Healing horses heals humans
Healing is a process and an unraveling, not a destination. Healing can take many forms. It can be in relationships or inside one individual. Healing can take place on a physical, emotional, chemical, mental, or spiritual level. It can be for ourselves and our loved ones, both humans and non-humans. It can be for systems, such as oceans, or even politics, which we so desperately need. It can take years or it can happen in an instant. And sometimes, healing one system has a surprisingly positive effect on another system.
The majority of horses who have come into my care need significant healing. The first step when meeting a new horse is determining what is working for them and what isn’t. Since each horse is an individual and needs individual consideration, there is no blanket cure-all.
That said, a healthy being exists in a healthy environment so the first place I look is the horse’s environment. As a general rule, the five things horses truly need are:
- Fresh clean water
- Food, mostly roughage such as hay or grass and dental care so they can chew properly
- Friends in the form of a herd
- Freedom to roam and healthy hooves
- Shelter or safe space they can find protection from extreme weather
If all five needs are met, most horses are doing pretty well. I have noticed, the closer a horse is kept to a natural environment, the better. What do horses want? Horses want to feel relaxed and safe. They want to feel healthy, strong, and free of pain. They want to have room to move, play and interact on an interesting property, full of hills and flats, trees and open areas, copious amounts of grass with a stimulating and supportive social structure in their herd. They also benefit from having positive relationships with humans who support their mental and physical wellbeing.
The wisdom from the horses has also brought about my own deep personal healing. By investigating old patterns of behavior, by uncovering old wounds and creating new habits, healing has occurred mentally, physically, and spiritually. When a person delves into healing horses, observes their traumas, and considers why these things have happened, they develop new ways of interacting that are more beneficial. As one creates this new picture, they also heal in the process as they rethink patterns of behavior and make necessary adjustments.
When I tune into what horses need, 9 times out of 10, it’s also what we need. We all need air, water, sleep, food, shelter, connection to someone or something outside of ourselves, and creative self-expression. If my ultimate mission is for them to live happy healthy lives, then that is the same for myself.
They, too, have experienced trauma, losses, illnesses, and injuries, both chronic and acute, mental and physical, very similar to us. When we are able to bring awareness to an issue, there is an opening for the healing to begin. We are then required to learn more, seek assistance if needed, and find a solution on their behalf. And in the process, we become more knowledgeable and compassionate.
By providing a safe place for horses to learn, grow, and be themselves, we are also providing ourselves with the environment we need for our healing to take place. I call this process of healing horses and healing ourselves "The Horse Human Soul Journey." Just as our horses can be challenged, we, too, can be challenged. A common theme I've witnessed is a form of disempowerment such as a lack of confidence in our ability or a feeling like we're not enough. We can struggle with any number of false beliefs we've held onto for a long time. Or we can be fearful of a move towards a life we've only dreamed about but weren't able to manifest before the horses gave us the strength.
For those courageous people who are willing to embark on such a journey, to stand for their horse no matter what without asking for anything in return, to be open to trying new things and to take the time that is needed to allow for the natural unfolding, this process can completely alter the trajectory of their lives towards the positive.
When one's focus is total support of the horse and his or her wellbeing, the relationship strengthens, and whatever needs to cleanse and heal usually does. It may not look like the outcome you imagined at the start. Many new ideas may be born and old ones fade away. However, I have seen over and over again with my clients as they support their horses to heal, their life transforms and improves in perfect unison with their horse.