Less is More
In my last post I began the story of Inga and Alhandro. Inga is an experienced horse person. But for people inexperienced or fearful of horses, I would normally take time to familiarise them with horse behaviour and safety guidelines. I always work with horses who are happy, healthy, curious, and free to express themselves. They are sensitive and curious relational beings. They read our body language, our emotions and our thoughts and when free to do so will engage with people in a way that feels safe and right for them. This is the uniqueness and power of equine assisted learning .
It is a relational way of learning, meaning you learn through being in a relationship with another and noticing “ how am I experienced right now in this moment by the horse and how does that inform me? What thoughts, feelings arise for me when we connect?”
Inga spent around 15 minutes in silence with Alhandro. (Each session is different. Sometimes I will share my observations or ask questions during a session and other times the horse will be the communicator).
Inga told me that when she first walked up to Alhandro, he moved away from her, and she felt deep sadness at that. Without the need to understand the sadness, I encouraged her to just stay with it and let it come out. She said it felt safe and supportive in the presence of Alhandro to let the sadness come out, as he was solid and calm and a supportive companion.
Horses do not judge, they do not expect anything from you and they respond to you in a way that will show you exactly what is true in the at moment. What creates stress in horses is when emotions stay hidden… because they are ‘prey animals’, they have a primitive instinct to read these ‘hidden emotions’ as something being not quite right, and they will be tense and on edge (is there a wolf around I don’t know about???). Alhandro was calm and confident in Inga’s presence because she was authentic and open with her feelings.
I reminded her of her initial goal for our session - to find more balance and do more with her children and asked her what did she learn? The actual lesson Inga said she received from Alhandro was ‘less is more’. Just being with him, she felt she received love and acceptance and she also felt that he experienced that from her -- without asking anything more from each other. I asked her how she could apply this to her life? She said she realised that doing more with her family was not what she really wanted, what she wanted was to be more present and less distracted when she was with them.