Excited to be partnering with Lothlorien Therapeutic Riding Center.
Excited to be partnering with Lothlorien Therapeutic Riding Center.
I recently had a dream that I was selling diamonds and they asked me to wear a nametag that stated my job description. The nametag said animal communicator. In the dream I said “I should probably wear this nametag since I’m uncomfortable with this role”. When I woke up I realized that I didn’t value this part of my work, which was represented by the diamonds I was selling in the dream. I had to ask myself what the resistance was about?
I myself have questioned this ability not only in myself but also in other people. Not only have their been some bad representation of the work but it
can be difficult to validate because animals are just wired differently than us and there is no verbal feedback. Many people who start out doing intuitive
work use the excuse it is not a science or that is just what I got and I’m not responsible for the information, it just comes through me. I think this
can be an easy way out and has given the work a bad rap. When I did my four- year intuitive studies with Caroline Myss and Dr. Norm Shealy we were
held to a standard. The program was the Science of Medical Intuition and Intuitive Counseling. We were tested for accuracy it was not about being right
that is a totally different thing. The ego is involved in the latter. It is a skill and it needs to be exercised like a muscle to develop fully.
The good thing is we all have this intuitive ability. It is in understanding how it works that helps demystify it. The Equine Facilitated Learning work that I do with the horses has helped me to not only trust my intuition but I use it to help others connect with theirs. Horses have a heightened sixth sense. They are prey animals and without the ability to trust what they feel verses what they see the species would have been extinct years ago. Think of how animals know and sense that a tsunami is coming and they all run for higher ground. Were they able to tell the future? No they sensed what was coming. They felt the vibration the subtle energy that was coming towards them. I use this skill in every area of my life from my health to dealing with a new situation and yes communicating with animals on a subtle level. How many of you have had your dog or a horse stare at you and you just don’t know what they want? You know they are sending you a message but how do we interpret it? For me the key was to use my body first not my head. Just like a horse would be able to read the subtle vibration coming from a lion that is passing by; that horse could sense whether that lion had a full stomach or was on the prowl for his next meal. The horse reads the energy of the situation.
Our intuition and instinct is subtle and many times overlooked because we have put so much value on our big brains. Life works so much smoother, is more creative and you are definitely more connected to life if you learn how to reclaim your skill of intuition. Don’t be afraid of it.
Years ago I was called to a client’s house to assess what was going on with their dog. She was a young female germen shepherd who seemed to not be that thrilled with her job as a canine police officer nor with her partner whom was the husband. When I sat in the family room with this couple I felt so much tension between the couple. The woman told the story that the dog always put up a fight when it came to leaving her side and that the dog would bite the husband. So the dog’s opinion and feelings were quite obvious. We talked about the husband learning to soften his interactions with not only the dog but with his wife. Blah, blah, blah! Yeah like that went over well! I remember leaving and feeling the overpowering aspect of the husband over the wife and the dog obviously stepped in as the protector.
About two months ago I got a call from this same woman. Only now she was divorced but had recently moved in with her boyfriend. She stated that her dog (the same germen shepherd) was now going after one of her boyfriend’s dogs after co existing for the past three months with no problem. She didn’t know what triggered this behavior.
My greatest strength is that of an empath, I go in and get a feel for the situation and try to help regain balance or harmony. My intuitive hit was to direct the woman’s attention to how she feels about this new living situation. It didn’t take much for her to admit she wasn’t sure about the situation and that she felt annoyed and would snap at her boyfriend. Bingo the words right out of her mouth and she made the connection that if she couldn’t speak up her dog would. Of course we talk about boundaries and the correct use of them and her ability to start voicing them.
But the most amazing part of this story is what she told me next.
She tells me that after that initial visit some years ago, things didn’t get better. At one point her and her husband had gone on a vacation and they left the dog with a fellow officer and his wife for the week. Upon return, the report was that the dog was an excellent houseguest. Not to long after their return home and back into the routine the aggressive behavior towards the husband continued until once again he was bitten. That was the last straw for this woman she couldn’t continue living with the stress between her husband and their dog. She decided to place the dog with the couple that had watched her while they were on vacation. Dysfunction continued in the couple’s household and it took about a year to finally make a decision for them to split. And here’s the amazing part! The day that her husband removed all his belongings from the home, her dog showed up sitting on her front porch just staring in the front screen door. This woman was shocked but enjoyed the coincidence of the visit. She then put the dog in the car to return her to her owners. When she got to their house and with much coaxing the dog refused to get out of the car. Luckily these people were quick to realize that the dog’s heart and loyalty always belonged to this woman and they were mere caretakers for the year. The dog returned home when her owner finally decided to come home to her self.
What does self -awareness have to do with horses?
The more I learn about horses the more I’m convinced that self -awareness should be a prerequisite in the classroom of being with horses. With that being said I do believe that mastery is a lifelong journey. The lost knowledge about horses is that they look for congruency and authenticity. We all know they are prey animals, making then wired to be emotional protégés. Horses read what is below the surface. It is just as important for them to know whether a herd member is relaxed and present or sensing danger. This survival mechanism allowed them to know if the lion was on the prowl for their next meal or just passing by and had a full stomach. Horses sense if the lions outside actions match their inner agenda. Because of this mechanism, incongruence means danger to a horse. The problem is that many of us have been conditioned to numb ourselves out and not be aware of what we are feeling or creating unconsciously with our feelings and the thoughts connected to them. As riders we are taught to put on a brave face and push threw our emotions and pay attention to our programming (limited beliefs) or the technique. We are not really fully present. We are on autopilot. If we have been trained to live totally in our head to a horse we look out of focus.
I’m here to suggest that how we create our world works the opposite than most people understand. In our western culture we are taught to focus our awareness outside ourselves. We project our image on to our children, partners, horses and even one’s house. It becomes a mirror for us and it becomes a box for us especially when the image doesn’t live up to our expectations. This is why my teachings are not about any technique or riding style. I teach people how to become aware of the bigger picture. It is our inner world that creates our outer world. Horses want us to be connected to our essence or our true self. This work requires you to look at your agenda and personal motivations. If you are looking for external power then you are a mere rider. Inner power and a connection to ones inner self brings calmness, clarity, focus and connection. This can be a difficult process but well worth the journey. This ability to be in the heart space is not a place of weakness where you constantly lose yourself to another person or animal. Quite the opposite it is empowerment and the ability to stay centered. When you begin to live in this space of this expanded awareness you will recognize your horse as your guide and teacher. The journey becomes more important than the goal.
This is a video I made about 2 yrs ago. I had a hard time releasing this because I don't want it to be misunderstood. It is a dominance exercise. My mare Charisma actually gave me this exercise in a dream. Since this guy was a stallion he was unsocialized. In the wild he would of been kicked out of the herd until he learned how to have manners. It is not about overpowering the horse but about teaching him respect of my space.
It may take a few seconds for the video to start once you hit play.
Maggie Keller, Katie Macre from Lothlorien Therapeutic Riding Center, Inc., along with a whole bunch of volunteers and me, Nancy Proulx were able to
collaborate on a wonderful project this past August. We prepared and presented a pilot program for the Wounded Warrior Project, which is based
out of New York City. We were honored to work with some of the America’s finest men and women who keep our country safe. The day’s journey involved
non-mounted activities using horses that are meant to help us reconnect to our body’s wisdom. Reconnecting to our body’s wisdom helps keep us safe
and connected to life. We build on what horses and nature has to teach us about the ability to be a functional herd and use nonpredatory power.
I have to say that these groups of participants were so brave to embrace this work. Not only does it ask us to step into a place of vulnerability
of working with these powerful animals but the bravery to reclaim the pieces of ourselves that we have disconnected from. The other amazing process
I watched was to see an amazing group of horses step up and switch from therapeutic riding horse to Equine Facilitated Learning teachers. It was
almost as if they got the download of the program.
Participants, volunteer, horses and presenters all finished with a wonderful experience, a connection of the heart and a reminder that appreciation is the well that we all drink from.
The horses have shown me that self -awareness is the foundation of being with horses. It’s important to develop and know ones self. Why? Because the horse will ask, “who are you”, “are you safe to be with” and “can you provide the self- knowledge to support the inner nature of this individual horse”? A horse has the ability to read us like an open book and they have this amazing ability to show us our negative aspects as well as what we have denied in ourselves. If left unconscious it can cause a lot of frustration and miscommunication for both the horse and the person.
Similar to our human relationships we have some horses that we get along with and some that we have resistance with. So does like attract like or do opposites attract? It actually can work both ways. Numerous times I’ve seen people who may own multiple horses. If the horse has a similar personality to the owner they achieved harmony much faster. Their communication fairly is easy to achieve. They both develop a trust and support for each other even if they have to work through a few past programing and training issues. Their other horse, not so much harmony there! Their personalities traits tend to magnify each other. I look at this as a great teaching opportunity for the person. This is where we need to check our ego at the gate and allow the horse to become the teacher. The horse is just asking for us to develop a piece of our self that is denied or undeveloped. A trait that the horse does not possess but the herd had supplied for them. This could be any combination of traits like sensitivity, courage, focus, willfulness, leadership etc.
With my Eponaquest training we use specific exercises with the horses on the ground. The exercises slow things down so you have an embodied feel for the information your body and the horse is giving you. If the communication is strained on the ground I wouldn’t suggest getting on the horses back. Communication, willingness and mutual respect needs to be there or else it opens the door for someone to get hurt. In the past, I was trained to do it the old way of getting on and overpowering the horse with equipment. This, of course, does not build the trust we want from our horse or the ability to see what the dissonance of the relationship is trying to teach us about ourselves. When we have the courage to step into this place of vulnerability of allowing our horse to become our teacher, transformation can happen. We allow space to open to not only truly see yourself, but that of our horse, spouse, co–worker and friend. This is the starting place for developing a deep bond. It comes from being in a place of authenticity.
My niece Aimee Pahl and her horse Xfire. Six months ago he wouldn't allow anyone on his back. Today he is on a three day trail ride with her. So proud of both of you and allowing me to assist you on this journey. It allowed both to open their hearts to more love and a willingness to support each other, removing all tension that restrains the relationship. I see both of them smiling.
This is Watson a terrier that I visited on a consult this past weekend.His owner called because Watson whom she rescued from the animal shelter a month ago was experiencing separation anxiety. I usually start my work out by getting the owner in touch with her own body wisdom and ask for a message from the body on the situation. She was easily able to get a message from the tension in her arms that she was to lighten up. I did get a feeling from the dog that he just wanted to please his new owner and he had a nice nature about him. I discussed how the owner is contributing to the situation unconsciously. Love without boundaries can become enmeshment, which is unhealthy and very heavy for a person or animal to carry. Both the owners and the dogs boundaries that form autonomy were weak. Enmeshment doesn't allow individual empowerment or a healthy relationship with our self or a higher power. We need to be careful that we don't expect our dog to fill our needs or complete oneself, that only makes for a codependent dog . Many times if you shift this dynamics before it gets programed into the dogs brain and nervous system, you can help the dog to settle and be less reactive. Separation anxiety can decrease and a more balanced relationship ensues.
In my early years I thought I knew her. Experiencing small windows of recognition. Because of projections, she still was a stranger , me afraid to know what's there. The journey into the heart so worth it, bringing balance, joy and authenticity. Now when I look in her (I) eye, I see myself. Soul mates to each other. A bond that last for eternity.