I have had a beautiful dirty palomino paint mare for about one year. I bought her when she was lame with high hopes that someday she would be balanced and sound enough to be a nice riding horse. Diva is her name and she is a broodmare. Having babies is what she has always been good at. She is flashy, gorgeous and very level headed.
I went against my riding instructor’s advisement when I purchased Diva. Later I questioned if it was really intuition that guided me through the purchase or a very strong ego-based agenda to have what I wanted with her.
The very first lesson Diva offered me was that “what I saw in her was what I was going to get.” Immediately after getting her I went to work on all of the ways I could help her. Whenever I was with her I saw her with a critical eye and noticed all the things I could improve about her. In addition, my thoughts were based in worry and doubts if I did not see the results I wanted, in the timely manner in which I wanted them. Shortly after, her condition declined. Then I clearly got a message from her: “See me as sound and I will be sound.”
From that day on I would only think positive supportive things about her condition and would only see her in the potential of her healing. I stopped pointing out what was not working. I never lied or said what was not true, but I would recognize the smallest of improvements such as a lengthening in her stride, brighter eyes, or more movement and flow in her shoulders. I needed to learn to be on her time line and to recognize that the process might take a little longer than my ego based time line. I had to release my attachments and take responsibility for what I was putting into our “relationship space” through my thoughts and voice. As I did she, of course, became sound and ready to ride in just a few short months.
I rode her mainly in the arena through the fall and found such joy in her lightness, responsiveness and willingness to listen. Then winter came along and my international travels to teach the EFLC work began. Diva had the winter off.
Now it is spring in the Rockies and my favorite time of the year. The foothills are green and the moist gullies and crevasses along the hillsides are popping with yellow, white and purple flowers. Birds are chirping, the sun is warm and the air is cool from the snow that remains on the mountain peaks. I loaded Diva in the trailer and took her to a nearby trailhead that offers sloping hills, some rocky single track in the pines, and open meadows. It was the first trail ride for Diva and she was a rock star.
Through the years I have often been asked if EFLC horses should be ridden, and if horses should be ridden at all. What I know to be true about horses is that every horse has different desires, every horse has a different body and level of fitness, every horse may feel more comfortable at one activity or life experience than another. We, as their companions, must learn how to see what brings them joy and fulfills their spirit.
My horses work hard in the EFLC programs. The physical requirement of a trail ride is a healthy balance to the emotional support they offer in the EFLC sessions. Horses are designed to move around.
I have yet to experience a horse that does not enjoy a nice walk in the woods, stretching their legs, seeing new territory, smelling the low branches of pine trees, and sneaking a blade of grass here and there. Diva has a solid mind and calming presence. New environments stimulate her mind and senses. Her confidence is raised each time we go on an adventure. As long as she is sound and healthy these trail rides expand her life and awareness.
Horses honor us by carrying us on their backs. We can honor them by offering them a variety of new experiences and see what fulfills their spirit. We must be able to see this through complete neutrality and curiosity. To ride or not to ride. . . in my humble opinion, that is a conversation between you and your horse.
It was a crisp slightly windy day as I drove into the Ap’ljac ranch. My heart was pounding in great anticipation to become more within the heart of the horse. The horses were calm but interested as I headed toward the meeting space for Kathy Pike’s “The Dance of Authenticity through the Wisdom of the Horse.” I was the first one to arrive on this day that would change my life as I knew it.
While walking past one horse in particular, a bay mare of Arabian decent, my heart switched rhythm. I felt a connection as I briefly made contact with her soft brown eyes.
When it came time to observe the herd, this same mare reached inside me and put a string of lights around my heart. I walked away to observe the other horses only to find my mind solely on her alluring aura.
In meeting Kathy Pike I felt we had a connection somewhat similar to the bay mare and I. Kathy showed such a pure and understanding soul, it was a very comfortable feeling. The spiritual connection within all of us was brought together with such a compassion through Kathy’s expertise.
Each exercise we experienced brought me to a closer understanding of the profound possibilities with Horse. My inner self could not get enough of it, as I listen to my heart pounding with acceptance of the learning.
I chose to do the dance with the bay mare, called Peek-a-Boo, for my session. My heart raced, my chest felt tight as my knees felt weak. She was feeling my energy as she came walking down the path toward me. Our eyes met as both were bursting with excitement. As Peak-a-Boo was released in the round pen she snorted, kicked up her heals and pranced around, all the time I felt her energy race within me. As I entered her space I felt the need to let her lead this dance, so I walked to the center of the pen.
Peek-a-Boo made the first move and we greeted each other through the essence of our souls. Let the dance begin! I felt as though I was her and she were me, as we meshed into one. Our dance was creative and my heart was once again in rhythm with hers. Although it felt as if I were moving in slow motion, my inner soul was two feet off the ground dancing with Peek-a-Boo’s inner music. It was like we had done this dance in a previous time. My mind told my hands to paint this picture with my fingers. I felt every cell of her being as my fingers connected with her flesh and fur, we painted a master piece in that dance while I came into my authenticity.
The word congruency brought on a whole new meaning that day when Peek-a-Boo and I danced in harmony. My life has taken on a whole new meaning from that workshop and the incredible work of Kathy Pike and a horse called Peek-a-Boo.
I shall be forever grateful!
Brandy Murry ~ onewithmanyhorses
The start of 2013 has taken me across the world to Australia to experience their summer, then down to south Texas to experience the spring with blue bonnets and Longhorn cattle. Both adventures were rich with creating connections with the horses, the land, and all of earth’s creatures.
Coaching with Horses is growing in recognition throughout the world. It is exciting to see how many people are searching for a deeper understanding of how to honor Horse as teacher, mentor, and guide. The more I travel the more I understand the importance of getting the mind body philosophies I teach in conjunction with Horse to as many people as possible.
To accommodate that need, we are currently in the process of revamping our programs slightly. A team of well-qualified graduates and advanced instructors are now supporting the EFLC training programs. Every program will have double the staff that it has had in previous years. This will provide more time with the horses and a richer more diverse experience for the student.
In addition to this change, we are recognizing that travel has become more expensive and often less enjoyable than previous years. To help reduce our student expenses we are now reshaping our yearlong training program from four levels of on-site training to three levels of on-site training. The training program retains the same amount of teaching days but offers a more intensive format.
The Dance of Authenticity through the Wisdom of the Horse continues to be a prerequisite to the yearlong EFLC Apprenticeship program. However, it is now three days in length to provide the student with their own deep learning and experience with Horse. The EFLC Level One program then follows it.
The EFLC Level One will still be open to those who wish to experience some of the tools that we teach and enhance their already existing equine learning programs.
We have expanded our lodging list to include several local individuals who are offering private rooms in their homes to our students. And, as always we are happy to connect students to each other so they may share accommodations or car rentals.
Last winter I bought a new facility and home for me and my herd. The programs in Colorado will be held at this new location in Berthoud, Colorado (just minutes away from the previous center), unless weather does not permit. In those cases our secondary location is just a few miles away. The new facility is intimate and quiet with lots of trees and shade. The horses seem very content here as the herd lives very close together and, for the most part, Corazon and Moon are living with the girls.
The next EFLC Apprenticeship Program (VIII) is now open to registrants. We have limited space for this program. The dates are:
Approved EFLC Facilitator Training Dates
- Dance of Authenticity workshop with the EFLC Level One training segment following after (pick one):
September 12 – 20, 2013, (September 15th is a day off) Berthoud, Colorado
November 7 – 15, 2013, (November 10th is a day off) Brenham, Texas
March 20 – 28, 2014, (March 23rd is a day off) Brenham, Texas
- EFLC Level Two: June 19 – 26, 2014, Berthoud, Colorado
- EFLC Level Three: September 22 – 29, 2014, Berthoud, Colorado
Each year I evaluate the EFLC Apprenticeship program to see how it might be improved and also what has been achieved. I hope you find these changes more suited to your travel and planning needs.
We have accomplished a lot this year. I am thrilled that the International Coach Federation recognizes both our Level One and Level Two programs for continuing education credits. The graduating class of 2012 was a potent group of women who are all now taking the work out into the world. A return trip to Australia is in the works. The Ap’ljac Farms ranch in Texas was truly an amazing facility and I will continue to return there throughout 2014.
However, the biggest accomplishment for me this year is the community of equine “sisters” that keeps growing stronger and stronger world-wide. I feel truly blessed to have so many dedicated horse women on a spiritual path helping to support bringing this work to the world. Thank you Jane Reid, Cynthia Raman, Rita Bledsoe, Lynette Dominguez, Janis Cooper, Shannon Henshaw, Liz Markusfeld, Cheryl Cruttenden, Meredith Tropley and many more graduates who are sharing the wisdom of horse world-wide.
Many Blessings and we hope to see you soon.
Moon, Cor, Diva, Dizzy and Inkie
To register for these, or other programs with Kathy Pike, visit our Calendar Page.
There is a buzz here. It is constant, from the slow rise of the sun to the moment it sinks below the flat wavy hot line of the late day horizon. Not intrusive, yet impossible to ignore, the hum of the cicada rises loudly and falls in waves of silence as the cockatoos, cocoberry and rosella parrots spring forth in their song of vigor and charm, dancing magic through my ears and my senses.
There is aliveness in the air and everything simultaneously orchestrates a deep shift within me. These primal sounds in the hot Australia summer have, oddly enough, pulled me back to my days of high adventure, running rivers, backpacking, and climbing mountains in the great Rocky Mountains. Not because there is a commonality in the rhythm or the texture of the land, plants and animals, but because of the stirring in my soul and my heart for more time to commune with mother earth and the animals as I did in my earlier adulthood. This special place, named Banyandah (home on the water) by it’s steward Jane Reid, urges me to live more deeply in harmony, balance and creativity, and to have some fun.
We have four days between our programs here. Jane’s herd of horses stepped into the Dance of Authenticity program with confidence and generosity. As always, I feel deeply blessed to be facilitating the rising of consciousness through horses and to share the moments of stillness and venture beyond this physical world into a ‘oneness’ that expands the breath and heart.
Now, there is time for my own journey. In the morning, after I rub on the horse’s withers, drop down the hill and enter the forest of eucalyptus and poa grass, pass by the resting cows, touch on the grandfather matrix tree, and then reach the river, I sit. I breathe. I trace the sensations in my body and the world around me continues to sing, the river flows and the fish are jumping. And as I sit, the tears come. Just slowly and gently, falling to the river as I am perched on a fallen log. They are not tears of sorrow, or grief, or even of sadness. They are tears of invitation, an invitation to drop back into a deeper part of myself and to remember with what gives me balance, where my rhythm might lie.
This expansive Australian ecosystem continues its ensemble of vibrational mastery bringing aliveness to my being. The song is always there, oblivious to its audience, and my heart applauds in silence. I don’t believe I have listened so deeply or intently for a very long time. Not seeking meaning or significance, nor trying to capture something to hold forever, dancing through my senses this Australian land speaks to me of presence and oneness. I feel myself surrender.