Life hasn’t been easy lately. I’ve recently moved to a new home in a new state, had a major shift with work, and celebrated my 45th birthday, which made me start realizing that my dream of having a family and children just may not be in the cards. While I know I still have so much to be grateful for, this new reality hit me. As someone who has spent her life living in the shadow of depression and helping others find hope, I understand that lots of life changes bring a risk for a new episode so it is a critical time for strength, health, and grounding.
So when I was invited to spend a morning observing coach Anna Mott and Alo Horses, a company that partners with horses as spiritual guides to assist humans in finding greater inner peace for a harmonious life, I knew I had to attend.
As someone who was raised on a farm in Wisconsin, I’ve always felt a sense of freedom on a horse and been amazed by their incredible spirit. Growing up, I felt like my horse could sense when my energy was depleted or emotions were especially intense. It was like she knew when I just needed to gallop through the fields and allow my mind to be free from the chatter of negative thoughts. And on those days I was feeling extra spirited and grounded, she would challenge me by acting out, almost encouraging me to take charge with vitality and strength.
That is why I find equine therapy so intriguing, and why when I met coach Anna, a certified practitioner of the Equine Gestalt Coaching Method® and founder of Alo Horses, I had no idea what to expect.
The Saturday morning session started with everyone in a circle, speaking about our intention for the day while picking a horse card from the Touched By a Horse card deck. My intention was to get grounded and clarity on my next moves – both for a home, partner, and new business ventures – so I appropriately picked the Energy card. It spoke of my intense current energy, the need to keep it in a positive flow state, and to trust in the divine for guidance.
Some of us then role played, talking about childhood wounds, while others entered the horse corral. But instead of riding the horse, we interacted. Each person went into the circle for her own experience with the horse. And it was never the same from person to person. The horse’s ability to determine exactly what the individual needed at that time was unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed.
For my turn, I walked to the center of the corral and stood still, remembering my intention of finding energy, clarity and power. I allowed the horse to come to me, if she chose. I’d already felt a strong energetic connection to the beautiful mare – there was this almost half tame, half wild energy that matched what I often feel in my own spirit. So I stood in that circle and focused on my feelings of awe for her, and asked for her support.
As I stood there she came right up to me – strong, powerful, and beautiful – and looked me right in the eyes. She held the stance, almost encouraging me to sit a little taller, stronger and prouder. I felt my energy getting mightier in the face of this magnificent beauty.
And then she very slowly walked towards and past me, allowing me to stroke my hand down her side while she gently pushed against me, as if encouraging me to ground myself in strength. She stopped walking when her rear was against me and then moved slightly so that my body was directly behind her, as she pushed on me a little harder.
At first I stepped away a little, as horses have the strongest legs in the world and being right behind them is a vulnerable place to be. Coach Anna let me know the horse was giving me Root Chakra healing and grounding energy. The Chopra Center talks about the Root Chakra being the base of safety and security, a grounding place where you lay the foundation for health and prosperity.
This literally blew my mind. Root Chakra healing energy? And from a horse? But instead of fearing it, I needed to trust the universe and embrace it. So I stepped up to her backside, first tentatively, but then draping my arms across her backside, leaning against her while she pushed against me. I thought I might fall over from the pressure, but amazingly I didn’t. We stood there together for a few minutes and I could literally feel her power and grounding enter my core. My feeling of vulnerability fell away and was replaced by an intense gratitude for this magnificent creature that knew just what I needed and selflessly gave it to me.
I spent about 15 minutes there with her circling me, touching me and walking away. It was such a beautiful dance, and one that I can take with me and use for healing and energy down the road whenever I start feeling uncentered, lost, or weak again.
To say I am grateful for the experience is not adequate. I’m sold. I’m in awe. I’m beyond grateful and hope anyone who lives with depression, anxiety, fear, or just needs some grounding or clarity in their life might get to experience these incredible, powerful and beautiful animals. They have so much wisdom to share. I
And if you don’t like to ride horses, or are allergic to them, it is so important to find another way to gain energy, clarity or power. To seek Root Chakra. Maybe try yoga or meditation. These transformative experiences are what help us remain hopeful and steady in a world that is ever changing and uncertain.
Have you ever worked with horses? I’d love to hear about your experience. Thanks for letting me continue to share my stories of hope.