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Kim Walnes Gideon
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As a Life Coach, I tell people, “You will always acquire the horse who will teach you what you most need to learn in life.”
Ever since I became a riding instructor, horses have made it clear to me that a rider’s emotional state, clarity of intent, and need to heal from past traumas are as important as the rider’s position and clarity of aids. Whenever I would protest and tell them that this was not part of my job description, they would turn those big brown eyes on me and tell me that deep down inside I knew better.
Emotional issues resulting from any form of trauma get stored in our muscles and fascia until we are in a space to be able to heal and release them. If we continue to ignore the situations that our subconscious minds and our horses create as opportunities to heal and release, then these traumas haunt us in the form of pain, stiffness, numbness (physical/emotional), anxiety, and fear. Our body and conscious mind’s efforts to protect us usually end up doing just the opposite, creating escalating symptoms on multiple levels. A self-feeding loop begins, and the result is that we feel more and more out of control and pressured with stress.
Horses are focused on integrity to survive: If horses were able to lie about their true mental or physical state, how could herd members trust one another? Horses are highly sensitive beings who are very aware of what is really going on inside us, even if we are not consciously aware of it ourselves. When a rider is in turmoil and wearing the polite cheerful mask that society teaches us we must wear, horses know immediately that this person is out of integrity with the truth of who they really are in this moment. This makes them uneasy, they do not feel safe, and they will not accept leadership or direction from this person. The resulting behavior is often labeled as resistance, disobedience, or disrespect, when in actuality it is the horse’s efforts to “get in the rider’s face” and demand honesty, authenticity, and accountability.
All the things we desire to teach our horses -- manners, consistency, awareness, balance, alignment, trust, softness, joy in movement -- they also require of us. To truly live a life filled with passion and joy, we must know who we truly are, something often lost along the way of living a life of compliance in our society.
ENTER “LIFE COACHING”
Traditional life coaching tends to focus on supplying skills and techniques for achieving goals, which is certainly worthy work. However, horses require more of us. Their language goes far beyond sounds, body movement, and an understanding of their genetic history of living in the wild. Their language encompasses more of that which is of the heart, soul, and intuition than of the mind.
To join in the dance of Life with a horse requires far more than methods and techniques. It requires a shift of perspective and paradigm. From my vantage point of having lived 60 years, I now know that most of what I was taught by my parents, schooling, and society has been a lie. The truth is far grander! It involves expansion, light, love, and a release of fear-based living.
To truly “be” with your horse means to live in his world, which is one of beauty -- that which is rich with authenticity, awareness, delight, and joy rather than merely physical appearance. It requires acceptance of moments of awe, outrageousness, expression. It requires coming out of hiding and truly being who you are.
No matter what we have been taught, on some level we know that our horses are capable of being our greatest teachers.
It takes a lot of courage to allow the process of releasing one’s old foundation; your whole world can sometimes appear a bit topsy-turvy for a while. This is where having someone to champion you, to support you in finding your own healing process and to create tools for progress can come in handy. To me, therapy comes from the supposition that you are “broken” and need “fixing” through the medium of another person. Transformational coaching comes from the belief that you already possess the tools to heal yourself and simply need support and guidance to access them. A coach is someone who recognizes your greatest potential and holds that space for you while your horse teaches you to sing out loud the song of your heart.
Kim Walnes won Rolex and individual and team World Championship bronze medals as a member of the US Three Day Event Team. Now she and her stallion, Gideon Goodheart, successfully compete at Third Level dressage, but their passion is working with people who desire to make transformational life changes. Kim and Gideon live in Quakertown, PA. Contact her at 215-529-7493 or www.thewayofthehorse.com .