First appeared in Saddle Up Magazine (August 2015)
My intention was to write an article about equine therapy, explaining how horses are athletes and as riders we put them through tough physical exertion and therapy is the least we can do. Though, sitting down to write, nothing came to me.
Everything I started to write felt like I was trying too hard, spewing facts about horses that I learned in my training, hoping to grab attention and gain new clients and help more horses. Throughout the hours (literally) of sitting staring at my computer and doodling on paper beside me, I wound up asking myself why I love equine therapy. The answer to my own question led me to some realizations about my practice and myself.
The truth is, for me, I don’t even like calling it “equine therapy” nor do I like calling myself a “therapist”. I’m must a girl who loves the heck our of horses. I love them. I look at a horse and all I see is complete beauty and strength. The gentleness and sheer power, both in spiritual and physical presence is irresistible. The way it feels to look into the eyes of a horse and be overcome with calmness and understanding. To be grounded and peaceful. I don’t feel like an expert or like I’m a person in a position of authority when it comes to horses. I’m just here, grateful to share existence with such pure and wonderful creatures.
To assume that i can “fix” any horse simply isn’t true. My training, schooling, and life with horses have given me tools that can help certain issues, yes. But the nature of horses, the physical and emotional links intrinsically make “therapy” a much deeper experience than a simple chiropractic adjustment. Every time I spend time with a horse, I learn something and am reminded just how profound the work is.
To elaborate: the degree to which horses mirror humans back to us is stunning. Horses always show us the truth; we just need to quiet ourselves enough to listen. And the fact is, our truths aren’t always pretty. My journey through learning and working with horses has brought many painful memories and experiences to the forefront and the only way to get past them and move forward has been to face them head on. Because this is the way I have learned the art of equine therapy, I feel like banking and marketing myself as a “massage therapist” or a “chiropractor” isn’t the truth. I can massage and I can perform chiropractic adjustments. But those are not who I am or only what I do. What I do is listen to the horse and to the owner. I listen to find the root of whatever the physical manifestation has risen as. I want to connect with horse owners who are willing to look at the deeper problems. Quick fixes are only effective in the short term. I believe what I an help the most with isn’t simply problems in the physical body of the horse. I can help reconnect horse and owner by bringing light to what our horses are really trying to show us. Often injuries in the horse are reflections of injuries in a person.
So there it is. All of that led me to realizing that what I love about working with horses is the profound capacity for healing. Without humans, horses have no problems. I love that I have the opportunity to help open people up to these ideas and give the chance for deep seated pain to heal. And in turn, by working this way, both horse and human can find peace and balance.