After a winter with lots of cold spells but (thankfully) no major blizzards, it feels like Spring is finally on its way. How do I know? There is lots of winter horse hair to be shed out, and hair clinging to everything. Puddles starting to form in the paddocks, which means lots of ditching to make the water flow. We saw our first Canada Goose on Sunday.
Throughout the winter, a few brave souls came out to work with my horses. We picked sunny days and it was actually very lovely to be outside in the sunshine with a warm furry horse. I also had cozy blankets and hot tea in the barn, so it was very do-able to have sessions in the winter.
I was also very busy with my Somatic Experiencing Practitioner studies. I have now completed the requirements for my Intermediate year and will begin the Advanced year in-person sessions in Kelowna in April. The last training session will be in November and as soon as I have all my personal and consult session requirements done, I will officially be a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner. This learning has been so valuable in my work with the horses, as I am gaining deeper and deeper abilities to witness and facilitate more nuanced expressions of emotions, coping or management strategies, or trauma patterns in clients. I have also used the SE principles with my traumatized horse, Diva, and am now riding and training her. She is exhibiting no more signs of the trauma she showed when I first got her and I believe that we have actually released the stuck trauma energy from her body. Diva is proving to be very trainable and I am looking forward to a great summer of training and riding with her, hopefully even out on some trails.
I have also embarked on a year-long study program with Matt Licata, psychotherapist, spiritual teacher and author. He understands the journey of human development very much as a spiritual path, which fits with my own experience and my Master’s program learning. What I learn through my own spiritual journey and trauma recovery work I can then bring into sessions with clients in an embodied way, to actually ‘walk the talk’ of accessing the difficult emotions that are stored in our bodies, in a safe and titrated way.
Based on the success of the Heart’s Wisdom weekend workshop last year, I will be offering that workshop again this summer. I have tweeked a few things to make the workshop even better, based on feedback from last year’s participants. Everyone had very positive comments, such as:
“Thank you, Barb, thanks for sharing your beautiful property and most important your amazing horses. I’m grateful for the energy connections experienced this weekend.”
“You’re incredibly skilled facilitators who hold space very well, with micro/macro, depth/breadth, acute/broad. Thank you for the unreserved welcome – a first for me to experience in a workshop like this.”
“Very valuable work in terms of breathing and taking the time to sense your feeling prior to the emergence of an emotion. For me, I’ve thought more of showing the animal/person a respect of their physical and emotional space. Loved ‘Becoming a Horse’!”
I was so fortunate last year to have my colleagues Gail Boone and Sarah Barnes join me for the workshop as the facilitators while I was the horse handler. We created this workshop together so that we would each be able to offer it in our home areas. This year I will be facilitating the workshop myself and will have someone else to be the horse handler. We have reserved two weekends to host the workshops – either June 17-18, or July 15-16. Space is limited to 4 participants per workshop to allow sufficient time for the horse experiences, so if this sounds interesting to you, contact me to reserve your space! See the poster below for more information.
I also have available the ‘What Happened to You?’ workshop, based on the book by that name written by Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Bruce Perry. Meant to be delivered in four weekly sessions as a book-club experience, we discuss major points that Dr. Perry makes about how childhood experiences form who we become as adults. This would be followed by a session with a horse each week that would allow each person to experience the principles that Dr. Perry writes about, giving the opportunity for embodied learning and, ultimately, a path to choose new ways of coping and working through experiences that may have been overwhelming for a child. This could be done individually, or in groups of up to four.
As always, individual sessions are available, for those who want to explore a specific question or issue in the company of a horse.