Horses Create Awareness
Updated: Oct 2, 2019
As I begin to venture deeper into my integrative coaching work I recognize that my horses have more to offer than I ever imagined. As part of the integrative process, along with many tried and proven tools and activities, my clients are able to have the option of gaining more awareness through my horses. The photo with this blog shows but one example of how my mare Buttercup increased my awareness one night on a full moon in May. I went out to do my nightly rounds of the herd. Within my rounds, one thing I do is remove their fly masks and wash their faces with cool damp wash clothes. While doing this nightly chore, I can often be absorbed in my own thoughts and will work on auto-pilot. This night however, Buttercup gave me a little nudge with her nose letting me know she wanted my attention. I took a long deep breath and began stroking her neck slowly and firmly allowing my body and mind to relax into the moment with her. After several minutes of this, I felt that familiar feeling I now get with horses. The feeling is of being fully present and completely aware of my surroundings.
In that state of being present, I happened to look up through Buttercup's ears and for the first time that night, noticed a very beautiful bluish full moon that seemed to illuminate the clouds around it. There was a gentle blue glow all around us. I stood next to her for several moments just taking in the beauty of her and the moon silhouetted by all that soft blue light. Reluctantly, I new I had to go in and take care of a few things before retiring for the night. Before leaving the horse pen, I wanted to capture the moment in a photo so I could hold on to it. Try as I might, I could just not seem to get the camera to cooperate and was disappointed that I could not get Buttercup's face in the shot. However, later when I pulled the image up, this is what was there. A tiny slice of magic that I can look back on to remember that beautiful night and the clear message I received from my horse to notice her and notice the moon and notice my surroundings. I know you weren't there that night but maybe you can see just a little bit of what I experienced with Buttercup.
This brings me to the question I have been being asked over and over from people trying to understand my concept of Equine Assisted Awareness. Most people are familiar now with Equine Therapy and while what I'm doing with my horses may have some inherent gray area between therapy and awareness they are quite different in my mind. I have made an attempt to write down my ideas on this and am sharing them in this blog. Maybe it will help people gain more understanding around this work or maybe it will open up even more questions which is amazing. All I know is it feels like magic when my horses help me to become more aware. In turn, I have been working with enough clients now that their feelings are aligning quite similarly to mine as they and I move forward together with more awareness in our lives. All thanks to what my horses offer us freely should we choose to be open.
Below is my attempt to answer the question of, "What is Equine Assisted Awareness?"
Engaging in Equine Assisted Awareness is an experiential approach that deeply enriches a person’s processing of their professional, personal, and educational goals. At Silver Heart Ranch, this experiential approach integrates equine-human interactions that naturally occur from the integrative coaching process that I offer. My clients drive the agenda and I coach them around their agenda by listening, reflecting their words back to them, asking clarifying and deep questions, inviting shifts in perspective, providing accountability around action steps, and using tried and true tools to assist the process. My coaching clients have the option of enhancing their sessions by working with my equines during their integrative coaching sessions in ways that best meet the needs of client and equine in the moment.
Through interactions with my equines, clients may gain a more heightened self-awareness. Self-awareness is important in the integrative coaching process as it reveals patterns of behavior and offers the client the opportunity to think in new ways. Equines are large powerful creatures who use mostly non-vocal communication and are perceptive to human behavior. By spending time with equines during the integrative coaching process, clients can gain more confidence by working with these large animals and also discover how non-verbal communication might be impacting their lives. Due to the inherent nature of horses who live in the present, clients can connect into this present state that allows them to be more aware of their surroundings and interactions. In turn, clients may be able to become more mindfully present in their own lives. From this state of mindful presence, clarity can be found. Equines provide us a path to see our internal selves and modes of operation exposed. They offer us the opportunity to experience humility, compassion and challenge in profound ways. These are critical elements to supporting our own self-growth and self-awareness.
Thanks for reading and I love this format to explore ideas and experiences. Please feel free to contact me if there is a question or idea you would like me to explore around coaching and/or work with equines. Kindly, Darcie