Monday, May 25, 2009

Re-Mothered by a Black Horse: More Effective than Talk Therapy!

Let’s kick this blog off with some of my own healing adventures with horses!

In fact, let’s begin at my very first personal experience of equine-assisted coaching: It rocked my world.

Back when I was doing my post-doctoral fellowship in Rochester, NY, I went through a devastating breakup. The kind of persistent pain that caused me to seek out therapy to make sense of it all.

The therapist was brilliant in getting me to understand what the ferocity of this pain meant: It wasn’t about this boyfriend at all, it was really about my distant, childhood past.

I needed to really grieve not having my needs met as a child, she said.

Problem was, I didn’t have access to those memories OR the feelings- so I COULDN’T grieve.

I wanted to, but I my subconscious had neatly tucked away all of it to protect me. And try as I might, I didn’t seem to have a way to get in and make contact with the part of me that needed to heal.

So, therapy was a stalemate.

Sure, I walked away with greater insight into the situation, but insight is only the first part of healing. Insight alone doesn’t shift anything monumental.

Fast-forward several years to the first equine-facilitated learning workshop I attended.

I stood outside of a round pen, across from a jet black horse that I had selected to work with, because somehow, she felt “right” to me. And before I even stepped into the pen to begin my ‘session’- I was crying.

When I entered and stood next to this mare, I cried harder and harder. It went on forever and I didn’t even KNOW what the tears were about.

Then as I stood enveloped in her warmth, one word floated into my awareness: Nurture. In her own way, she was offering the mothering I had craved.

In a split second I realized that at last I had made contact with my wounded inner child, the child that had stubbornly remained hidden for 9 months of therapy years before. And now, a childhood of sadness was finally being grieved, finally being experienced.

But more than that, it was being released- from my body, my heart, and my mind.

After more than 30 minutes of full-on sobbing, the tears began to dry up. I stood next to this black mare, my arm over her whither. And as the sun came out from the clouds behind us, it illuminated a shadow before us: Of me and her, together.

Immediately I was struck with this idea:
I am never alone. Walking beside me is always the comforting force of Love. And together, we’ll make it through.

As that knowing flooded over me, a new wave of tears came down, this time refreshing my soul with comfort and relief.

In one instant, a new memory was installed in my body, heart, and mind: A memory that should have been part of my childhood, but was missing.

Now, I held it close to my heart and breathed in a new sense of wholeness. It was like a 100-pound weight was lifted, leaving me light and renewed.

What a beautiful healing gift this horse had given. Yet more was to come.

Later back at the hotel room, I laid down to rest. And I was startled to discover that something had changed in my body.

Suddenly for the first time, I was able to breathe all the way deep down into my stomach. Honestly, before that moment, I wasn’t even aware that I couldn’t do that! I didn’t know that I was holding a block there.

I was amazed to realize that a simple, yet profound 30-minute round pen session with a mysterious black horse was able to accomplish what 9 months of talk therapy could not!

A block that had probably been there since childhood had melted, leaving my body with a greater sense of wellness and energetic flow.

After this session, the trajectory of my life changed. I knew I was being called upon to combine my two life-long passions- love and horses- to help people experience this kind of awe-inspiring healing.

Thus began my own healing adventure with horses and a new passionate path opened before my eyes. A path I’d be honored to walk alongside of you at the Happily Ever After Holistic Healing Horse Ranch!


  1. Wow that's amazing Jen! I've had heartbreak that led to me discovering my wounded 5 year old who was terrified of being abandoned.

    I was lucky to be able to access her through talking, rebirthing and massage therapy.

    For deeply buried emotions equine therapy sounds amazing. Looking fwd to hearing more. Tia