UC Davis undergraduate, 4th year
Major: Environmental Science and Management
Hi, y’all! My name is Jessie Ostrove. I am a fourth year Environmental Science and Management major with a Natural Resource Management track at UC Davis, and I am the “Horse Whisperer” of the Calisi lab, in that of which we are currently working with pigs, horses, and plants (oh my!). Besides my passion for horses, environmental policy and communication, and camping, I also participate in triathlons and play a variety of instruments- my favorites being the piano and trombone.
With the privilege of growing up riding and competing alongside equine partners for as long as I can remember, I have experienced first hand the impact a human-animal interaction and relationship can have on one’s mental and emotional wellbeing. Suffering from the trials and tribulations of pre-pubescent angst, atop a pesky little anxiety disorder, the corner that was horses was one I could always turn to. Though I grew up without the ownership of my own horse in my junior riding career, I was coined the nickname “barn rat” in the sense that I practically lived amongst the horses’ stalls. You could always find me at the stables on the weekend, helping tack up horses, muck stalls, or assist in training; wherever I could get my hands on a horse experience, I was already there 5 minutes ago. Due to all this time spent on the ground with horses, I quickly discovered that the actual riding aspect was a significantly smaller piece of the “horse experience pie” than previously assumed. The remaining majority involved establishing a relationship on the ground, building trust, and getting to know the unique personality of each horse I had the honor of working with. This is not only mentally and emotionally fulfilling, but builds a stronger foundation for the moments that are actually in the saddle. Ultimately, I came to understand the vitality of horsemanship and foundation of trust that can make me a successful horsewoman in any equine corner I find myself.
The value of human-animal relationships and interaction is one I will forever hold close, but of even greater importance to me now is facilitating that connection for others. After some experience in teaching beginner-level riding lessons, I witnessed the very planting of the seed that was the origin of such a connection I knew so well. Seeing folks establish their own calm yet confident demeanor in order to successfully pick up a horse’s hoof, embrace mindfulness of their emotions and behaviors received by these sensitive equine creatures to better manage a spooky horse, or use their newfound core and leg strength to trot for the first time, I recalled the very reason I continue to pursue horses in the first place- the beautiful relationship that can exist between a horse and a human. If I can facilitate even a fraction of that potential connection in my work unto others, I will feel entirely fulfilled in the job I am working so hard to do.
I greatly look forward to the exciting endeavors and knowledge that will come with my work in our lab. With much exploration and discovery to go, I cannot wait to personally help all kinds of people heal their minds and hearts with the nature of a horse. Stay tuned, this is going to be fun!
Green Care Blog
Here you can find blog posts from each Green Care Lab intern. We'll be talking about our research process, the benefits of Green Care therapy, and sharing pictures of our work. Follow along with us!