Charisma Connection

The Mind Body Connection

Nancy Proulx - Saturday, December 09, 2017

Catherine called me last week for an equestrian coaching session. She was faced with a very common equestrian scenario. She was frustrated with her horse Scout. Scout is a 14 years old chestnut quarter horse and Catherine has been his person for 6 years. Catherine’s main complaint was that Scout gets anxious and always spooks when going to the right in the riding paddock. She told me there was a valid reason for this. About a year ago a deer jumped out of woods, frightening both of them. She said they both literally had their hearts in their throats. She avoided the fall but now Scout is on high alert going this direction. What makes things even more frustrating for Catherine is that her trainer can get on Scout and he’s an angel. He stays calm, doesn’t spook and stays completely connected and goes to the right just fine, YES EVEN if there are deer grazing in the pasture.

So what’s going on here? Does the horse have her number? Is the horse spooking for a valid reason or is she creating it?

Many of the tools I use can be used long distance as in this case. I really enjoy these coaching calls because I get to rely on some of my other skills. I’ve been a lifelong horse person and trainer but I am also an intuitive. I formally trained with Caroline Myss and Norman Shealy MD for four years in the field of Medical Intuition and Intuitive Counseling. I am also an Eponaquest Instructor, which focuses on personal development in front of the horse. These two fields allow me to address my work in a more holistic way rather than from purely a training perspective. I think of myself more as a healer verses a horse trainer.

One of the first things I did with Scout was to do a quick intuitive assessment of the horse from a picture before we talked. The picture carries a magnetic charge allowing me to sense personality, history and if there is anything that may be making the horse uncomfortable in his body. Many times this just helps to validate that I’m connected to the horse long distance. After confirming that most of what was going on was behavioral verses a physical pain, I told Catherine that what looks like bad behavior is just communication from a horse’s perspective. I’ve felt that what Catherine needed first was to strengthen her body-mind connection. She had the riding ability but her energetic system and body were not backing her up.

I use a very unique tool in my work, an exercise called the body scan. The body scan is useful in all sorts of situations and I have found it to be foundational and transformative in my work with veterans who suffer from PTSD. It helps them to gain deeper understanding of how our mind can overload our body with old programming or how what is stored in our body can wreak havoc on our goals.

For Catherine I took her through a deep body scan over the phone. This allowed her to develop an awareness of her body and what’s inside it. When we are taught to engage with our body at this level we realize that the body has it’s own wisdom and opinion and that body postures hold all types of information for us. I instructed her to first practice this body awareness exercise for a good week and get familiar with it. She was to use it in all sorts of situations; at work, in the grocery store, and in front of her horse. Then when she felt comfortable with it I wanted her to try it on her horse while she was riding. We were to touch base a week later.

The exercise was quite enlightening to Catherine both in the saddle and out. It really hit home while riding Scout. She realized that when she reversed to the right she did a little giggle and grinned, which she said she does when she gets nervous and then she dropped her hands, collapsed her spine and took a tighter grip of the reins, preventing him from going forward. This is a common mistake; we put the brakes on and the gas petal at the same time, confusing the horse. She became aware of how frustrated she was with the tension in her body and how her body responded. Things started to quickly turn around once Catherine realized that her unconscious body messages were shutting down her horse. It was her hidden fear that was influencing the horse. Horses will ask for the mind and the body to be on the same page. They sense incongruences and then act them out.

Over the weeks we continued to work with exercises to enhance this mind-body connection and many areas of their relationship started to change. Scout seemed to have a softer eye, he started to stand at the mounting block and they were making great strides at going to the right under saddle.

* For more information on the body scan you can reference it in Linda Kohanov book The Power of the Herd, chapter 14.

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