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The Greenhorn Chronicles 18: Betty Asseiro on Symatree Farm (1)

2022-08-22

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 30.E, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (25)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightpublishing.com

Individual Publication Date: August 22, 2022

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2022

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 1,864

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

Betty Asseiro is an experienced mentor. She has been part of the team, running programs, developing programs, taking horse pictures, facilitating events and helping to take care of the horses! A key member of the team, Betty helps keep us all on track both in and out of the paddocks. Currently studying addictions and youth correctional counselling, Betty skillfully applies her combination of experience and education to plan and run the variety of youth programs we have in the best ways possible. She discusses: story with horses; kind of horse; her name; a naming kind of rule; involved with Symatree; the positions and the responsibilities; youth with issues; a very lucky and privileged position; anger; this internalization of the anger; horses being forgiving; and the intuitive nature of working around horses.

Keywords: addictions, anger, Betty, Canada, Dakota, equestrianism, The Greenhorn Chronicles, Kathy, mentor, Symatree Farm, youth.

The Greenhorn Chronicles 18: Betty Asseiro on Symatree Farm (1)

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citations after the interview.*

*Interview conducted June 14, 2022.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: This is Betty from Symatree Farm. The stories that I’m gathering are early life stories. People get started very early in life with them. Or they have been around them and then they rediscover them later in life. What has been your story with horses?

Betty: I never left horses, but I definitely went on to a different path and came back to working with them. So, when I was very young, my mom loves horses. My mom is Kathy, the founder of Symatree Farm. So, we had horses boarded. We were always around them, and then when we moved out to the country. Obviously, it was around them. I was living on the farm, and then I took a bit of a different path in university and was in the city a lot, and then ended up coming back and now working with them. I have my own horse and I am just really appreciating them and working with them in a new life not as a little kid.

Jacobsen: What kind of horse do you have?

Betty: She is a just grey mare. She’s a mix of a bunch, but an absolutely amazing mentor. I feel like she’s really my partner in what we do.

Jacobsen: And what’s her name?

Betty: Her name is Dakota.

Jacobsen: And is that named after North/South Dakota or something else?

Betty: Honestly, we have a naming kind of rule that we follow. So, for our newest horses and for the horses that aren’t doubling as our personal horses, and just kind of equine mentors for the general public primarily, we let people on Facebook name them. They all vote. But with our horses, we find a name that we like for every single letter of the alphabet, and then we narrow it down to the top, like three or four, and then we’ll ask the horse. We’ll see which one in training and stuff they seem to respond to. That’s how we choose our names.

Jacobsen: How long have you been involved with Symatree?

Betty: I have been involved with Symatree on and off. I was always there as a kid. I would help out, but I have been involved as a facilitator and really working on the farm for the last four years.

Jacobsen: How did you start at Symatree in terms of the positions and the responsibilities? How’s that grown over time?

Betty: I came back to the farm as an assistant, so I was just helping out in the programming that Kathy and Barb were doing at the time and just found that I really loved it. I loved working with the kids. My interests started to grow. So, I asked to take on more responsibility. I started thinking about running camps with the kids that I was pretty passionate about working with, and then through school I started learning more. I got an education that really supported what we do here. So, I began working with all our youth and teen contracts that come through child and family services. So, that’s how I stepped into the role as lead youth facilitator working with all those contracts and working with those support teams.

Jacobsen: Who are the majority population of youth with issues, whether addictions or otherwise, coming to you?

Betty: I primarily work with youth who are like 7 to 13. They all come through child and family services. So, normally, the youth is struggling or is not open to going to therapy. So, they’re looking for a service provider who will make the child feel comfortable and who will get the child to think about their strengths and get the child a little bit more open to speaking to an adult and thinking about their feelings, and then usually enter talk therapy following that. I stay on the support team as a person they feel really comfortable with and a place that they feel really safe and they can kind of reset during the week.

Jacobsen: Now, as far as I know in psychology and psychiatry, and so on, individuals who are of mature age, after a time that brain is pretty well formed. So, any addictions or behavioral patterns or problems that they may have had up to that point may, more or less, be pretty well ingrained for the duration of their life without substantial intervention. For youth, up to age 13, you have sort of a very lucky and privileged position because the brain is still forming significantly, and so you get to see probably a lot more rapid change, a lot more flexibility cognitively and emotionally, in the young. What are some of the changes that you noticed in the youth coming to you and working with you over time?

Betty: I think that’s a really great point. That’s why I feel so lucky to be able to work with the youth that come, so that we can work together to get onto a path that’s going to feel a lot more comfortable for them as they get older. A lot of the kids that I work with start out very much with a lot of anger and a lot of frustration about their situation and not being able to share their feelings or have a sense of safety. So, being able to provide a safe place with the horses who are completely non-judgmental, if the child is angry, they’re allowed to say to the horse, “I’m feeling really angry today. I don’t want to be your friend.” The horse is going to say, “That’s okay for today and when you feel better I will be here,” and the child can come back to the horse the next week and say, “I feel like I can be your friend today. I’d like to be around you.” What working with the kids is all about is building friendships because kids are motivated to be friends with horses, I found they see this huge animal. They think, “Wow! They’re so cool.”

As soon as they find out, they can be the horse’s friend they go, “Okay, I’ll do whatever I can to make that happen.” So, the change that you see is the motivation and the real hard work that they put in to make sure their energy is right and make sure that they are really thinking about the words that they use and thinking about how if they scare the horse; they can make their friend feel better. I think that’s the power of horses because they are so forgiving. It allows the kids to have a space to experiment with their energy and with their words and that healthy experimentation is how they’re going to build healthy coping mechanisms for the future.

Jacobsen: The one emotion coming out in the last response was anger and those youth who are mainly dealing with anger tend to be boys. Is that the majority population of young coming to you?

Betty: I work with both. I find that the boys are a lot more externally angry and, oftentimes, the girls internalize that anger. Instead of lashing out to others, it’s lashing out on themselves. So, it’s a different way of feeling that frustration and feeling misunderstood.

Jacobsen: So, this internalization of the anger. Is this a manifestation of a depressive state in the girls when, maybe, it comes off in sarcastic comments or things of this nature?

Betty: It can definitely come across as very shut down, unwilling to even make eye contact, pretending to be disinterested in the horses, and kind of making sarcastic comments. In working with them, a lot of times, it can also come across as giving up really quickly. So, they’re asking the horse to follow them, and the horse turns to eat grass. They drop the lead line. They say, “It doesn’t matter. No, I don’t want to do this anymore. It’s not going to work.” They give up, or they whine, and say, “Oh, I can’t do this. I’m never going to be able to do this. Nobody likes me. Everybody hates me. The horse hates me…”

Jacobsen: Wow! That’s a lot.

Betty: Yes, that’s a lot of times how you’ll see that expressed.

Jacobsen: You mentioned the horses being forgiving. You did not say forgetful. So, I want to clarify. I mean I’ve only been in the industry about eight months. So, are the horses forgiving because they are forgetful, or are they not forgetful and still forgiving?

Betty: I believe that the horses are not forgetful and still forgiving. I have absolutely seen kids come back as teenagers who came when they were eight years old for like a summer camp. They come back as a teenager with a school group. They come back to visit with their family. The horses remember the people just as much as the people remember them. No matter what their experience was together. If the person comes with a new energy, if the person comes in with positivity, the horse is going to respond to that.

Jacobsen: When I talk to horse people, a lot of the language is around sense, feel, experience; the intuitive nature of working around horses. So, are horses in general very sensitive and intuitive to the “energy” the person around people around them is giving off?

Betty: I definitely think so and I think that’s something that’s absolutely magical about working with them and working with kids because a kid can come in and they are angry, they had a really rough car ride coming in and they come into the arena with big energy. They want to work with a quiet horse. Big energy and a shy animal aren’t going to work in a logical sense, but the kid is not their anger. The kid is not a bad day at school. If they come in, and they take a breath, and they breeze past their driver, and they breeze past me, and they go to talk to that horse more often than not, that shy horse will kind of look at the child. They’ll wait until the child’s energy is genuine. If the kid says, “I had a really bad day. I want to talk to you about it,” they can walk up to that horse and talk to that horse about their bad day, they can raise their voice when they’re talking about it and that shy horse will stay with them because they’re not angry at the horse. They’re simply expressing themselves and the horses realize that that’s okay. That’s not who they are underneath the anger that they’re feeling in that moment. They’re wanting to genuinely just be a friend. They’re looking to have the horse as a friend. That’s a relationship that they can share no matter if the child is sad in a moment or angry in a moment.

Footnotes

[1] Mentor, Symatree Farm.

[2] Individual Publication Date: August 22, 2022: http://www.in-sightpublishing.com/betty-1; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2022: https://in-sightpublishing.com/insight-issues/.

Citations

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. The Greenhorn Chronicles 18: Betty Asseiro on Symatree Farm (1)[Online]. August 2022; 30(E). Available from: http://www.in-sightpublishing.com/betty-1.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2022, August 22). The Greenhorn Chronicles 18: Betty Asseiro on Symatree Farm (1). Retrieved from http://www.in-sightpublishing.com/betty-1.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. The Greenhorn Chronicles 18: Betty Asseiro on Symatree Farm (1). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 30.E, August. 2022. <http://www.in-sightpublishing.com/betty-1>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2022. “The Greenhorn Chronicles 18: Betty Asseiro on Symatree Farm (1).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 30.E. http://www.in-sightpublishing.com/betty-1.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “The Greenhorn Chronicles 18: Betty Asseiro on Symatree Farm (1).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 30.E (August 2022). http://www.in-sightpublishing.com/betty-1.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2022, ‘The Greenhorn Chronicles 18: Betty Asseiro on Symatree Farm (1)’, In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 30.E. Available from: <http://www.in-sightpublishing.com/betty-1>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2022, ‘The Greenhorn Chronicles 18: Betty Asseiro on Symatree Farm (1)’, In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 30.E., http://www.in-sightpublishing.com/betty-1.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “The Greenhorn Chronicles 18: Betty Asseiro on Symatree Farm (1).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 30.E (2022): August. 2022. Web. <http://www.in-sightpublishing.com/betty-1>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. The Greenhorn Chronicles 18: Betty Asseiro on Symatree Farm (1)[Internet]. (2022, August 30(E). Available from: http://www.in-sightpublishing.com/betty-1.

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Based on a work at www.in-sightpublishing.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012–Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and can disseminate for their independent purposes.

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