As a certified instructor in Equine Facilitated Experiential Learning (EFEL), I have found that common problems previously attributed to a horse often stem instead from the person. At my barn one day, I had a client, Emily, who wanted to know
more about what horses were trying to say with their behavior. She also wanted to find a more heartfelt approach in her training style and in her life.
Emily's history with horses came from a traditional background in showing and training where the horse was never given a voice or a choice.
She had a very successful show career to her credit, but she felt something was missing.
In a session with Star, my sooty buckskin mare, Emily explored her thoughts and feelings as she brushed Star, who stood quietly grazing the grass with no restraint on her head. The connection between them seemed to be easy and comfortable, so I suggested Emily try riding the mare bareback with a halter and reins. Once Emily was sitting comfortably on Star's back, the energy shifted between them. Star tightened her muscles as she faced the fence, refusing to move.
"What are you feeling?" I asked Emily, to defuse the tension and slow her down from whatever she was planning to do internally.
After expressing that she was feeling tense, especiallyin her shoulder, Emily accessed the
information in that sensation in a technique I'd already shown her called a body scan. She received the message that she lost connection with Star and felt frustrated and insecure. Immediately, I saw the two of them relax as Star sighed and licked her lips. Emily acknowledged her own tense feelings disappeared.
From here I asked Emily to connect with her own true heart's desire and to connect with Star. Emily sat in silence for several minutes as she found that place of inner knowing, peace and connection. Then in a seamless move, Star shifted away from the fence and walked along the perimeter. In the next ten minutes, Star stopped several times, Emily body scanned to find her blocks and limitations and then Star moved off again.
Soon they appeared to unite in perfect harmony as they walked, trotted and changed directions around the small arena.
When Star stopped at the gate, giving every appearance that she had taught the human on her back all she needed to know for the day, I asked Emily what she discovered.
"I've always made showing my goal," said Emily. “Star showed me that when I'm connected with myself and with her, she will do anything I ask. I have never allowed a horse to stop at the gate, but I see Star is using the gate to communicate with me. She feels we are done or the day, and I agree. We achieved a lot in a short time."
Horse problems can range from simple to complex, likenot wanting to be caught, refusing to stand still for mounting, knocking down a pole on the third jump, or spooking at new things. I have found these kinds of problems resolve as we look at the human's role in the process. The horse is doing his/her best to reveal to us something we aren't currently seeing or feeling.
When we consider the role of our emotions, beliefs, and experiences and their influence on our horse, we change our relationship for the better.
When we do, we take one step closer to personal empowerment.
Kristin Hungenberg is certified in Equine Facilitated Experiential Learning (EFEL) as an
EponaQuest Instructor. She has a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education from the University of Northern Colorado. She also has 38 years of experience working with horses from pleasure riding to training and showing. For the last 18 years, Kristin has studied Shamanism and offers energy healing as part of her practice. She uses ancient and modern techniques to help her clients grow. Kristin's program offers a unique service of interacting with horses to effect life change. To learn more about these tools and what your horse is communicating,
contact, Kristin at www.fourdirectionshorsefarm.com