Sometime back in early 2001/2 I was heading over to Oregan USA to join a clicker training camp hosted by Alexandra Kurland. My friend I was travelling with handed me a book she was reading and suggested I read a particular page. It was a book that I would come to fully read some years later but at the time..it was a bit over my head. The passage talked about how horses mirror us and in particular how certain aspects of our personalities can often be seen in our horses. I was thinking about my horses, I had three at the time and it was a definite light bulb moment. I recognised right away the characteristics of myself in each of my horses. Ellie whom is still with me today was definitely my serious side. Jasper whom sadly we lost in 2011 was my defensive side and little Minnie whom we lost in 2014 was my cheeky child side. Off course with that came their own individual characters but for me this was quite a revelation…..I was already connecting with this notion whilst working with people and their horses it was the mirror effect!!! and I had experienced this first hand during a time in my life when my illness was mirrored to me by Ellie….however, It would be a few years later that I would fully understand, the actual work I was doing with animal/ human relationships.
People want information about their animal companion for all kinds of reasons. The thought of the animal divulging inner secrets about personal traumas or past experiences can very often have people running for the door. We all have a past and for some of us not as rosy as others but with our animals we get a chance to release the things that hold us back.’ Putting on a front ‘ is easy to do with people…I know I did it for long enough…but with animals its not so easy. Animals see us differently to people they see beyond our physical being, they connect with our inner selves..our truth. Very often people will say ‘I dealt with that situation years ago’ and yet it is the thing the horse brings forward to help us heal. I agree that we do put negative experiences away and believe their forgotten, but its the emotions that keep surfacing. This is the part the animal wants to help us heal.
A lady asked me to have a chat with her horse, she wanted to know ‘ if her horse was happy’ as she explained that their relationship had often been quite ‘challenging’. I always keep an open mind never knowing what might come forward. There is always enlightenment and a therapeutic benefit to these communications but what was to unfold, nothing could have prepared me for…..The horse was grazing with his field companions as I slowly approached and introduced myself. Its funny because I am always sure that they are expecting me. I was greeted with a sniff followed by a full investigation of my boots, hat, hands and body, content with his findings he continued to pick at the grass. I asked my usual initial questions and waited. I was drawn to place my head against his neck and my hands on his heart chakra…again I waited…there were no words but an image, an image of a black never ending tunnel I looked down into this it was empty. And then came a saddness so deep in this tunnel it was so far down it was impossible to touch…it seemed unreachable.
This was something I had never experienced before and I had to quickly stop myself from questioning what I was being given. I remained in the focus of this image and the emotions that I was feeling… and then…. out of the blue it came…’Im feeling grief’ I said to myself ‘but whose grief’? with that the horse lifted his head and I knew this was the guardian’s grief. I turned to the lady and asked if she was’ grieving ‘? at the same time I was given a childs image I asked ‘if she had lost a child’? she replied yes…’not a baby’ I said ‘but a young male of around 6 years old’? yes she replied and told me his exact age and how he had sadly passed over….Her horse was carrying this and I believe in an attempt to lesson her suffering…her horse was trying to heal her.
Nothing in life could ever prepare a mother from losing a child I don’t think any of us could ever begin to imagine what this lady went through….
Having horses in our lives brings us so many gifts…. including the gifts of strength, courage and freedom.
My studies in equine assisted growth and learning taught me a lot about the work I was doing. However, I don’t believe that equine assisted therapies is exclusive to people from deprived backgrounds or people that have been labelled with an illness. The therapeutic work that horses do naturally is happening in every stable yard, field or arena with everyone that interacts with them ….