I had the pleasure of attending an Equus Coaching workshop this past weekend. It was both fascinating to witness and personally informative to participate in. In essence, the horse is a mirror for your integrity.
If you’re not familiar with Equus Coaching, it involves utilizing your personal energy to invite, send and guide a horse around a pen. Think non-verbal horse whispering.
Horses, by nature, are extremely sensitive creatures. They pick up on every subtlety and will respond accordingly in an instant. If you’re nervous, they are and will bite on the fence or paw at the ground warily. Alternately, if you’re relaxed, they might roll around in the dirt or yawn.
There is no faking it with a horse. Despite what your outside may portray, he is reading everything your inside is doing. If these aren’t congruent, the horse doesn’t trust you. After all, it’s about survival of the herd.
As one of our instructors, Jennifer Johnson, said, “If you aren’t present and [your mind isn’t] in your body, how can they expect you to serve the good of the herd? How can you alert them to a predator?”
If you are scared and acknowledge that with honesty and awareness, without pushing it away or disassociating, the horse will trust and connect with you. Your outside matches your inside.
Going into this experience, I had an expectation that the hardest part would be convincing my horse, Smokey, that I was a leader and to follow me around the pen. I took horseback riding lessons as a child and genuinely love the species, so thankfully this part came easily. I was pleasantly surprised at how natural it was to invite Smokey to walk with me.
When it came time to shape my energy to guide Smokey around the perimeter by simply standing in the middle and shepherding him with my energy, I managed to do so. Where I became stuck was in getting him to increase his speed by adjusting my energy-volume.
Jennifer asked, “What are you feeling right now?”
“Excited and elated,” I said. “My heart is all tingly and swirly.”
“It doesn’t look like that from here,” she responded. “What is your behavior?”
“Calm and grounded,” I replied.
“So why aren’t you acting more excited?” she said.
“I don’t want to spook him,” I said.
“Where does that reflect in your life?” she asked.
Insight struck. “Marketing my coaching practice,” I said.
I have had a limiting belief that if I am too open with how much I love coaching, how beautifully amazing the coaching tools are for self-healing, and am not presenting a calm, cool and collected exterior that I’ll spook potential clients…or even my current clients, for that matter.
This is my new commitment to you: I will not hide my light and enthusiasm for coaching and life. If it’s “too much” for you, I accept that you are not my tribe and I wish you well on your journey. Namaste!
Photo Credit: Elicia Nicoll