Though challenges and changes in life are a given, it’s how we handle them that…
I’ve always loved horses and used to ride regularly. When Mum passed in April 2021, I felt a strong pull to be around them. Horses have amazing healing energy and instinctively know how to help us. So in the Summer of the same year I began my journey with the herd. Over the course of the next couple of months, they taught me some valuable lessons.
On my first session I was following the herd and wanting to walk fast as usual. However, the herd had other ideas. This created a feeling of frustration. Every time I went to speed up and ‘overtake’ one horse, another one would walk in front of me to slow down the pace. It soon became very apparent this was the lesson. To slow down in life and stop being in such a hurry. Taking life at a calmer pace (the herd’s pace) enables you to fully appreciate and take in your surroundings. It also gives you time to process any thoughts and feelings in the moment, rather than pushing them down to deal with another day.
Trust the Process
I was following one of the herd and she kept going and going. Do I carry on or not? Is this the right direction? I checked in with the therapist who advised me to keep going and follow the herd member. I did this and eventually we came to a clearing containing a beautiful big pond, where the herd member was having a drink and a Heron sat on the side. It was the most beautiful, idyllic spot that I if I’d stopped and not trusted the herd member, I wouldn’t have experienced. So this taught me to keep going, to trust the Universe and where it’s leading me.
The therapist asked me to lead a herd member in a certain direction so I set off with the intention to go in that direction. However, the herd member decided she wanted to walk so far in that direction but then stopped, turned around and wanted to go back the way we’d come. This led to some confusion as I now thought we were going backwards. Assured that we were in fact still moving forwards and that all we’d done was change direction, I carried on. We were ‘going with the flow’. Instead of walking towards our initial intended target, which was way off in the distance and maybe a step too far at that time. Life sometimes demands course corrections but that doesn’t mean we’re going backwards.
Set Healthy Boundaries
One of the final lessons the wonderful herd taught me was when I was leading a horse that decided he wanted to veer left which was the side I was on. If I’d have let him continue to go left he would’ve squished me against the hedge or fence. Taking my right hand, placing it on his side and gently pushing him over to the right ensured I’d enough room to move, to breathe. I was in fact letting him know my boundaries and ensuring he understood what was acceptable to me. In life, the horse represents anyone or anything that attempts to squish us or overstep and it’s up to us to set healthy boundaries.
The final valuable lesson I learned was when leading one of the horses and he kept stopping to feed. I found this a little frustrating at first as we had a goal to accomplish and he kept stopping every few minutes. So I spent his feeding time stroking him and enjoying his calm, peaceful healing energy. The lesson here was to ensure I spend quality time ‘just being’.
I had another opportunity to practise this when sitting in front of a different herd member. The horse was relaxing, laying down really showing me how to just be. So I sat down in front of him and enjoyed his company, sitting in his beautiful energy. It was an incredible experience and taught me how my energy had positively shifted from the first session to the last. I was so content and happy. I’d slowed right down, was calmer and going with the flow. I also got a chance to practise recognising his healthy boundaries by allowing enough space for him to get up when he was ready.
This equine healing experience will stay with me for life. I now have a greater respect for these beautiful creatures than ever before. I still love being around them and visit our local horses regularly to say hello and enjoy their healing energy. I’m also grateful for trusting myself and what would help me at a time of great emotional upheaval.
Thank you to Spirit and Soul, highly recommended if you’re local. There are also many other places across the UK and internationally that do this amazing work.