Can’t Be Tamed: A Day of Healing with Horses in Springfield, Vermont

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As Maggie sauntered away, I felt rejection, insult, abandon.

You aren’t listening to what you know in your heart is right. She had had enough of my denial.

Maggie, BTW, is a sassy young paint horse. We were paired up for an Equine Coaching session lead by EGCM healer Cindy Aldrich at her barn in Springfield, Vermont. This was my second session but the first with Maggie.

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Horses, wild or domesticated, in many cultures are celebrated as a symbol of freedom, power, virility, life-force. Native Americans believed that this wild freedom could be employed to benefit the tribe but only once a mutual respect is acknowledged and it is understood that man and beast are responsible to one another. (http://www.whats-your-sign.com/horse-symbol-meanings.html) Solidarity! *fist bump*

EGCM uses this connection between horses and their partner to facilitate an existential and experiential psychotherapy for self-exploration, awareness, relationship building, and healing

My first session with Bella I stood in the barn briskly answering Cindy’s questions with vague, text book answers. Bella promptly trotted away to nuzzle a stallion through the gate. (Can you blame her?)

A horse won’t waste their time if you aren’t there to do the work. As one of the most congruent and perceptive animals, they are able to feel a shift in vibrational energy from up to a mile away. So, they can feel insincerity.

This time, I was ready. Determined. Marching to the center of the arena,  I imagined being so unclosed and candid that my vulnerabilities would be on display like a trench coat full of watches.

I hope I do this right. I hope I can get this horse to come near me.

I was focusing so hard on trying to be “in the moment” that I spun on my heel and nearly collided with Maggie’s gigantic head as she raced up behind me.

She was right there (literally) with me on this. Let’s do this!

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I opened up about my recent wrestling with the decision to become a full-time creative by giving up other commitments in my life. An idea as thrilling and terrifying as jumping from a plane trusting that your parachute will open. Maggie turned sideways aligning her heart “chakra” with mine. As I admitted my fear of regret, she came to me and bowed her head.

I thought about what Cindy had said during the introduction circle about how horses like to work once they find the right job. I envisioned the work horses I had seen at county fairs pulling cement blocks or wagons full of children. Or the race horses I bet on that dashed toward the finish line at the Hipodromo Argentino de Palermo. How very similarly, we all take on burdens and quest for something. That once we find what works for us, we too will work happily and tirelessly at it.

At this my stomach began needling with hunger pangs but my feet were shooting with energy. In a flash, I felt the sudden need to sprint, jump, take off.

But I stayed because, I don’t know, it seemed like I was supposed to. Maggie came over put her backside to me and leaned in. Obviously I moved out of the way so I didn’t get a horseshoe to the head. Then I realized I moved when I wasn’t going to. Fear can hold us back but it can also nudge us forward.

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She began shifting her weight on her back haunches, her way of sending me creative energy.

So what did comfortable, confident, Future Gaby do to get where she wanted? Asks Cindy.

As I turned over different options in my head; she worked hard. She focused. She got organized. She time managed.

Maggie walked away. Calmly, confidently, to the other side of the arena resting her head on the top tier of the gate, looking at the woman waiting for her turn with a welcoming tameness. Which brings us to the beginning of our tale; maybe I was insulted that she left me alone to conquer this final, major decision by myself. Or maybe, she was showing me how it is done. That all I need to do is simply walk away.

**Stay tuned! More images to come after the ones for publishing are chosen!**

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