A little more than two decades ago, I moved to Marin with my horse and began to develop what I thought was a unique technique for personal growth, with the horse as the vehicle for change. One day a friend told me that an internet search brought up Eagala, the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association, the global leader in the field. I promptly joined and attended my first “Untraining.”
Untraining means learning to think outside the box, letting go of the rules about how to work with horses and about how to practice psychotherapy. I was first untrained 17 years ago, but it is my lifelong practice to unlearn, to soften my gaze, to view the world holistically, and to allow the horses to lead ME and the people we help into depths of authenticity and clarity none of us could have imagined were possible.
We have rescued all of our Heart and Mind Equine horses, healing their hearts, minds, and bodies. Many have come from abominable situations that were the subjects of national news stories, and some from lots of and lots of smaller traumas, being forced to exist in small boxes, literally or figuratively, to fit into the world of some human or other.
These horses are often the more highly sensitive ones with big personalities who don’t “behave” in expected ways. They are the thrown away horses who are at times whipped, spurred, jerked on with harsh bits, or sold over and over again because they won’t subvert their personalities and become the docile mounts they are expected to be.
Many of these very sensitive square peg horses comprise our Heart and Mind Equine herd. The rescued horses and our clients travel parallel paths of growth and recovery. The healing journey changes us all, human and horse, as we untrain ourselves and each other.