*The opinions and views expressed at or through this article are the opinions of the author and do not reflect the opinions of Natural Awakenings or the opinions or views of any other individual.
Jo was nervous yet excited for her turn in the round pen with Lacy, the beautiful chestnut mare at the Horses as Healers workshop. She watched Lacy respond with enthusiasm, giving specific messages to the first three women in the group as they shared with her their goals for the future. Jo envisioned the same kind of response from Lacy, if not a better response because she was so connected to her dreams. Envisioning them in great detail was an easy task. Jo stepped into the pen and started pouring her heart out to Lacy expecting an affirmative response from the mare. To her horror, Lacy stood still looking so uninterested, so bored – that she seemed ready for a nap. In Jo’s mind, the mare seemed to be judging her unworthy of a message. She felt devastated and confused. “What kind of message was that? Why didn’t Lacy respond to my energy?” The question pounded in Jo’s mind and heart. Late that night the meaning of Lacy’s message suddenly surfaced. With a shock,
Jo realized, at age 47, she had been living in fear of being harshly judged by others. This fear had beleaguered portions of her entire life. In fact, she wasn’t aware of until today how harshly she had actually been judging herself. Jo realized that the fear of being judged by the other women in the group and even by Lacy had created severe anxiety for her. Lacy couldn’t feel the energy of the dream because it was buried under years of selfjudgment. In the pen, Lacy had no doubt experienced this blocked energy. What an incredible gift of realization this mare had given Jo! What better message could she possibly have received?
The next morning Jo walked to the pen for her morning visit with horses. The grass swaying gently in the breeze on the distant hill caught her attention. It sparked a thought, “How much happier my life would be if I just swayed and flowed with life rather than resisting what each moment offered.” Her tears started to flow as the emotion struck. Feeling her emotion, a black and white gelding named Sonny broke from the herd and came over to her. As she greeted him her heart swelled with gratitude for his presence. Sonny gently touched his nose to her heart and held it there. Jo understood the message and she said, “Yes, I will follow my heart.” Satisfied, Sonny drew his nose away and proceeded to lick her hand. A second message! He was telling her to be kind to herself as she moved through life. Seeing that she had received the message, he stopped. Next, he touched his nose to her feet. Again she voiced the message, “I won’t just live in my head, and I’ll stay grounded in my feelings.” Jo’s heart was full. As Sonny returned to his herd, silently she sent her gratitude. The average person probably wouldn’t think to run to a stable or pasture for some deep inner soul work.
They wouldn’t know that horses will tell humans the honest truth with absolutely no judgments attached. Being prey animals in the wild, horses are expert at reading energies. They will read the energy you bring into the pen before you get there because in the wild their lives depend on it. Working with a horse in a therapeutic way is like standing before a mirror, a 1200 pound mirror that doesn’t lie and is tremendously patient. Horses are incredibly generous, loving creatures. They help children with disabilities, veterans suffering with PTSD and just average people needing them to help identify life’s purpose. These magnificent animals function as amazing healers simply by being themselves. We humans learn not to trust our feelings and intuitions. Our ability to feel deeply and understand our issues clearly, becomes clouded. When we approach them with respect, horses can teach us to reconnect to our natural instincts and again trust our abilities to face our fears and carry out our life’s purpose.
Pamela J. Lee