Horses in Psychotherapy
Embodiment is the experience of connecting to all five senses, and occupying the body and mind with intention and awareness. In the presence of a horse, we become embodied and our sense perceptions are activated and enlivened. This awakening comes naturally as a response to being in the presence of an animal that can weigh over 1000 pounds and is powerful, strong, beautiful, graceful and gentle.
Horses are incredibly sensitive creatures as they are prey animals. They have evolved to be a part of a herd, to attune to the movement and energy of their herd mates as well as what is happening in the surrounding environments. They are constantly scanning for safety and security within their group. The horses you will meet in our work together will encounter you with these refined perceptions; is this human safe, is their energy grounded or scattered, threatening or open, scared, sad, excited, disinterested or inquisitive.? A horse does not judge us or create opinions about these states but responds to our relationship to these states. Are we embodied in them or trying to present a different facade, unaware of or consciously choosing to repress those feeling states.
Horses also do not judge or hold opinions about the way we look: our weight, our clothing, physical attributes, social status, race ethinicity, sexual orientation or gender identification. Through their subtle perception, the horse responds to our authentic self in the moment, being deeply attuned to the feeling state of our internal experience. As we becomes more authentic, congruent in what we are feeling and expressing, the horse attunes often by relaxing and approaching; this creates a feedback loop, allowing the individual to become more aware of what is going on and help support us to align with what we feel, think and perceive and then make more informed choices in how we act in response.
If you haven’t spent a lot of time near horses you may feel a mix of fear, fascination, awe, and curiosity. The stability and mystery of these incredible creatures can help draw people out of a self-absorbed states and into desires for connection. Their presence inspires us to become aware of the current moment, where healing can begin and the power of equine facilitated psychotherapy is experienced.