The clatter of a chair falling off the deck jerked me out of the book I was reading. But as my eyes shifted from the page, they did not meet a cloud of dust made by fast-retreating hooves I might have expected. Instead, front and center, my view met bright, intense eyes, and the golden-red elegant face of Fajah. Not concerned about the chair she’d just pulled off the deck, and certainly not afraid. Denny, a buckskin mustang, had the same look in his eye, and there were others. All facing me.
This was no accident; it was a statement, and I was the only one startled. Laughter bubbled up in me, and I set the book aside, got up from my chair that was positioned beyond the reach of the horses I looked down on from the raised deck.
Fajah turned her side to the wood edge. I put a leg over and eased onto her back as my fingers began scratching her withers and neck just under the mane. This continued as I moved from one back to another when a horse moved next to the horse I was on, ready for his or her turn. A number of the herd members are not formally trained to ride yet, but this is the beginning of their “training.”
At some point I may slide off a horse’s back and, feet on the ground, begin scratching itchy spots that can’t be reached from a horse’s back. Soon this could turn into a group grooming event. And before I know it, the early evening magic will fade as the sun sets, and it’ll be time to put the horses back in the pasture where they, I will realize, have already begun to move us all. I will feed them, then myself, and end another day living as a fully integrated, interspecies member of a horse herd.
How Our Work is Deepening as our Practice with Horses more Authentically Embodies Teamwork
My life with my horses has largely been a secret life, in spite of having lived it for enough years to consider it commonplace. It’s just not worth talking about if doing so leads to lectures or uncomfortable silence.
But the days of silence about the grace many of us experience with our horses, it appears, may be unnecessary in the near future. Leaders in our field like Linda Kohonov and Trish Broersma are pulling together research and building the logic that will mainstream, and indeed even recognize the wisdom of, horse interactions that go beyond the paradigm of the human as the sole agenda-maker.
If you like that idea, then you will love this year’s Telesummit and Symposium offerings. And now…drumroll please…I offer you a teaser of some of the topics featured in the Healing with Horse Collective’s 2016 Telesummit, March 7 – 18.
The Unveiling: Telesummit Topics!
Linda Kohanov will speak about the seminal chapter of her upcoming book The Five Roles of the Master Herder (due out this June!). As she wrote her way through the five roles of the master herder, Linda’s research evolved into epiphanies about leaders who seem to live charmed lives full of opportunities, key connections, powerful communities, and successes that, to an outsider, may just seem to fall into their laps. These epiphanies led Linda to identify 8 steps such leaders are taking that turn their luck into something we can see was actually cultivated. Even better, these are steps that we, too, can take, and teach our clients to take as well.
If this sounds exciting, you will absolutely love to hear that Linda will offer a one-day pre-event workshop, as well as give the keynote address, at this year’s Healing with Horse Symposium, held for the first time in the Dallas, Texas area in late May.
Trish Broersma will speak about how horses accustomed to heart-centered liberty work offer interactions with clients that help reveal patterns of imbalance in their use of the wisdom of their body’s three “brains,” the head, heart, and gut. Further, Trish will offer a session model in which the horse’s feedback assists clients in attaining multiple brain integration.
A diverse team of facilitators from three different countries, Rosemary Wyndham Jones, Rob Pliskin, and Alistair Wait have come together at a retreat center in New Zealand. They are consciously converting herd behaviors into a flexible structure for their business teamwork. They share their ongoing experiments and discoveries in their telesummit session.
Alejandra Lara will share her insights on developing a thriving equine experiential learning program at a bustling multi-use PATH facility. She shares the learnings she acquired from starting and growing the program, including how she teams with others to develop a schedule, addresses the challenges of sharing spaces while creating confidential places for clients, works with unpredictability of such things as horse selection and volunteers, and other organizatonal issues that come with working at a multi-use facility.
Karin Bauer will share how her Art Guidance cards can, among other uses, aid in deepening an equine session by bringing to light or expanding an emotional state so that it can be processed more consciously in session. The way the cards create different perspectives provides an opening for a more intuitive, solution-seeking mode of being.
And as our level of teamwork and ability to be guided by horses has deepened, facilitators have discovered their ability to offer insights in ways we never thought possible. Learn how Corey DeMala, founder of the Amity Foundation for Healing with Horses, incorporates horse components into a unique 7-month empowerment program for women called “The 7 Cs of the Authentic Self” in ways that can inspire your own blending of online and equine offerings. Director of Equine Programs at the Institute of Human-Animal Connection at Denver University Nina Ekholm Fry offers a three-stage equine-assisted process of neuro-bio-based mind-body integration. This process helps men with complex trauma learn mindfulness in a way that allows them to revisit and process their trauma, not relive it. Learn the stages and how to incorporate some of the techniques for increasing mindfulness for any client. And the Australian facilitation team Saan Ecker and Joanne Byrnes talk about Constellation Therapy, a modality that is actually not about the starry sky, but about a powerful therapeutic modality that originated from distilling common healing processes of nature-based communities. Constellation therapy taps into the energetic fields of a system in order to heal blocks and imbalances that affect a person’s wellbeing. Learn how horses can represent these energies in remarkable ways to create powerful healing sessions.
Please join us for the Healing with Horse Telesummit March 28 – April 9. And prepare to treat yourself to something really special! Join your like-minded colleagues and friends to be renewed in your vision, empowered in your work, and inspired in your soul, as the Healing with Horse Symposium is introduced to the southwest region of the country. Join us in person in Dallas, Texas May 26th to 30th!