Once during a cold northern winter, I headed south to teach with horses in Tucson, Arizona. The day was perfect to be playing with horses, not too hot or too cold, and there was no wind.
During this personal development program I was able to work with Evelyn, a therapist from North Carolina that was soft-spoken and often sat with her eyes gazing downward, avoiding visual contact with others in the group. This kind and sensitive soul was preparing to work with a substantial Belgian horse by the name of Rawhide.
Rawhide, only five years old at the time, was at least sixteen hands high and still growing. His hooves were the size of large dinner plates. Despite his size, he looked like an oversized, gentle teddy bear. Evelyn, just like all of us, just wanted to hug him. She immediately fell in love with him and was excited at the possibility of working with him.
We had spent the morning talking about all the nuances of boundaries. As a therapist Evelyn claimed that she had done her boundary work but once she was in the round pen with Rawhide, everything changed. As you are already sensing, the session did indeed become about setting boundaries. Specifically in Rawhide’s case, the work was about physical boundaries.
We worked through Evelyn’s comfort level with Rawhide’s close proximity to her. Her attempts to establish physical boundaries, such as applying pressure to Rawhide’s chest or taking steps back away from him, weren’t successful. Over the course of that session I was able to coach Evelyn through having more intention in the action she was taking and to look back behind him instead of gazing at her own feet.
She tried and failed.
But we persisted.
And what ensued was a thrilling session in which I brought energy that ultimately lead Evelyn from feeling as though she did not have the right to have her own space to declaring with a stronger body and deepened voice, “I have the right to have my own space,” which literally stopped Rawhide in his tracks.
Between you and me, sessions like this thrill me. I love allowing my coaching to get enough fire behind it to support a person in setting their space. What I love the most about it is that the person always has to access a suppressed part of their personality and reserves of strength to do so.
Evelyn was no different.
I’ve been blessed with the ability to witness these transformations, seeing the exact moment when the flip switches. I’ve dedicated my work to working with individuals just like you to access these parts of themselves that dwell deep down inside of them,
What part of your being aren’t you accessing? What lives within you that needs to be brought up to the surface to bring a new level of depth, strength, or leadership to your work? Your life?
Coaching with Horses is born to make this possible for you wherever you are in the world with the Level One Program.
For the full “Boundaries with a Big Belgian Boy” story, purchase a copy of my book Life Lessons from the Heart of Horses.