“It’s Magical,” These are words I often hear during an Equine Assisted Coaching Session, and I can’t help but just smile. Recently, I was facilitating a session with a group of men and I had them build their own individual obstacle courses. They used various objects like cones, hoops, poles and flat vinyl spots that are about nine inches round. The only instructions they were offered was that their course had to have a beginning that represented where they were at in life during their addiction. Then they had to have a space that represented the “finish line” or where they wanted to be in their sobriety/recovery.
The men were then given the task of leading one of the horses-their choice, on a journey through their addiction into their recovery. Everybody observed each other one by one, and became curious as one of the men stopped and began taking pictures at the end of his path. When he was finished and walked back with the horse, he stated that it was just magical as “Cowboy” stopped and stood on the green circle with both front feet. He turned and looked at me “I am sure you have him trained to do that though, right?” I laughed, thinking to myself, “I wish I could train my horses to do such things.” I politely took the horse from him and tried myself to lead Cowboy to step on the spot. Haha… right,.. I spent about 7 minutes and couldn’t get it done.
The man had not tried to lead Cowboy on his circle of sobriety, the horse just went on his own and stood on it when they stopped at the end. Cowboy is such an intuitive horse and really knows what the clients are needing at any given moment. And yes! It does create some really magical moments. He just knows how to support them on their journeys.
A few days later, I was working with the same group of men, and they had used some markers to write out their positive affirmations on the horses. They proceeded afterwards to walk the horse labyrinth with either Bailey or Cowboy thinking about what they had written. This is a powerful meditative experience with the horses. When everyone was done walking the path, we all sat in a circle in the middle of the labyrinth and I took the halters off the horses and just turned them loose to wander in the arena.
We sat in the circle, each man sharing what he had written and his experience of walking with the horses. All of a sudden Cowboy came walking right into the middle of the circle and proceeded to lay down right in front of everyone. I had them scoot their chairs out about two feet to give him plenty of room. This is not something that horses will typically do, especially literally in the middle of a seated group. He proceeded to lay down for some time and looked at everyone a few times before he slowly got up. Cowboy then walked over to one of the men, and just stood in front of him observing his breath. The horse began to match the breath of the man that sat in front of him and continued to do so for about six minutes or so.
We had been talking about how important it was to just be “present” in life so you don’t miss the incredible experiences it has to offer. We are so busy all the time, that we don’t even know how to just “be” anymore. And along came Cowboy to show us how we can embrace those special moments when we allow and practice “presence” in our daily lives.
Magical moments like this are something my clients get to experience quite often. You too can learn to facilitate incredible sessions like these and many more through Equine Assisted Coaching. It is truly a life changing and rewarding career. Contact us to learn more!