Equine Gestalt Coaching – Learning by Doing and Undoing
Horses, by nature, must be aware at all times and recognize signs of danger or environments of relative safety. Their well-being relies upon instantly interpreting what is happening around them and reacting appropriately to protect themselves and other members of the herd. A horse’s ability to sense the energy of their environment and quickly adjust their behavior, is critical to their survival.
This unique horse trait has evolved over centuries in tandem with the horse-human relationship, enabling horses to provide feedback of interactions, emotions and moods of the people around them – as they would members of their herd. This forms the foundation of my equine-based Gestalt Coaching.
To put it simply – we can’t fool a horse – they immediately sense our feelings, regardless of the approach we take toward them. We may attempt to portray confident, calm leadership when in their presence; however, they will instinctually recognize any conflict between our inner feelings and what we present to them. Horses have an incredible ability to facilitate a reconnection between our authentic self and what we present to the world.
Discussion of the actions and reactions between human and horse naturally lends itself to self-reflection and exploration. Negative experiences and traumatic events often fill us with problematic stories about who we are. Topics that may arise include healthy relationships, setting personal boundaries, self-esteem, depression, grief and loss. Our experiences with horses lend themselves to reflecting on what’s happened before, to create new possibilities for the future therefore allowing us to move freely forward. For this type of experiential learning to be a success, it will require a willingness to open your heart to an equine friend. Equine Gestalt coaching employs the whole learning wheel including, goal setting, experimenting with new ways of thinking and action planning. It allows one to learn new skills, new attitudes and even an entirely new way of thinking.