Saturday, October 29, 2011

Healing Horses

When I was little I rode horses all the time. I became completely addicted to them and every time my parents and I went on a drive they would always shout out, "Horse!” when they saw a farm and I went on a trail ride every time we traveled. Horses are so powerful, strong and magical. I was never afraid of them until one time, due to an unfortunate set of circumstances, I was thrown off. I was bedridden and in the worst pain I had ever been in due to a back injury, I even had to drop college classes because of it. The one thing I loved so much, had hurt me and I became afraid and it was heartbreaking. They became scary and unpredictable and my childlike wonder completely vanished and a harsh reality of these beautiful animals set in, that working with them could harm me. Then in 2008 when I was working on my BA in psychology we had several personal topics come up and I recall talking about how much I missed horses. My instructor encouraged me to face my fears and find again what my soul used to enjoy. So I did. I found a barn and started taking lessons. But my fear was still there; it even got to the point that I would have panic attacks and such extreme anxiety I could not even physically get on the horse. But I continued to push through, knowing that the fear I felt was a small price to pay for the joy and extreme exhilaration I felt after working with a horse. In 2009 I decided I wanted my own horse and I got Tango.  I loved him and the two of us got along perfectly, but then out of nowhere my anxiety, fear and panic attacks came back and for a while even just being near a horse would give me a panic attack. I couldn't ride him any longer. But I didn't give up. I started taking natural horsemanship lessons and working on groundwork and taking more lessons and this year I can finally walk, trot, lope on a horse without having a panic attack! I did my senior project in school on Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and spoke about the healing power of horses as facilitators into our own insight and healing process and I have experienced first hand. Being a survivor of sexual assault it was so emotionally healing to know that I could control a 1200 pound animal, that I could tell him what to do and he would listen, that I too was powerful, could be the alpha and be strong and confident. When I work with horses I walk away feeling as if I could do anything in the world and being able to experience that feeling after feeling completely powerless during an assault has been incredibly healing and I highly recommend survivors to look into therapeutic horse centers. Contact me if you have any questions and I would be happy to help!

1 comment:

Claudia said...

Aww! My parents would do that too. You never told me these little things. I'm learning.

"Horse!" XD