A year ago, if you had told me that a trio of horses would change my entire outlook on life, I most likely would have looked at you with quizzical eyes, which I would have proceeded to roll and added, “Yeah, right!”
But last Spring, a group of three horses actually DID manage to change my whole outlook on life. This is how it went…
I am a psychotherapist, and in order to maintain my license I must complete a certain number of CEUs (Continuing Education Units) every year. This year, I decided to collect my hours by doing something out of the ordinary. I signed up for a three-day workshop on Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. So that is how I happened to take a plane to Colorado one Wednesday evening in early May, following my day of work.
It was sunny and comfortable in L.A. when I left. I was wearing a pair of paddock boots, jeans, a t-shirt and a fleece sweatshirt. I had packed a raincoat just to be safe. I arrived in Denver at 9:30 pm, smack in the middle of a snowstorm!! It was 30 degrees and the visibility was terrible. I rented a compact car and in the middle of the night, drove an hour to a little hotel near the training site. I checked in, got my key and carefully entered my room.
I had planned to share a room with two other training attendees I’d never met. They were asleep. I quietly put my suitcase down, undressed and settled into bed, exhausted from the stressful drive. Boy, did I feel proud! Look at me, I’d travelled all this way, in a storm, going to sleep next to people I don’t even know, and I’m not even scared or anxious! What a tough chick I am!!!
The next morning, I awoke to meet Susan, an Equine Specialist, and Sheri, a psychotherapist. We had an instant connection, the kind where you wonder if you had met this person before, maybe in a previous life?
We proceeded to the training. It was a cold, cold day. There were about forty of us in a big covered riding arena, sitting on little plastic chairs and covered with extra blankets. The ranch was gorgeous, but it was freezing cold! In attendance were three horses roaming about.
We proceeded with the general introductions and I, of course, was the first to stand and share with all those in attendance that I was hard of hearing and that I needed them to look at me when they spoke and raise their hand so that I could see who was speaking. Deaf Assertiveness 101. For sure, that earned me the love of the entire audience… NOT! This room was nearly all psychotherapists, but soon enough, my roommates began hearing snide comments such as, “Well, I’d like to sit at the front, too!” ...Read more →