This particular session was a blistery one, as often is the case at that time of the year, lots of wind blowing through the farm. The animals are all very resigned and accepting of the wind, sheltering themselves when they choose and eating when they choose. I am bundled and hoping to be heard behind my scarf, but I remind myself that I may not need to say much just to be present and noticing as well.
So we are ready for our outdoor day and head to the paddock where the herd of five horses, a mini, a donkey and a goat are munching happily. We spend time at the gate to ground and get a clear intention. There was no particular horse that he felt drawn to so he was open to spending time amongst the herd. My encouragement was to notice and follow any impulses to move once he went through the gate to their paddock.
I followed quietly as he moved around the field. He playfully got curious about how one of the herd would react to a snowball being tossed their way. He took action and watched and deciphered the body language of the horse. With my few questions of what’s that like to see, what you notice about the other horses, and within yourself.
The story continued and he eventually moved to a story about his father and fathering in general and how dominant his father was. As we kept a wide view with our eyes, the largest male herd leader made his way over to us and began to move us and push us with his presence and his head. He certainly was comic relief, but I pointed out that as his story changed the “father figure” of the herd, the protector became engaged in our circle.
The telling of these stories was significant because they used his quieted voice, they spoke of memories, some happy some sad, that he had not recalled for many years. The several tours in war zones had overlaid much of his previous history and he had not visited the memories in decades.
At this point we moved out of the wind to finish our time with the herd and thank them for the opportunity to hang out. What an amazing experience of having no agenda, no attachment to the outcome but such a rich and meaningful experience amongst the herd family.
For my client, his comment was that the horses and the farm gave him access to memories that came flooding back to him. He was able to expand and access parts that he had missed for many years. That reminder in itself allowed for a little more room and capacity to have some normality and health.
We continue to process that session in our indoor days and reference all of the teaching that came from it. How blessed we are that horses are so generous and patient with their teaching especially if we allow them to.