Finding Zen in the Midst of Battle

Finding Zen in the Midst of Battle

IMG_5413A few months ago, my best friend, Meadow, told me about an opportunity to participate in a weekend life coaching session that utilized horses.  She didn’t go into a ton of detail but typed the following words in an email to me: “Life. Changing. Do. Not. Miss. This.”  While I can be stubborn, I am also smart.  When Meadow tells me that something will be life changing, I usually heed her advice.  This opportunity not only promised to be life changing but it was complimentary for both Glenn and I.  Where do I sign up?

While I am very familiar with life coaching, “Equus Coaching” was a term that I was not familiar with.  This particular coaching involves horses.  Horses just so happen to terrify me…a lot.  Huge animals that I do not understand and myself…in a pen…together.  I had to wonder what was I getting myself into this weekend.

Glenn and I arrived at the ranch yesterday afternoon for our first session.  Each person is taken into a round pen with a horse, an Equus coach and a lead rope- sometimes your coach stays in the pen with you and sometimes she doesn’t.   You never ride the horses—you are merely interacting with these large animals. I was told that horses can feel your energy—if you have issues with boundaries than you can bet your bottom dollar that the horse will be pushing into you and invading your space.  Horses can feel my energy…fab-u-lous, I thought!   With everything going on in my world, I don’t necessarily exude a Zen-like energy.  I was fully preparing myself for bucking bronco.

Between Saturday and Sunday, I did a total of three sessions which were life changing just as Meadow promised.  I started with a small pony named, “Tinkerbell” which was fitting because that has been my nickname on occasion.  Tinkerbell was smaller than me and through my interaction with her; I gained confidence as I began to understand the psychology of horses.  I was amazed to discover that they really can read your body language and they do pick up on your energy.  A horse which was frantically galloping around the pen could be brought to a standstill just by ME taking a deep, cleansing breath and relaxing.

This morning, I decided that I was ready to work with a larger horse so I entered the pen with a big, beautiful brown horse (whose name is escaping me right now).  Part of the coaching involves discussing an issue that you have with your life coach and then working through the problem with your horse.  If you’re particular issue happens to be setting boundaries than you will work to develop a strong stance and boundaries with your horse.  My topic was lack of confidence in the courtroom and the intimidation that I feel with the entire process.  I went into the pen semi-fearful of this large animal but learned that I could control the outcome of the situation by being clear in my intentions and letting the horse know that I was in control.  All by myself, I could move this large animal forwards, backwards and side-to-side and even though it outweighed me greatly.  I was in control.

I am normally good at expressing myself with words but I have a difficult time understanding the magic that took place this weekend.  I left with a deeper understanding of my energy and how it affects other people and situations.  I didn’t go into the weekend feeling Zen-like but that feeling is with me now.

Thank you so much to Koelle Simpson and her amazing team of people at the Northstar Ranch.  For more information on why horses make great teachers, click here.

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One Response

  1. Thrilled to hear you had such a great experience.

    Like people, horses are herd animals. Anyone who thinks people are not herd animals has never seen someone come out of 3 years of isolation.

    People need social interaction just as surely as we need oxygen.

    Horses are social creatures by nature–a horse alone is almost guaranteed to grow depressed and withdrawn without a companion animal of some sort. Many professional equine “atheletes” who must travel professionally (think thoroughbred horseracing, Olympic eventing, etc), travel with companion pony, duck, dog, (even occassionally) pig to give the animal a familiar friend no matter where their profession takes them.

    I was lucky enough to work in a stable for several summers during my junior high school years. After reading Tina’s blog entry while stuck on hold at work today, I found a lot of memories coming back to me. Weird as it may sound, horses are an excellent tool to get an object lesson in boundaries.

    Anyone who finds themself struggling to enforce boundaries (and I am talking to myself as much as anyone else following Tina’s blog!) with their child(ren)’s other parent may find some teaching in horse “psychology” very useful in understanding their own role in the reactions the other parent throws out.

    Happy learning all!