We have had interns here from around the world. Because we all share the same living environment,we really get to know our guests and students, and they get to know us.
Characteristics of Great Interns
- takes responsibility for shared housekeeping,
- motivated to become a great animal trainer,
- team-player, high rate of cooperative behaviors
- academic, loves to learn
- capable of self-control
At the end of the month long program is a debriefing to discuss how to improve, what went right, and what went wrong. We take students feedback quite seriously. One of the things we have learned is that we have an obligation to protect the social/emotional environment of the students who come here to learn. The best and easiest way to protect the learning environment is to filter out people who create drama of any sort. Science backs up this perspective showing that the degree of cooperation within the group is more a function of the least cooperative member of the group, than of the most cooperative member. Research shows that a "bad apple" will spoil the whole emotional dynamics of the group. The emotional dynamics at Mustang Camp are the sacred fire at the heart of the experience. We must protect this realm.
Characteristics associated with internship failures
- fantasies about wild horses in the American west
- high social activity requirement
- physically unfit for long days
- inability to focus on the animal
- prone to anxiety or fearful of horses
- compulsive or erratic behavior
- oppositional disorder
- self-serving, low rate of cooperative behaviors
- mental impairment through drugs (including caffeine) and alcohol
- anti-social or withdrawn behavior
When we see problematic behavior, we take notice and investigate what is motivating it. If it is a response to a correctable situation, we try to resolve the problem. If, on the other hand, it is a pattern of habitual response, we terminate the guest's status and facilitate their departure.
We encourage all guests to participate in managing the emotional environment. Peer counseling can help someone grow.
It is all about the horse.
If what you eat for dinner or whether you have a shower or how clean the floor might be is critical to your ability to survive and thrive at Mustang Camp, you are not going to survive here. Total commitment to training horses and being part of the community is absolutely essential. At times we might be sweaty, dirty, and eating peanut butter on crackers for lunch, but we will be talking about our successes in the training pens. If you can’t see yourself doing that, you won’t be happy here.
It is very important for you to realize that Mustang Camp is extremely disciplined in a very informal way.