at, you know, how to
create these courses with Horse Sport

Island, this is all very systematic.

Where does your systems
thinking come from?

Terri Brosnan: Oh, so interestingly,
although my dad had this amazing

idea that I would get to involved
in all these horses, he didn't

want me doing it as a job.

He was like, you know,
there's no money in horses.

Don't, don't ever work with horses.

There's no money in it.

Unless you have a lot
of money to start with.

You're gonna end up with
absolutely no money.

You're not gonna get paid
for the work that you do.

and in lots of ways, he wasn't wrong.

particularly in Ireland, you know,
you, you need to come for money

in order to have and continue to
have horses successfully over time.

it's something that eats at your money
rather than earning you money on,

unless you're at the very high end.

And then it kind of
produces money for itself.

so he said to me, look, you know, you're,
you have a brain, like a steel trap.

It just wants to learn new things.

He said, why don't you go to
college and do something useful?

So I went, and I did,
management because why that?

Oh, you could have done anything
very systematic, very logical.

I have a very logical brain.

You know me well, Rupert, I love logic.

I love maths.

I'm a big maths person.

and so for me, the appliance of
mathematics is structural engineering.

and really that was what I wanted
to know, but I'm, I'm also.

I'm a problem solver.

I, I can't just know one thing.

I have to know how that one
thing fits in with the next,

it's like little cogs and wheels.

So engineering was a perfect fit for me.

and so not only engineering, but
project management within construction

was the area I wanted to go for.

So you had to learn a little bit
about architecture, a little bit, lot

about structural engineering, quantity
surveying, finance, economics, maths.

You know, you had to, you
had to have an overview.

And I love an overview.

I'm no good on small picture.

I'm all about the big picture.

and so that fascinated me.

and I learned how systems went together.

I learned how reliances worked.

You know, if you want something to move
along that you've gotta rely on other

people to come in and help you out.

the best practices around
realizing that everything is

just a part of a growing wheel.

So, you know, nobody's gonna
be amazing on their own.

If I send you out to build a bridge, you
know, over a large river and you're one

man, no matter what idea you have, you're
not gonna be able to make that work.

You might be, but it's gonna
take you an awful long time.

and so I love the fact that all of these
different skills could come together

and make everything work much quicker.

Yet they kept, you know, they
kept professional boundaries.

They kept, quality control going.

Huge part of it.

You know, you can't build a
building without making sure that

everything hits the quality control.

and all those aspects were
respected and valued on site.

And I loved working in
that direct, in that way.

that the T boy was more important
sometimes than the chief engineer,

you know, cuz you can only feed an
army on its stomach, like, you know.

So it was really important that everybody
had their role and it was valued.

And I think it's something that I
really value in my team as well.

you know, when I have an amazing team
where I work, and, and they would be an

extraordinarily amazing rider and riding
instructor in David Moul, but on the

other end you have Lucy who is just this
incredible horse, woman and a brilliant

educator, like an extraordinary educator,
and person extraordinarily brilliant

and talented at working with children.

And everybody brings their strengths
and weaknesses to the team.

And nobody has to do everything.

It doesn't matter if I'm not the
best rider or I'm not the best horse

person, or I'm not the best lunger.

We have those skills within the team.

So it doesn't really matter.

We can.

Pick and choose where it works best.

but I think that's my system's

Rupert Isaacson: brain.

Did you got a chance to put
this into practice, I presume?

Did you go out and work on building
sites and, and Yeah, I did build

Terri Brosnan: projects.

I was involved in the building
of a, a bridge over the

rivers Laney in hy in Wexford.

so this was one of the last ever,
I love this, this, this work.

It was one of the last ever cast in
situ do bridges, which meant that

we poured the concrete every day.

We didn't, didn't just bring
in, pieces that had been precast

elsewhere and went together like Lego.

we actually had to do a huge
amount of problem solving on site.

and we had to actually pour
the concrete and deal with this

active substance on a daily basis.

It was fascinating.

And you only have

Rupert Isaacson: one
chance to get it right.


And the whole county is watching

Terri Brosnan: every, everybody on site
that day and every, the whole town is

watching, so you don't get it wrong.




Rupert Isaacson: great.

okay, so then how did you then, you, you
seem to have moved away from horses there.

Did you keep horses going as a parallel

Terri Brosnan: career?

Yeah, I, I, I, I was trying to move
away and go and have this career, in

engineering and I kept being dragged back.

so I.

I, I, I thought, you know, I miss horses.

I might like to ride
occasionally at a weekend.

That is a hobby.

I know you're laughing now.

And I, I went, literally went, rang a
riding school and I said, do you, do you

have a ride out on a, on a Sunday morning?

and they were like, yeah,
do you have much experience?

And I said, oh, a little bit, you know,
and said, what kind of experience?

Well, I used to teach, but I,
I haven't done it in a while.

And, and they were like, oh,
well, do you wanna come up

and, and, and stay for a bit?

so I arrived up on the Sunday
morning at about 10 o'clock and left

there like nine o'clock that night.

And, I was immediately hooked back in.

Within weeks I was leaving my
job and going back to horses.

So, so my dad's plans went astray and
I went back to working with horses.

And you

Rupert Isaacson: went into the sport
horse industry at that point, I presume.

What, what, what did.

Terri Brosnan: Mostly it
was riding schools actually.

and teaching riding, riding out,
taking trekking in the Phoenix Park

in Dublin, which is this amazing huge
park, where, you know, it's beautiful.

On a sunny day, you ride out onto this
15 acre field with people behind you.

There are deer in the background.

It's all very lovely until you're
there in September and the deer are

rotting, in the little gap that you
have to go out into this 15 acres where

you exercise your horses and it all
becomes a little bit more problematic.

And you learn a lot in those days.

and you've to bring new horses on you,
you know, you're having to risk assess

people who've never been on horses before.

Japanese tourists were
an experience for me.


we, we had a group of Japanese tourists.

None of them ever held a re while
they were out the entire time.

We relied on the goodness and kindness
of our horses who were amazing.

but those kind of experiences show you
where the gaps are, particularly if you

have a brain like mine that loves to find
out where, where, where the gaps are,

what, what, what went wrong, and why,
and how you could redo it a better way.

How did you

Rupert Isaacson: make it safe for these
people who'd never been on horses to

go out among all the rutting deer?

Terri Brosnan: So, yeah,
interestingly, and, and, and I didn't

know as much as I do now, but our
horses were really intelligent.

Really, they trusted us.

We worked with them day in, day out.

So they trusted the people who
worked on the ground with them.

And we, you know, we schooled them
out on the, in the Phoenix Park

when we weren't taking tres, and
they would follow nose to tail.

They knew not to pass the lead rider.

or they'd get growled up by the lead
rider and they would stay behind us.

They were incredibly well trained,
without having a huge amount of training.


And they incredibly
well intentioned horses

Rupert Isaacson: actually.

No, but you said, okay, this
is effectively trekking.


But I know, I know for a fact that
you, you said for example, that you

grew up with the Kreme Carroll family.

Yeah, yeah.

They're they're an iconic Yeah.

Family in the Irish horse world.

So they, they must have
taught you way beyond this.


What was the education you
went through with them?

Terri Brosnan: So, very classical, who
would've taught me most, was, would've

been I think the first I in Ireland,
BHS I, which is the full instructor

level of the BHS exams British Sure.

Society exams.

and we were just really lucky to not only
have that family, but again, they were

amazing women, who wanted to learn more.

And Michelin was never happy
with, just that's the way it is.

She wanted to know why all the time.

So if she didn't know, if it was
something she didn't know and she

couldn't teach me, she would then look
outside and she would go and learn it.

So she did a lot of classical dress
with, a Dutch rider living in Ireland

and around Kilkenny Carmel at the time.

van Dvar was based there.

and, the Lum family were down the road.

and she worked with them.

Tell us about them who were there.

well, William Lum is the, the person
most people would associate, with them.

Now William is the one of the sons,
his dad was an amazing horseman.

They were Dutch family living
again outside of, Tom Allen Re,

and fantastic horse knowledge.

Rupert Isaacson: What discipline
were they, were they in?

Mostly dressage

Terri Brosnan: and show jumping.


but, but you know, really well-rounded ac
I think a lot of the people I was lucky

enough to come across at that stage,
started off as three day Advers, knew

that the whole, picture of your horse
depended on, you know, you wanted to

have a horse who could do everything.

And who was fit,

Rupert Isaacson: I guess.

Terri Brosnan: Yeah, absolutely.

and so those were the days of
eventing, did roads and tracks.


So, you know, you did, you did
steeplechase roads and tracks,

you also did cross country.

You did dress out and your horse had
to be supple, collectible, expandable,

jump, do everything speed up, really
go fast, come back, you know, so they

trained their horses for that work.

and they didn't want to
just train, show jumpers.

I think there wasn't a market for
pure show jumpers at that stage.


In Ireland.


So they had to produce these really
well-rounded horses that would do whatever

the market demanded them to, to do.


So we learned everything
so versatility, basically.



I mean, we were looking at that time
at Irish draft horses and Irish sport

horses, which came from the idea of having
a horse that would drive you to mass.

You could, you know, ride,
, afterwards and it was, you

know, it would also plow your

Rupert Isaacson: fields and then you
go hunting on it at, on a Saturday.




Up all the big banks.


Terri Brosnan: Yeah.


It had to do everything and that,
that ethos permeated the entire

equine industry here in Ireland.


Was don't specialize, generalize,
we're too small to specialize.


You know, so we need to produce
these horses that can do

Rupert Isaacson: everything.

So now let's just jump ahead to
Child Vision, where you are now.

fitness is a really interesting thing
because o obviously, you know, for many of

us, we'd say, okay, well that's hill work.

Or that's, you know, a lot
of, trail riding at the trot.

You know, get your horses fit, get
them hard fit in the tendons as well.

Da da da da da.

Well, you can't really
do that where you are.

You're, it's just for li
No, we have no room, no.

For listeners who, dunno where she's,
you think Drumcondra in, in Dublin.

It's not greenfields and leprechauns
if, or there might be leprechauns.

No, but they're living
in, in tower blocks.

It's Sydney Center, right?

It's, it's, it's the city center
of a, of a large European city with

a couple of million people in it.


Terri Brosnan: and it's, it's not
the Hyde Park end of a city center.


It's not the Shali end of the city center.

No, it is in the real core.

Rupert Isaacson: Right.

It's not the Phoenix Park
that she was talking about.


It's, it's no, like I said, if
there's leprechauns, they're

living in tower blocks.


How are you keeping your horses fit there?

Terri Brosnan: We're, we're working them.

We're lunging them, we're riding them.

We are we working them in
hand and long reigning them.

We don't have the space.

Everything has to be
done on a micro basis.


You know, so you've gotta be

Rupert Isaacson: free.

So they're better in the gym

Terri Brosnan: the whole time.


You've gotta find the smallest
amount of space that you

can do the most amount with.

So we don't even have, you know,
we don't have a gallop track.

We don't have, yeah.

We've had to make, do amend.

I recently had a visit from, a college
in Northern Ireland coming down to

see what we were doing, and they said,
when we talk to you and you tell us

about what you do, it, it, we thought
we were coming to this huge place.

And you, you, it's so tiny.

It was like,

Rupert Isaacson: yeah, it's really tiny.

Yeah, it's really tiny.

So even within this tiny postage stamp
that you've got, I know that you have

a trail around a sports field as well.


which you've gotta share with the
rugby players and the Yes, we do.

but honors today, yeah.

I've seen your horses and they
are muscled and magnificent.

So would you be available, for example,
if there are, if there are people

listening saying, well, gosh, you know,
I, I don't really have a lot of space.

what absolutely, what can I do?

Would you be able to mentor them
in, in a program of fitness and

lunging and, and that sort of thing
that you can use a small space

Terri Brosnan: for?

I, I mean, realistically for,
for us, the big key to this

was the in-hand work that yoga.

I mean, you know, if you have a
bathroom that is only as wide as

your arms, And as long as your body,
you have enough space to do yoga in.

and, and we would feel
the same about the horses.

So the in-hand work, the
suppleness work, that all happens

in a relatively short space.

You don't even need a 20 meter
circle to do this work in,

you can do it in the yard.

you know, up and down between the boxes.

We can, we can work in a
very small space with this.

and actually sometimes it really helps
to work in a small space because it helps

the horse to have a direction to move in.

but yeah, all that supple
work, it's yoga for horses.

and so our horses are supple.

When they're supple, it's easier.

They're building muscle
because they're relaxed.

There's no tension, there's
no stress in the body.

and they're able to, they're, they're
getting, they're feeling better.

So they're feeling like they can move
their shoulders a little bit more.

They're feeling like they can move
their hindquarters a little bit more.

When they feel like that and you put them
on the lunge, they are starting to get

that hind leg further underneath them.

They're starting to feel good about
themselves the way we do when we

are more supple and more agile.

and you get the same response.

They're more willing to take a
leap to go and, and and go that

extra mile cuz it feels good.

It doesn't feel hard.

Rupert Isaacson: How do you avoid,
I mean, horses still need to get

out there and eat grass, you know?

Sooner or later.

And I, I remember when I was a kid
in London, when, 500 years ago, there

were actually quite a lot of horses
in the city then, rag and bone men.

the, the, the, all the breweries had drays
delivering the barrels of beer pooled

by magnificent, teams of shy horses.

They obviously all the police horses,
but they're also, like a lot of the

old cab drivers came from families
that had, had ha had, had hackney cabs.


and still had a tradition of carriage
driving in their spare time and kept their

horses in muses, you know, urban stables.


in the middle of the city.

So interestingly that, that was
how, but they, they, they would

send their horses out, yeah.

For grazing a certain amount of time
in the summer to the counties around.

What do you do for your horses for this?


Terri Brosnan: well, were we in the
same situation here in, in Dublin when

I moved, into Dublin from Tip Prairie.

and actually the horse industry in
Dublin was full of those guys who

were, carriage drivers, dray drivers,
and they, they were some of the first

people that I got to know in the city
center, around horses in the city center.

And so when I had this problem of
working in a stables in the middle

of the city center, no turnout or
very limited turnout, I went, what?

How do I get my horses outta grass?

and I went back to these guys
who, you know, and I said, you

know, guys, what, what do you do?

What are you doing?

And I remembered, one, one
particular family, the good family.

and, and they would always, they were
big into their horses, went outta grass.

The minute they weren't being used,
they went outta grass, you know,

if they weren't interacting with
humans, they went out, got downtime,

got to be horses away from humans.

And so that was, you know, I I, I spoke
to Ben and Val about this, Ben and Val.


And I said, where were they?

Where can I, who were Ben and Val?


The, these are, these are the guys
that I'd met who were carriage

drivers in Dublin City Center.


Values used to drive
the Guinness carriage.

Ben used to drive the
Lord Mayor's carriage.

So they were great men to us.

They were great mentors.

and so, you know, they said, go
to me because that's the place for

the best grass nearest to Dublin.

And it's the next county up.

and the soil is fantastic.

And that was where they
had put their horses.

and so we went to Ashburn
in meth and we rented land.

It was one of the first things I did
when I moved into, working in that

yard, in television, in Dublin, because
they just didn't have enough grass.


and there was no way I could sit there
with these horses and look at them never

getting out for a really good grass.

Rupert Isaacson: And how far are
these pastures that you rented?

In county me from drum condra,
where in the city center,

Terri Brosnan: they're
about 35 kilometers away.

so it's a sh you know, it's, it's
not even an hour with the Horsebox.

and so we, we, we take them
out as often as we can.

Rupert Isaacson: Do you have a sort
of a pattern to it of rotation?

Yeah, we,

Terri Brosnan: I mean, we have two weeks
in the summer, two weeks at Christmas.

We'll go for a week at Easter
and a week at Halloween as well.

Around October, no,
September, October time.

and more if it becomes available, if
any horse is not doing well, we stop

the work and we put them outta grass.

If they're for any reason,
they're not going to be working,

we put them out to grass.

so it, it's our default place.

It's our rest home, it's our downtime
if we get a long weekend, and it's

more than just the Monday off, we
might have the Friday off as well.

Horses go to grass.


So it's, it's, it, it's
where we possibly can.

and we'll rotate them as well.

So to give one rest and bring one in so
that they're coming in fresh all the time.

I had a horse out last week, because
he just needed some downtime.

he needed to just lie in
the sun and be a horse.

and he's come back in great form.

you know, and a week
of that is really good.

It's like ourselves
when we go on holidays.

You don't necessarily need two
months holidays cuz you enjoy

your work, but you do need to get
away from it on a regular basis.


And you need to know that
you can come back into it.

Lots of short

Rupert Isaacson: breaks
rather than Yeah, absolutely.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

No, I, I, I, I think that's
very, very important.

You know, I, I've, I've, in the
course of the horse boy work, I've

been lucky enough to work with some
people who work in, urban settings.

Obviously you, a a great go Mandy in,
in Amsterdam, who is in a, again, a

very small patch, other, other places.

And of course they always battle
to find the areas outside of

the city where they can get to,
but all of them prioritized it.

and it seems to be, as you
say, the magic formula.

obviously you need all that good type of
work you were talking about, but Yeah,

just for, for the brain and the, and the
nervous system and the gut, you know,

just to be able to go out to grass and, as
you say, not deal with humans for a bit.

Well, I, I think until they
present themselves at the

gate and say, no, I'm ready to

Terri Brosnan: come back.

Yeah, absolutely.

We, we, I mean we, we mustn't
forget our horses work.

They are working horses.

They're not leisure horses.

They do a job.

and it's really important
that they get downtime.

Like us.

They can't, you can't give from
an empty cup, and our horses

can't give from an empty cup.

So you've gotta have that ethos across
the board for your team, for your horses.

Our horses are our team.

So as far as our, we were
concerned, it was a no-brainer,

Rupert Isaacson: you know?

So, so tell us a little bit more
about the work you do at Child

Vision with the visually impaired.

how is that specific within
the equine assisted world?

I know you're not only working
with that population, but it's,

it's a population that I, that I'm
intrigued, by for many reasons.

Talk, talk us through a

Terri Brosnan: little bit.

Oh, this is my, my, my pet subject.

You might not ever get me off this.


Rupert Isaacson: grab a
bottle of whiskey guys.


Terri Brosnan: carries off.

We'll be back in a while.


we have the most amazing setup because
we have preschool children with a

visual impairment coming into our
service at, from the age of 18 months.

And so 18 months.

18 months, yeah.

So we can have him up on the horse

Rupert Isaacson: at 18 months.


Terri Brosnan: yes.


That's interesting.

So we can even for a few minutes And,
and, and, and remember at that age they're

physically not able to take a huge amount
and it would only be supported riding.

Rupert Isaacson: So are you riding
with them in front of you in

Terri Brosnan: the saddle?


Back riding and for a few minutes just
to help encourage head control, you know,

body control, all those kind of things.

we are so lucky to have this population
to work with because it's interesting.

None of the children we see are
just visually impaired nowadays.

Somebody with just a visual impairment
is considered very mainstream.

And so the children and adults that we see
have visual impairment and another okay.

Number of issues.

So they may have autism, which is the
most kind of straightforward group of

kids that we would see from our services.

They may have cerebral palsy, they
may have a number of syndromes

associated with premature birth.

They may have cortical visual
impairment where their eyes are

perfect, but their brain can't process.

The visual information from the eyes.

And this is a really interesting one
for you, Rupert, because neurologically

the older part of the brain, not the
newer part of the brain, is still

getting some visual information
that high contrasts black and white.

Even with people with visual impairment,
the kinia cells are still sending

signals across the brain, but not in
the visual neural pathways that we

currently associate with color vision.


Rupert Isaacson: so how are those, so
kinia cells for those, or kin cells

as we should kin them Kinney cells?


For those people that Dunno what
those are, those, those are cells,

produced in the, cerebellum mm-hmm.

That when you move and problem solve, your
brain produces this protein called bdnf,

brain-derived neurotrophic factor that
makes your brain produce more brain cells.


And among these brain cells are these
things called bikini cells, which govern

motor skills and social skills and
act like an internet within the brain.

How are those, that's just sort of so
people understand what you mean by that.

But my question is how are those
cells, you said those cells

are picking up and transferring
information through the brain.

That's visual, but it's not being
interpreted by the brain as sites vision.


How is, how is the brain
interpreting that information?

Terri Brosnan: So the, the, the motor
pathways and the old kind of contrast,

very basic, In the, in, in the really old
part of the brain though, that's still, so

what we associate with modern sight is all
this, you know, rods and cones is color,

high color, high definition vision that
we associate with being fully rec sighted.

But there's an older vision right in
the back, which is still about, you

know, high contrast, black and white.

that, that is really closely
linked with motor pathways.

And we're currently looking, we're doing
some research at the moment into the

effect of rapid movement on, vision and
orientation because we can move people

on a horse much faster than they're
ever gonna move on their own two feet.

And it makes them solve problems faster,
it increases their thought process

speed, and it is giving them new ideas
so that it's, that's just one of my

hobby horses on, on the end of, and
it's something that we're working on

at the moment of paper we're working
on for Denver, actually for the, vision

2023 conference in Denver in July.

But, so there's a lot of,
there's a lot of similarities.

Vision impairment is a
sensory processing issue.

If you're having an issue with
your vision, you are having an

issue with one of your senses.

So, All of the things that apply for
sensory processing issues and autism and

ADHD all apply for visual impairment.

and so we've got this amazing crossover,
and we've got people with absolutely

no vision cantering on horses,
and they're able to turn, turn the

corner independently, independently.

We are not even on lunch line.

They are riding independently
encountering these horses.

and you know, their vision
would be very, very poor in

comparison to the main population.

they might have some light or you know,
some color maybe, but not necessarily the

Rupert Isaacson: two.

But they're getting, they're
getting down the road with a stick.

They're, they're sorry, what?

They're getting down the

Terri Brosnan: road with a stick.



They're walking with a cane.

Rupert Isaacson: So what do you
think is allowing these, these people

to be able to guide their horses?

So we've, through independently in the

Terri Brosnan: arena, we've been
asking this question actually at

orientation and mobility conference.


Rupert Isaacson: What do they say?

Have you asked them?

Terri Brosnan: Well, they've
come up with loads of ideas.

They've come up with this whole
idea of echolocation and they've

come up with the idea of, you
know, The feedback from the horse.

they've, you know, maybe if, if
they, they're mapping the arena

somehow, but these are people
who are not on their own feet.

They're not at the same height they're
normally at, they're, you know,

moving faster than they normally move.


So actually the secret is that this
old part of the brain that isn't

processing vision as we know it,
as they move in space, is telling

them about what's coming up.

It's giving them a map of the arena
or of the space that they're in.

Rupert Isaacson: So, so they're
getting a brain and body map.


That's extending beyond the horse.

Because those of you who know what
brain and body maps do, let's say

you're holding a pen, your brain creates
the pen as part of your body, or the,

you're going through a doorway and
it creates the hype between your head

and the doorway as part of your body.

So you duck Yeah.

That sort of thing.

but to, to, to say, to
make the whole arena Yes.

Out of a brain and body map, they

Terri Brosnan: can map the whole place.

Do you think that

Rupert Isaacson: this is therefore like
a bit of a superpower that you might get?


If you are visually impaired, because
you've gotta overcompensate in another way

because I, I can't map the whole arena.

Well, these are my, and I
spent my life riding in arenas.

I don't map, hold on.

My, my circle's always.


You know, these are,

Terri Brosnan: these are
called Magnocellular Pathways.

Rupert Isaacson: Magnocellular
Pathways, cellular Pathways

in Magnocellular Pathways.

Tell us about these, please.

Terri Brosnan: I, I, I, I'm
currently in my research, mode.

and I, I have, coming back with more,
but I spoke to an ophthalmologist

today and she said, oh yes, the
magnocellular pathways in the brain

are along the movement pathways.

They go back into that ancient part of
the brain and they're giving an impression

of what's in front of that person.

So it's not vision as such,
but is an impression of where

things are in space around them.


So that's fascinating for me.


but yes, and it's that bdnf, the
more you create the bdn f the

brain-derived neurotrophic factor,
the more you grow those brain cells,

the more information they're getting.

The more they come across this,
their thought processors are

just getting faster and faster.

It's like learning to drive a car, because
when you get in first you're like, oh,

everything's coming up on me so quickly.

And then you're like, oh, faster,
faster going on motorways.

You're fine.

You know, you get, become used to it.

You never step back that pace.

You never unlearn thinking at that speed.


So if we can put them on the
horse, they learn to think faster.

Than they have

Rupert Isaacson: previously.

So optimal, optimal cognitive
function, basically.

Terri Brosnan: Absolutely.



Horses moving at 24 kilometers
an hour at Cantor, it's, they're

moving at two and a half to three
kilometers an hour on their feet.


This is 10 times the speed.

Mm, sorry.

It's just a,

Rupert Isaacson: it's
so fascinating to me.

What, what, what, what's fascinating
to me there too is that, well,

obviously if it's a car, if it's
a machine, it does your bidding.


A horse, of course, has many variables.

It's gonna take that corner differently
depending on your body weight, depending

on if it's either a bird over there,
depending on if there's the, the, how

the ground is, any number of factors.

So you could do 10 circles and
each of those circles, presumably,

if you're visually impaired,
could feel very, very different.

Yet you can map that circle time
after time on an animal that is

reacting itself to that circle.

To the circle.


What's going on there?

Is that more bdf?

What's, what's that?

Terri Brosnan: It's, it's, it's
something that's still under research

that we're looking at at the moment, but
it's, ah, it's just a joy to look at.

and what we're we're seeing is that, you
know, when somebody is on the back of the

horse, part of their body is supported.

So, you know, if you're visually impaired,
you spend a lot of your concentration

on keeping your body upright in space.


Just moving one foot in front
of the other is a difficult

Rupert Isaacson: task.


This is on foot, not even on before
you even think about a horse.

Terri Brosnan: No.

But if you take away some of
that concentration, the horse is

supporting you from the waist down.

You've got more brain power
to think about other things.

Rupert Isaacson: This makes sense.

And I guess something that's spraining
to mind while you were talking there.

You know, we all, those of us who
ride all sort of aspire to, to

that center feeling, you know?


And sometimes we, we really have
it where it feels like our, our

own legs sort of basically become
the front legs of the horse.

And, you know, we're really
at that optimal melding

shapeshifting really, you know?


And of course, one of the ways many of
us who teach riding get people to do

that is by Shark 10, shut their eyes.


You know, go down the long
side, take a certain number

of steps with your eyes shut.

You always, your feel improves.

Do you think that if, if these
people are riding effectively with

their eyes shut the whole time?

Terri Brosnan: Well, one of the
things that stops us from realizing

our dream of being sent to us is that
we open our eyes and we look and we

see that we're not part of the horse.



You know, so there's, there's that
visual aspect of you're sitting and

suddenly you're moving through space.

Your body is moving through
space elegantly and beautifully,

and you don't have this visual.

Signal say it's not all you.


Rupert Isaacson: brilliant, Terry.

That's something I
hadn't considered at all.

so perhaps the visually impaired
experience of riding a horse is

truer to what we're all seeking.

I hope so.

The visually, I hope so.

Terri Brosnan: They love it.

What what a

Rupert Isaacson: what a what
a joyful it is a joyful thing.


I mean, fantastic.

I just feel my heart
lifting as you say that.

Terri Brosnan: So yes, I have the
best job now, and we can start

them from when they're quite
small so we can give them this

Rupert Isaacson: experience.


So yes, if someone starts with this at 18
months and then is doing this from there,

by the time they're 20, it's just there.

So, and, and do you really observe a
cause I know you've been there seven

years now, so you've presumably seen
some kids go from, you know, through

that seven years trajectory with you.


What have you observed in
their cognitive function,

Terri Brosnan: of that time?

They are, I mean, so the, the difficulty
is because I see all of our children

as being bright and beautiful and
amazing, and, and having their own towns.

But you do see huge leaps actually in
cognitive function, in their ability

to interact with you in their wanting
to interact, follow instructions.


Rupert Isaacson: development in, in their
academic life, in the school away from.

Terri Brosnan: Absolutely.

so I mean, we would work
towards sort, sort of things,

pattern recognition, academics.

We're always working
towards that end of things.

So yes, we can, and we do do
academics with some of our

children on the back of the horse.

but it's all around initially
it's often around concept

development with visual impairment.

Concept development is even harder
than it is for somebody with autism.

so, you know, what are you sitting on?

I have no idea.

I can't see this horse.

Interesting, interesting.

So we work on concept
development around everything.

you know, where they are, what
the field looks like, how trees

are, they can feel them, they can
touch them, they can reach up.

yeah, so we work a lot on concept
development initially with them.

And then we work around movement
and then onto academics and all

Rupert Isaacson: that.

When you're teaching academics, okay,
so let's say your concept development

is good and they're now understanding
the environment they're working in, what

they're on, and the brain is developing.

Could you give us an
example of how you would.

Do an academic exercise in the saddle.

So we

Terri Brosnan: very simple because
you know, we, we are a small charity.

We don't have massive amounts.

We're not an international
charity, say for example.

So funding is not enormous.

so we, we have defined really
interesting ways of doing things.

and one of the things we found,
her foam dice are an amazing tool.

and we hide them in our trail,
in boxes and we get the children

to collect them, find them, and
then we might throw the dice.

and the sum of the dice might be the
number that of steps that we taught for,

or it might be a multiple of the number

Rupert Isaacson: on the dice.

Oh, so they, they would, they
would take the foam dice throw.

Can they feel, can they
feel the, the dots on it?

Can they feel vi, is
it a bit like braille?

Can they feel the dots of the number?

We, we have,

Terri Brosnan: we have wooden
ones that have holes Yeah.

That have holes in so that they
can use those visually impaired.


Can, can use those.

Rupert Isaacson: But we, yeah.

So then they would throw it.


A number would, they
would feel that number.

Give them up, put the horse
into that number of trot steps.

Yeah, absolutely.

And that's a sort of cellular
way of becoming a, what

would you then do with that?

How would you then turn
that into a arithmetic?

Terri Brosnan: So we might say if,
if we, if we are doing it in groups,

there might be two people with five.

So we've gone for five and we might
say, well, we'll add the second

five steps onto the first five.

So we might say, right,
we're going to talk for.

5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 5 and five more is 10.

So we might, we might do it that way.

We might work on getting them to, you
know, add the subtract one from another.

Well, depending on what we're working on
that day, we'll make it very physical.

We'll make it very practical.

so that, could you, could

Rupert Isaacson: you take it
beyond addition and subtraction?

Could you take it to
multiplication and division?

Abso Absolutely.

Terri Brosnan: How would you do that?

Two times.

Five is 10.

Two times five is 10.

Okay, so we've got two of you.

So we've had five and five,
that's two times five.


So how are we gonna, and then if we
were to take five away from what we

did, we'd have only gone for trot.

We'd have only trotted one
time for that first five.

So 10 minus five is five, you know,
so we would in, in that way, we

develop those concepts over time

Rupert Isaacson: and all of that
is being felt through the body

Terri Brosnan: completely.

And it's much more motivational.

They're getting all of that
oxytocin, they're getting that lovely

movement, and they're having fun.

They're getting proprioceptive feedback.

They get everything's involved, their
vestibular systems activated, because

they're moving, and, and they're moving
in a rapid movement on the back of the

Rupert Isaacson: horse.

And they're, what, what
you're really doing there.

What you're really talking about,
it seems is applied neuroscience.



That just happens.


Four legs.


Terri Brosnan: he's applied neuroscience
as a systems girl, I need to be

working with the main computer.

You know,

everything else comes from that.

Let's make that the, the center
of where you're gonna work from.

Rupert Isaacson: Yeah.

It's fascinating.

if you were giving advice to somebody
starting up now in the therapeutic

riding world, or somebody who was,
had been in it for a while, Yeah.

But was looking for new horizons,
you're obviously developing all of this.


What would your first advice be?

Terri Brosnan: My first
advice is be professional.

Think about the best practice that you can
achieve within whatever space you're in.

It doesn't matter if, if you're
50 horses or you've two horses, do

the very best that you can at every
aspect that you can afford to do it.

So for me, you know, I like
to learn about everything.

I'm, I just like, I love knowledge.

I, I'm curious.

I wanna know, am I doing the right thing?

And if I'm not, is there something better?

What makes it better?

Why is it better?

How can I improve what I'm doing?

Because we develop as humans and we want
to always, there's no point in, isn't

what they say about failure is doing the
same thing, you know, time after time

and never learning from your mistakes.

Well, that's

Rupert Isaacson: insanity actually is what

Terri Brosnan: True.

But you know, so for me it's about
what can I learn in this situation?


Stay curious.

Always stay curious, and then go and
find the mentorship that you need.


Rupert Isaacson: go ahead.

I didn't want to interrupt you that.


Terri Brosnan: So, so, so just
never just say, oh, I don't know

how to get that information.

Ask the people who are doing it,
because if they're anything like

me, I will happily tell you forever.

so, you know, just go and ask.

People really want, if they're
doing something well, they

want to share that information.

If they're doing something
poorly, they'll want to hide it.

So if, if they're doing something
well, they want the world

to know about it, you know?

so they will happily tell you,
I've never met somebody who does

a really good job, who's not
happy to say, do you wanna learn?


And it may be you have to spend three
months doing it this way, or you spend

a year doing it this way to learn.

You give your time or you give your money
or whatever it is that makes it work.

Find the mentorship, go and
find the people who can do it.

Rupert Isaacson: That seems to me
the key word about that's run through

your whole thing here is mentorship.


So, you were mentored by
the Kreme Carroll family.


you absorbed all that, Yes.

Good equine practice.

Then when you were getting
into systems stuff, you mm-hmm.

Went to be mentored in that
mechanical engineering.


you went, when you got into the
therapeutic riding side, you

went off for mentorship Yeah.

For some years.

And then now you offer mentorship.


I think, I think one of the, the problems
in the, in the horse world frankly,

is lack of curiosity and people being
afraid to be judged as a beginner.

Whereas of course, one
always is a beginner.

Whenever one learns a new skillset.


So therefore, don't go
learn a new skillset.

Just defend forever what you
do, rather aggressively and

be really grumpy about it.

If anyone suggests any
change, And, and yeah.

The mo, you

Terri Brosnan: know, absolutely.

And, and that has traditionally
been the mindset here.

But for me, mentorship doesn't
just come from experts.

And I have had amazing mentors in my life,
John Watson, who was a, an Olympic rider.

I got to work with him when
I was a very small child.

He used to do pony club rallies.

I mean, you know, but
fantastic mentorship.

but it isn't always these people
with this huge knowledge up here.

I get mentorship every
day from my colleagues.


I get mentorship from the kids that I see.


If you're curious, you will find
mentorship everywhere you go.

Are you

Rupert Isaacson: actively asking
your children for their feedback?

What do you think?


What could we improve?

What's working, what's not working?

Rather than ask our parents, shut
up and put this, throw this dice

so that we can do this exercise.

Terri Brosnan: Yeah.


What do you want to do?

We give them of the autonomy.

We ask them where they want to go
with it, because it's not about us.

This, this whole thing is
not about, it doesn't matter.

If I go out there every day and it's
about me, then nobody else benefits.

I can't benefit anybody else unless
I give, get their feedback, unless

I ask them how they want to do this.

Because it's not about me.

It's not about my experience of
equine assisted therapy or I.

Any interaction with the horse, it's about
I ask my horses what they want to do.

You know, so I, I I need to be
not the center of this situation.

I need to ask what is best for you?

How am I best serving you?

If I'm not serving them,
I'm not doing my job.

I am not there to be served.

Rupert Isaacson: Yeah.

If something's not
working, what can I change?


Rather than absolutely it's the, the fault
of that person, or it's the fault of that

Terri Brosnan: horse.

It's, no, it's never, it's, we need
to change something in the situation.

It's not something is wrong or
somebody has done something wrong.

It is just, we need a change.

And people, I, I'm not great with change.

I'm not always brilliant with change.

People are great with change, but
I've found that change is what works.

If again, you know, repeating the
same mistake over and over again,

it's, it's no good for anybody.

So, you know, there are
amazing people out there.

and I'm really lucky in an, I work
in an organization where people

have lots of different skills and
I don't have to have their skills.

I can just go to the people who
have them and say, what do I do now?

Rupert Isaacson: So you're, you're
going to occupational therapists, you're

gonna physical therapists, you're gonna

Terri Brosnan: speech and language
therapists, o and m specialists,

orientation and mobility specialists,
disability specialists, nursing staff.

We have nursing staff on campus,
which is incredible godsend.

But even in terms of research,
I have library staff, I

have hr, so I'm very lucky.

I have an unusual situation because all
of the things that you would want to

have as a business, if you're setting
this up, I actually have, and I have

lots of expertise in that in other areas
within the building that I work in.

And I don't have to do all of that.

And yes, I have run my own
yards and had to be, you know,

chief, washing, bottle cleaner.


I, I did all the jobs, you know,
where you're, you're mucking out,

you're answering the phone, you're
teaching the lessons, you're pulling

the mains, you're doing everything.

I, I, I've, I've done that and of things.

And it's not joyful.


It's not joyful when you, everything
comes on, falls on one person.

It is joyful to work
in harmony with others.

Tribal, whether it's Yeah.



Extended family.

Rupert Isaacson: Yeah.



And that's where the joy comes.



I, I think that that's always the
central theme here is that if you are,

if you are not having wellbeing, if the
horse is not having wellbeing, how can

you and the horse transmit wellbeing?

To some someone else, you,
it's not possible, right?

It's impossible.

and you're so right that, that the team
tribe call it what you will aspect of

it, brings joy because that's of course
how humans are supposed to to be.

But we know so many people in the
horse industry exists in isolation.

It's just me in my yard doing my thing.

I don't want any outside interference.

I don't want, and this is
certainly true in the therapeutic

Terri Brosnan: world, but it's just fear.

It's just fear.

We, I think particularly in the
horse industry, there's an awful

lot of cases of, imposter syndrome.


So we hide what we don't know
under, a facade of bluff.


and, and, and brusqueness rather than
saying, actually, can you show me how that

Rupert Isaacson: works?


No, I, I couldn't agree more.

and I think it's a sickness within,
obviously it's not just the horse world.

One, one

Terri Brosnan: part.

No, it's everywhere.


Rupert Isaacson: it's, it's
somehow, particularly a

little bit in the horse world.

And one of the things I, I find
fascinating about you, Terry, is

that you, you are one of those few
people I've run across there who just

go into this forever student mode.

because you could say,
look, I'm working for this.

Really cutting edge, organization,
child Vision in Dublin.

We're doing a fantastic job.

We really know, think, I know
that you're getting invited to

conferences around the world.

I know you just got back from Warsaw.

I know you're off to Colorado, as
you just said, to present in Denver.


there's a neuroscience conference coming
up, next year in, in Virginia, which

I know you're gonna be invited to.

so, you know, you're, you're in demand,
so you could rest on those laurels, but

you don't, you, you still go out and look.


Terri Brosnan: so my brain
needs input all the time.

I have that brain that needs constant,
you know, it needs to problem solve.

I need my vestibular problem
solving, brain needs input all the

time, and I love to solve problems.

a pattern recognition is
my, it's my little, it's my

specialist area of interest.


Rupert Isaacson: so tell us, sir, how
can people get in contact with you?

How can they find out
more about your work?

Terri Brosnan: Okay, so I'm,
I'm working in child's vision

in Interim Contra in Dublin.

And anybody is welcome to drop
in Monday to Friday, nine till

five into our yard and say hello.

Where they could

Rupert Isaacson: just public,
they could just Google Child

Vision is one word, absolutely.

Terri Brosnan: Ie.

Child Vision, ie.

And they can rock up on the campus.

It's open to the public, so, All,
all year round and we'll be there.

so on a very physical level, you
can get your ass into television

and, and we'll be there.

and on an internet level, you can
find me at terri@equigeek.com,

so E Q U I g e e k.com.

and or Terry brosnan@childvision.ie.

Rupert Isaacson: Just repeat
those a couple of times so people

run off and get their pens.

Just yeah.

So it's say them slowly
so people can write them

Terri Brosnan: down.

The Irish disease of
speaking really quickly.

so it's Terry Brosnan, T e r, yeah.

R i b r o s n a n at Child Vision, ie.

That's c h i l d V I S I O n, ie.

or Terry, t e r r qui
geek e q ui g e e k.com.

Alternatively, you will be able
to get me at Terry Horse, ie.

in the next couple of weeks.


yeah, so I will answer emails if
you send them through to me, I'll,

I answer any questions or I will
put you in touch with somebody who

knows more about this than I do.

Rupert Isaacson: and specifically for
people who are interested in, in this,

course that you're doing, for equine
professionals wanting to look at the,

the various ways of getting involved
in a therapeutic world professionally.


I could imagine that
this goes beyond Ireland.

that if people from other countries
wanted to look at the model that

you've produced and look at some doing
something similar, can they get with

you and talk with you about that?

Can they book themselves
on one of your courses?

Terri Brosnan: Absolutely.

we will have a course coming up at
the very end of August, beginning of

September, in Dublin in Child Vision.

there would be a four day
therapeutic writing coaching

course, on the last week of August
into the first week in September.

it's the Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday,
Thursday of that week, and we, there

will be one in Northern Ireland in
cre, in Enki, in the college, the

agricultural and equine college in Enki.

Sometime over Halloween holidays.

I haven't got exact dates yet, but
there's, there's definitely one coming

up in Northern Ireland for that date.

Rupert Isaacson: Okay.

And obviously I'm gonna say
because the internet is timeless,

this is 2023 we're talking about.


if you're listening to this, in later
timeframes, just contact Terry for

Terri Brosnan: absolutely when there's
gonna be more and we'll continue to

run these courses, for as long as Horse
Board Island will continue to fund us.

Rupert Isaacson: Fantastic.

well, listen, Terry, it's been an
absolute treat to check in with you.

the work you're doing is
stalking, as we say in Okay.

and it gives me great gladness because
as a dad of an autistic child who

found his way through horses, but in an
unconventional way, I just know that with

people like you out there doing this sort
of thing, there's gonna be more kids like

mine helped, and this makes me happy.

I want to thank all the listeners.


Or, tune in.

Please do contact Terry directly.


She really will get back to you.

She will help you.

I've, I've seen her do
this time and time again.

It doesn't matter if
you're in the USA or Japan.

She can help you, particularly if you
are trying to put something together in

a smaller space, particularly if you're
looking at how to look at all these

various, apparently conflicting modalities
within the, the therapeutic horse world.

How do you marry them all together?

She's the lady to talk to.

if you are interested in, what we do
at Horse Boy, please go to, n ntls.co.


That's for new Trails Learning Systems.

that's Horse Boy Method Movement
Method, and Athena, which is

our trauma based modality.

Or if you're interested in the
horse training and personal

development, go to long ride
home.com and you'll find us there.

and please tune in for the
next equine assisted world.

As you can see with Terry here,
the people that are coming on this

are, are doing extraordinary work
that we all need to know about.

I have one last little sneaky question.



You and I, I'm sure everyone was wondering
this, your surname is Brosnan and you're

Irish and you're living in county.



We're to know that Pierce Brosnan.

Pierce Brosnan is a Navan man, right?

I believe he, yes.


Any, yeah, any relation?

Are you relation?

Terri Brosnan: Yes.

They're all actually Kerry men.


And apparently there was a family feud.

About a hundred years ago over a farm
somewhere in Kerry, on the other side of

Ireland, on the other side of Ireland.

so our side of the family doesn't
actually know his side of the

family, for some bizarre reason,
but apparently he's a lovely man.

and yes, his family are from
just up the road, so they're

Rupert Isaacson: okay.


So what that really means, our listeners,
is if you get in touch with Terry, she'll

sort you out with a date with Pierce.

So, excellent.

Or, or the more reason to, to contact.

Terri Brosnan: I, I'm only
married to his, lovely cousin, so,

Rupert Isaacson: and,
and Nile, Nile Brosnan.

For those who don't know, Terry's
husband is a very, very lovely man.

He's what you would
really call a polymath.

, computers, mathematics, music.

Brilliant man.

If you ever find yourself lucky enough
to be around a table with that man

with a glass of whiskey in Terry's
kitchen, so, so if you sign up on

one of Terry's courses, you might
find yourself in that situation.

Terri Brosnan: You may well
find yourself in my kitchen.

Ruth, thank you.


Rupert Isaacson: been such a pleasure.

Oh, thank you so much.

Thank you very much.

All right.

I can't wait till the next time.



Talk to you soon.

See you soon.



thank you for joining us.

We hope you enjoyed today's podcast.

Join our website, new trails
learning.com, to check out our online

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These evidence-based programs have
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We also offer a horse training
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These include easy to do online
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bring you and your horse joy.

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EP3: Terri Brosnan - Childvision - Dublin, IRE
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