I spent the most amazing afternoon with these three beautiful horses in an equine-assisted psychotherapy session.
Jennifer Drabowicz and Shilo Satran have an equine-assisted psychotherapy practice in Moscow, Tennessee; and Jennifer’s three horses, Sam, Red, and Blaze, were powerful mirrors for me when we were in session together.
We began our session with a little “get to know you” time. I walked around the arena with the horses, and we spent a few minutes getting to know each other. Next, Shilo and Jennifer asked me what I wanted to work on. When my intention was set, the session began. (and Boris decided I needed some Cat Medicine in my session)
EAP is not structured like a normal therapy session; it is freeform in style, but this approach is a powerful catalyst for bringing up emotions. Horses can interact directly with the participant, or they can simply “display normal horse behavior”, and the participant can receive insightful messages. This was very true for me as I interacted with the horses, and I found myself thoughtfully observing their behaviors and noticing how they were beautifully acting out my inner struggles and conflicts.
Horses require us to be fully in the present moment when we are interacting with them. They are intelligent, highly sensitive animals, and they know when we are “congruent” or authentic with them. If our external presence doesn’t match our internal presence, horses will mirror that incongruence.
I experienced several powerful moments with these horses, but one moment was confusing for me until several weeks after my session. Two horses spent most of the session interacting with each other, and they were engaged in the same behavior most of the time. In the picture above, I was holding my hands together in a prayer position and watching for the message they were offering me. I had just completed an initiation experience with another horse, and I had been noticing these two “chewing at each other” the entire time. I couldn’t figure out what that meant as I tried to apply it to my process. After several weeks of integration time, the message became clear to me. I also noticed several other therapy moments click into place and make more sense.
I am very grateful to these horses, to Jennifer, to Shilo and to Mr. Boris the barn cat, for my powerful, insightful therapy session. Jennifer’s website is listed below, and she can be reached that way if you would like to schedule your own session.
Pictures by Barb Drabowicz