Horses Help Us to Find Harmony
When I tell people that I help them to overcome obstacles and find inner wisdom, joy and hope from horses, I get a perplexed look of disbelief from most individuals.
How on earth does the horse make a difference to my ability to face the challenges in my life and overcome the limitations I feel?
Experience is the Greatest Teacher
First, working with the horses is an experiential activity and it has been proven that we retain more through experiential learning rather than through just studying a topic or reading a book. As such, I develop specific activities that embody the changes you are looking to make and the ability to overcome the obstacles that are blocking you from long-term success.
The Heart Knows
It is well known that our heart and gut have neurons like that of the brain. It is easy for us to believe that all of the sensory input we experience comes from the brain, however this has been thoroughly researched by The Heart Math Institute, and it has been proven, that the heart is our first layer of connection. The Institute of Heart Math has proven that the heart’s electromagnetic field is 60 times greater than that of the electrical activity of the brain, and as such, it is the heart that first “reads” the feeling states of others around us for coherence and congruence.
Of course horses too have this electromagnetic field, yet as prey animals with large hearts (brain in the heart) and intestinal tracts (brain in the gut) they can easily sense a person’s level of congruence and reflect what is actually happening within you. The horses will mirror the emotion and respond to an individual’s true feelings and experience in the moment helping you to truly see what is happening in your life experience. This helps you to move beyond the illusion of your paradigms and self-limiting beliefs to connect to your true inner wisdom and authentic self that is essential to long term change.
But Of Course the Brain is Important!
After experiencing a traumatic brain injury from a horseback riding accident I was diagnosed as “completely disabled” due to my inability to process information quickly. If you asked me to make a decision, even as simple as “Do you want to go through the drive through or go into the restaurant to get your coffee?”, I would look like a deer caught in headlights, unable to decide. As well, ten days after my accident, I awoke unable to speak, and when my speech did return, I stuttered and could only piece together words rather than full sentences. Plus, I had acquired a Scottish accent! I am 1 of 60 people in the world who have had a traumatic incident to the brain and awoken with a foreign accent, which is referred to as Foreign Accent Syndrome. As a person who used to speak to large groups easily, all of this was embarrassing and frustrating.
After participating in a horse therapy event I began to find it easier to link words together, form sentences and my stuttering had decreased. Upon returning home I started being “present” with my horses as I had the horses in the workshop. This accelerated my healing rapidly compared to all I had tried previously.
The horses truly helped to heal my brain and enable me to move beyond just surviving in a depressed and frightened state to one of thriving and healing. The plasticity of the brain, the ability to develop new neural pathways, which eventually becomes “a superhighway replacing the other highway which helped a person to survive but keeps them from thriving.” After the heart and gut sense what is happening the input goes to the medulla which is in the limbic area of the brain, which is called the “feeling brain”.
It is through limbic resonance, which is making a connection with another sentient being, in this case with the horse, whose limbic area is considerably larger than ours. It is there that limbic regulation occurs for emotional modulation. Emotional processes work faster than the mind, it takes a power stronger than the mind to bend perception, override emotional circuitry, and provide us with the intuitive feeling instead. Our emotions have also been found to profoundly affect our heart and its torus field, with positive emotions bringing coherence, and negative emotions incoherence.
Limbic revision occurs when we discover the new way of being and living. In working with the horses as congruent and authentic mirrors. This is the implicit learning of experience that will enable long-term adaptation and change. It is important to note at this point that the facilitators of my experience with the horses were able to assist in this positive experience and to help recognize what really was happening in that moment. The medulla, linked with the reticular activation system can magnify fears and negative messages, and as such, it is important to have the support of a skilled facilitator to help the individual with “corrective emotional experience” to elicit a different response and outcome than is usually automatically initiated.
The Big Picture
Regardless of the mechanism, I can honestly credit the horses with my healing journey. This healing process occurred of course due to the scientific revision of the brain for new neural pathways as explained above, but also due to the fact that the houses in their quiet majestic presence allow you to be present, become grounded in the moment and be authentically who you are without judgment, criticizing or demanding you to meet any expectations except one … to be who you truly are. There are not many individuals or beings, or places, that this can truly occur. It is here at our farm, the Creating Harmony Spirit Centre, that you can experience the majestic presence of the horses to access inner awareness, intuitive knowing, clarity and congruence of your authentic self and begin the healing journey to wholeness.
I have been trained in the Facilitated Equine Experiential Learning (FEEL) program, which I feel is unique in it’s teachings of not only the physical changes that occur within the brain and body when working with the horses, but to the spiritual component of self actualization, personal acceptance of self and hope instilled for resilience in challenging times.
The FEEL activities are done from the ground, rather than the saddle and riding of the horse, which enables us to meet eye to eye with the majesty and powerful presence of the horse. This means that anyone, regardless of horse experience, can come and experience new life and new beginnings through the spirit of the horse.
May the horse be with you to transition you from a life of stress, chaos and surviving to one of thriving and flying upon the wings of hope and opportunity for a fuller and meaningful experience.
Ready to Change Your Life?
Sharon's determination and unbreakable spirit - which helped her shine brightly through her dark times and experience happier and peaceful moments are what she uses today to help people and teams turn their Chaos into Focus and Results. She accomplishes this through a process Sharon calls "Falling into the Rhythm of Life - Life Lessons Straight from the Horses's Mouth".