A key theme in my book, The Horse Leads The Way, is my emphasis on practitioners of equine facilitated work consciously embodying the horses’ lessons.
We need to literally embody The Way of The Horse in order to effectively support and guide our clients. This requires us to firstly fully get the horses' teachings ourselves and place these firmly in our body's memory and wisdom. We need to experience the powerful shifts that can take place when around these mindful animals and open ourselves fully to the experience of being vulnerable and emotional.
Unless we have been fully open and fully vulnerable, we cannot ask our clients to be so. Indeed they won't be able to, as they will surely feel our own constrictions which will impact on theirs through the exchange of energy, or counter-transference.
How can we ask another person to open their hearts and inquire of their fragile body whilst we remain a stranger to our own?
Or in other words: We need to learn how to allow our feminine-self to open once more and receive the suggestions and offerings of the horses. To allow this to filter slowly into our body and our very being. To watch our every breath and tightening of muscle tension and consciously engage our body’s wisdom in our every step.
So that if we feel tired; we rest. If we are sick; we rest. If we need support; we ask for it. If we need to make a decision; we engage our heart, body and mind in the choices we make.
Consistently during my time spent with horses and in my EFL practice with horses and clients, it was when the person engaged fully with their own body and emotions that the biggest changes in the horse’s behavior happened. Further, it was when connecting to the person’s truth through the gateway of their heart that the biggest shifts of all took place between two very different species.
In those moments, all barriers dissolved to the point where love and compassion filled the space - both self-compassion through the expression of tears, truth and body-connection. And compassion for another, through a deep heart-based connection to the large, non-predatory animal choosing to stand by their side.
Surely what greater proof is there than this? That when we embody the horse's way, connection and harmony come to the forefront, and discord, imbalance and pain can start to gently dissolve...
© Angela Dunning, 7th April 2016
Angela's book The Horse Leads the Way. Honoring the True Role of the Horse in Equine Facilitated Practice is now available to purchase now.