Talk about the words flowing from deep within!
We called it Horse Whispering. It’s proper name is Equine Assisted Therapy. The personal experience of working with horses in itself can have no name. For me it was a deep and, dare i say it, profound experience. I had no expectations, no requirements. I decided to be open and let it happen, nothing more nothing less.
My wife and I have always believed that doing something is better than doing nothing. This approach had led us to be very open minded to considering all sorts of different approaches, from the purely medical, via the behavioural and including the experiential, as we supported our eldest child as she grows up with a curious mixture of what are softly known as “spectrum behaviours”.
A close friend and, as it happens, professional psychologist, mentioned EAGALA to my wife one day and after a little reading, we agreed to take our eldest daughter along. We chose this path not because our eldest was already fascinated, or perhaps even obsessed with Horses (which she is), but because the idea of working with ancient creatures and engaging with them to better understand the self, relationships and the world around her seemed like a natural and as it turns out well trodden path to enabling and promoting emotional growth.
Watching one session with my daughter quickly convinced me that this was a journey I had to also take. What started out as an experiment quickly became a joint adventure for us both.
Over the course of several months, at irreggular intervals, mostly on Sundays, we would drive together with the music playing one hour north of Wellington to Te Horo. Up in Te Horo it is warmer with lush countryside and lots of Horses. It is a fun drive up the Kapiti coastline.
Renee Keenan started out as our guide and naturally took us on and became part of our journey. The moment you park the car, switch of the engine, step on the soft ground and breathe the fresh equine infused air, you enter the world of Horses.
We always started by finding the present moment and taking in the surroundings; the sounds, the colours, the arena, the fields, the fences, the tree stumps, the table, the whereabouts of the Horses. Starting out and being grounded in the now allowed me to engage, express and explore in safety, everything from what it feels like to wake up every morning and be me, all the way to the darkest hours of my existence and what they mean. Setting off on a journey of such vast expanse could feel daunting but I was not aware ahead of time where the journey would take me, nor how we would get there, by what route, via which corners of the universe.
Along the way I travelled through time, love, safety, anger, fear, confidence, surprise, harmony, reality and then spirituality and finally ended up experiencing what I can only describe as some sort of universality. I feel grounded in the universe.
I have no need to, nor do I want to define any or all of these more precisely. It would not in any way justify, explain or otherwise clarify what was a transformation experience for me. No fanfare. No flashes of blinding light. All this was, and still is what it ended up being at the time.
Horses can talk. Horses can speak. Horses can express. Horses can give. Horses can receive. Horses can come near. Horses can stay far. Horses can feel. Horses can answer. Horses can sense. Horses are aware. Horses reflect. Horses can play. Horses can protect. Horse can lead. Horses can follow.
The language of Horses is clear. The meaning is powerful. There can however be no transcript.