My Horse, My Home
“The best thing for the inside of a man is the outside of a horse”. Words of wisdom, any horse rider will tell you. I have been a lover of horses since my early days. My grandfather, who raised Shetland ponies in Oklahoma, gave my younger sisters and me a black and white pony (Smokey) when I was only 5 years old and I only remember being “horseless” a couple times in the next 50 years.
My mom used to joke that whenever I was angry or upset, she would look out and see me go over the hill, in the pasture, on a horse. And that is probably fairly accurate. I would saddle up (or not) and jump on a horse to escape lots of things (including work, and my mom never mentioned that!) and ride out by myself.
When I am doing therapy, especially with attachment disordered clients, I have come to recognize how beneficial a horse can be. There are many equine therapy programs that cater to attachment disorder, and if you think about it, you can see the reasoning.
First, the movement on the back of a horse, with the steps, mimics the movement of being inside a mother, in the womb, as she walks. This is also one of the reasons why walking with a baby or rocking is so soothing. It re-creates a level of comfort for a baby or child on a subconscious level. I have seen children who were visibly agitated become calm and quiet while riding, especially as they settle in and become “one” with the horse.
People working with horses also have to somewhat suspend their need for control, or at least modify it. Working with a horse, in tandem, requires a certain level of trusting in the horse and a certain cessation of that bossing, that “making” someone do what you want. In order to really enjoy a ride, you must learn to understand and accept your horse. That is the beginning of the “connection” to the horse.
Getting on a horse, letting go of the day’s worries, and letting yourself relax into the rhythm of the ride allows people to become suspended into a different kind of experience, one where we can begin to see ourselves as a small part of a larger whole. It is not about “us” as a person, but about who we are in relation to someone else, in this case, a horse. Yes, it helps to be “in control” of the horse, but the real connection comes when we can do that without the aggression of “demanding” but rather in sync with the horse. And that seems like a good way to do things in life. Too often we ‘fight’ hard to get what we want only to discover that isn’t really what we needed. Perhaps we need more to relax, wait and let things happen as they will, with guidance of course, but without forcing a situation. Perhaps in the relaxation, the true way will be allowed, and we can move forward in a more calm, quiet, appreciative way.
Saddle up!Tags: horse refuge, my horse, therapy of a horse
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner
Licensed Professional Counselor
Advanced Clinical HypnoTherapist
- Deb England began working part-time for Wholeness Healing Center in September 2004 and began full-time in May 2005. Deb practices primarily in the Broken Bow office and one day a week in the Grand Island office. Previously she had completed her practicum and internship at Morning Star Alliance, working in the Broken Bow and Grand Island offices.
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