Through our experiential learning workshops, I get asked this question frequently: "Well, how can horses help me learn about myself?" At the core of this work is allowing the horse to show up as their true, purest selves and share with us humans their teaching and healing powers. You see, the horse has a deep ingrained history with humans; once roaming free, then joining with us to reach distance lands, fight wars, provide transportation, competition and pleasure. What a gift horses have been in our lives to help one another evolve! This history is woven into our ancestry and contributes to our growth as evolving beings.
Working with horses provides a space for self reflection. There is a common phrase in the horse world that "horses are our mirrors." Meaning that they reflect to us what we are truly feeling and experiencing on the inside, not the illusion we are trying to put off on the outside. Horses see us at the core of our being, and when we try to mask this they react in ways to let us know that we are not matching on the inside and out. When our feelings/experiences match inside and out it is called being "congruent," when our feelings/experiences on the inside are masked on the outside it is called being "in-congruent."
Here's an example: a person comes to visit their horse at the barn. They just got done with a heated argument on the phone with someone. As they walk out to the pasture to halter their horse they act happy, and the horse trots away. Still truly upset from the phone call, the person is now getting frustrated and upset that their horse is being difficult to catch. All they want to do is relax and hang out with their horse that brings them peace. The horse is sharing with them an important message though...they are saying 'I don't want to be around all the negative energy you're putting off right now, try catching me again once you've calmed down or admitted that you are still upset.' Once they take a moment to reflect on and observe why their horse might be trotting away from them, they begin to take deep breaths and 'shake-off' the argument from earlier. The horse begins to now approach the person, as they become more congruent and calm.
Another way the horses can help us learn about ourselves is that they are always in the present moment (primarily as a means for survival). So often we are thinking about the future, or playing a tape player in our minds of past events. To be in the present moment allows us the space for self reflection, creativity, ingenuity, and intuition. Some of my greatest "ah-ha" moments and moments of self discovery have come to fruition in the presence of horses.
Horses speak to one another with body language. 90% of human language is non-verbal, whereas 10% is verbal. When working with horses, we must exercise our nonverbal body language skills to be effective in communicating with horses. By exercising our nonverbal skills we become aware of our personal space, the space we need to feel connected to others, as well as how to read, be observant, and respectful of others body language cues.
The beautiful aspect of this work is that the horses are able to be themselves, totally authentic in who they are. There are many other ways the horses teach us about ourselves, yet experiencing it for yourself is the best way to know! Visit our "Workshops" tab above to see a list of current experiential learning workshops; I also offer individual sessions. I have come to find that learning through experience is a great way to learn about many aspects of life, and what better way than with a horse by your side!