“The horses help the humans to see, feel, and believe in the possibility that the old super highway way of being and responding to a familiar person, stimulus, thought or action can be replaced by a new path – much like the road less traveled. “
~ Kathleen Barry Ingram, MA BCC
HEALING WITH HORSES: Growth and Transformation through the Way of the Horse
Working with horses in the way we do is still new for many people. Do you have more questions about why horses or what to expect or how to prepare for a session with us? Check out our FAQ below. If you have a question we haven’t listed, email us or call and we’re happy to talk further.
Horses are majestic and powerful animals with a spirit that calls to many people – sometimes throughout their lives and sometimes for just a brief period. As prey and herd animals, they are highly intuitive with a unique way of working together. Horses have a finely tuned ability to see through the false masks we often unconsciously wear and into the potential within us, calling out our authenticity. They can speak to us so clearly with their large presence and subtle movements. And, as we shift in a moment, they immediately reflect our shift without judgement. Interactions with horses can be very impactful and often help us create a very clear, long-lasting memory of a positive experience which we can then use to make real change in our lives.
All of our work with the horses is done on the ground. No horse experience is necessary. We are very conscious of helping participants and the herd feel safe at all times. The horses work ‘at liberty’ which means that they choose who they work with. Your facilitator will be with you at all times to guide you and adapt to ensure your personal boundaries and needs are respected as well as the horse’s.
Because we are here to serve and we see ourselves as a growing community, we openly share the principles we work to embody in all we do. You can count on a experience that lives them:
Cultivate Authentic Connections… to self and others in all we say, do, and act.
Hold Space for All That Will Unfold, to Unfold … no matter what is going on around us, we seek to be present in each moment. We work to create a sacred safe space that honours each of our journey’s, including the horse’s.
Respect Self & Other… our unique gifts, talents, our right to choose, our bodies and our forms of intelligence and insight.
Reflect to Learn… we know that what happens between the people, horses and land is precious. We ensure everyone has the opportunity to look into what they’ve experienced, and let the learnings percolate.
Seek Potential in All Ways… no matter what challenges or curve-balls we experience or create, there is a seed of potential in everything. We seek potential to become more of who we really are.
No and Yes! There are now many different types of horse-human programs. Therapeutic Riding programs use horses in a specific context, often to help people with disabilities and challenges such as autism or mobility issues. This can be impactful work. It is not the focus of The Courage Herd. Further, the humans here are not therapists or psychologists. That’s the No part. The Yes part is that in the work we do, it’s not uncommon for people to find themselves processing feelings or experiences that have been tucked away. We are skillful at making that safe. And many horse people will tell you that every moment with a horse is good therapy for the soul.
Our horses are very skilled at helping people with things like anxiety, grief, and challenging conditions such as epilepsy. Working with The Courage Herd can be a powerful experience to help you find a path forward through these challenges. If you are working with a Psychologist or someone similar, we are adept at managing and supporting those boundaries and our different roles in supporting you. Feel safe to bring this up with us in private.
Well the first thing we mean is that the horses have choice. They are not used as tools or aids and they are free to decide among them who is best to work with you – in fact they are consistently smarter than the humans here at knowing how best to serve. We also know that they sense things that human facilitators often can’t and in this way, they guide what we work on and we trust that they are taking us in the right direction. In this case, the teacher doesn’t mean the one “in charge”. Experiential learning is about working together to learn — there is something for us all to learn through every experience. And what we each take from that is up to us.
FEEL (Facilitated Experiential Equine Learning) is truly a leading edge modality in the field of deeply connective horse-human work. However, it is not the only approach to working with horses on the ground. Since our work here is based on the FEEL approach, we suggest you check out more about FEEL to see if the approach resonates with you. Of course, not all FEEL facilitators are the same – each one brings their own unique talents, gifts and area of focus. We invite you to check us out on our social media sites, call or email and ask us questions, listen to our podcasts and read our blog to see if The Courage Herd is a good fit for you. And if we’re not, we’re also happy to help you explore the work of our colleagues.
It’s important to dress comfortable for the weather. Layers are always good – dressing appropriately for extended time outdoors will help you to really enjoy your time with the horses. We work both in the workshop, barn and outside with the horses and the land and we work with whatever weather shows up. Think of the dress code as “farm casual”!
It’s important to wear proper footwear. This is a must for safety reasons. Solid, closed toe shoes or boots are very important. We don’t allow people wearing light sneakers, sandles or flip flops to go in with the horses.
Once you’re here, we’re going to ask you to turn off your cell phone and put it away. If you need emergency contact information, we have support staff on hand who can act as a contact during your time here should you need it.
It can be helpful to set an intention for how you would like to be when you are here. Something as simple as “I want to reconnect to my own aliveness.” We’ll help you with this when you get here.
First off, we’ve had people come to the farm from all over. If you want to travel here, we can help with the arrangements.
If that’s not an option, we encourage you to join into our podcast series and social media sites. And let us know other virtual ideas you have!