I did something this week I’ve never done before – I prayed with some good friends in the center of an arena full of three horses. How did I get here?
In the past year, I’ve been working toward becoming a therapeutic riding instructor through PATH Intl., and I’ve also gained some experience with EAGALA. There’s also Equus Coaching Training (and as much as I want to do all of these things, there are some budgeting constraints with doing it all at one time.)
The closer I’ve gotten to becoming a certified PATH instructor, the more I’ve been wondering about how to combine my passion for horses and the disabled with all of my heart healing tools. This came up in conversation with a friend, who expressed to me that she’s started using horses in her Theophostic prayer sessions.
“I’ve got to check this out,” I said. “I want to see what you’re doing, and maybe I’ll be able to replicate it.”
We met at the barn a few days later and snuggled up with blankets outside in the December cold. I wasn’t 100% prepared to be on the receiving end of a heart healing session – but I really needed it. Together with the horses at liberty, we worked through something I wanted to leave behind that day.
The feeling of being stuck.
I receive heart healing best with my eyes closed. Even though I couldn’t see the horses, I could feel and hear their reaction to what I was dealing with. At one point, I was so completely shut down to the healing process that I thought we were done.
But the horses were upset and chasing each other around. They manifested what I wouldn’t (or couldn’t) acknowledge that I felt inside.
I trust horses to always tell me the truth, so I followed their lead and wrestled with the emotions I didn’t quite want to come to the surface. As I started to speak it out, the horses settled. I named what was holding me captive and why I’d kept it in place.
“There’s a horse right in front of you,” my friend said in that moment.
The horse, Mission, put her nose in my lap and supported me while I went to a place inside I didn’t want to go. She lent me her strength for my heart healing journey. (It gives me goose bumps remembering it now.)
As I began to receive truth into my identity, all of the horses quieted. They circled around us, watching, listening. Every time a new nugget of truth arrived in my heart, they would lick their lips before I could open my mouth to share with my friends.
Having horses in a heart healing session showed me when I’m hiding things from myself and when I can trust the truth.
Horses never lie – they can’t. Their nature as prey animals makes them sensitive to everything, even the slightest change in body language. The more we listen to them, the more they can tell us about ourselves.
Horses are powerful partners for inner heart healing. The more we listen to their input, the more insight they will offer us. It’s important to always be listening, and I can’t wait to see how this journey continues.
In a heart healing session, listen to the horse. Is he/she reacting positively or negatively? If the horse offers a negative response to you, stop and ask why. Journal about it. Pay careful attention to when the horse calms down. If the horse is releasing (licking lips, scratching, taking a deep breath, dropping his/her head), then you’re experiencing the truth of who you are.