The Healing Herd of Touched by a Horse

Rua Prionsa

Breed: Gypsy Vanner
From Freeland’s Gypsy Horses
Sire: Lion King

Pri arrived at five months old and Freeland’s had given him a proper upbringing already. He had excellent halter manners and was a delight from day one. When he arrived he could barely see over our stall gates.  At two years old he was already a towering draft size and a farm favorite!

With his soft brown eyes he quickly formed and flirted his way to a fan base of clients who come to the farm to watch him grow. At my Equi-Spiritual evenings he loves to show off for the crowd in the round pen. He is an amazing athlete, a comedian and sucks up the applause like he was born for it.

He does beautiful client work and is nothing short of amazing. His mane is full on both sides of his neck and seems to be a sign he has a part of himself in this world and the other.

Rhiannon

Breed: Gypsy Vanner
Mare
15 years old

Rhiannon is the queen of the barn and another beautiful Gypsy Vanner. She is an amazing energy technician. Standing in the presence of Rhiannon, everything changes including your physical presence. She is nothing short of amazing. She was born in the UK and imported to the US. She came to us from Georgia.

Ella

Breed: Gypsy Vanner
Mare
10 years old

One day I received an email from the  former partner of Rhiannon, that she needed to place Ella.   Rhiannon had come to us 8 years before and I was told  that she had struggled with her last foal ( Ella) and should not be bred again. Rhiannon has been a phenom in our healing herd. 

Since Rhiannon had worked out so well here  she was inquiring if I had an interest in her daughter. YES!  Ella is a large elegant Gypsy mare with a ton of personality.  She has rapidly discovered her talents in our  EGC method and is a client fav. 

When not working as my CO Coach Ella is also my trail ride partner where she loves to explore new vistas with me. She is playful, courageous and strong and will come running through the field to her name being called.  

“QT” POCO Lena

Breed: American Paint Horse Association
Born: 2000
Sire: QT Poco Streke
Dam: BoDell Lena

I saw QT on a NRHA Auction Stage at the Oklahoma Futurity Sale when he was a yearling. Super bred to be a “reiner”, he stood proud and gorgeous with his handler looking me right in the eye. I knew he was coming home to Lil Bit North Ranch and bid on him until I bought him.

QT began his life as a stallion for our paint horse breeding program and drew a lot of attention from mare owners. His beauty was unmistakable and so we gave him a chance to live up to his breeding and become a reiner. He was shown at The APHA World Shows and also the NRHA Futurity. Although he performed well and is a consummate athlete and cow horse, he also made it clear that was not what he enjoyed doing!

He wanted to be up close and personal in my work and work daily with me. So, we gelded him so he would become safe for clients and he joined my healing team when he was 5 years old. Remaining a handful for the next few years, he taught a lot of clients about leadership.

Today he balances chakras, shows tenderness when tears are present, is very sentient and shares his wisdom and comedy with everyone. He is the “Top Dog” in our herd and very vocal about everything that happens here!

 

Gabriel

Breed: American Paint Horse Association
Gelding

Gabriel came to our barn in 2015 and was a natural at the deep process work. From his first session until today, he has lived up to his namesake, the archangel, Gabriel, with solid and clear communication.

Roulette

Breed: Gypsy Vanner
Born: 2014
Mare
Sire: Freeland’s High Stakes Blackjack

Roulette has been a great addition to our team and has been doing wonderful work with clients. Our vision for Roulette is that she will be the future brood mare in our Gypsy Vanner breeding program. She has a curious and playful personality.

Melisa’s Story of Bringing Horses Into Her Psychotherapy & Coaching Work

I have been a horsewoman since I was ten years old and have had hundreds of horses in my care throughout my life. I have partnered with horses in traditional ways, but I have also been one of the earliest pioneers in working with them to emotionally heal humans. 

I’ve owned several ranches and boarding facilities while raising horses, training them, and showing them in competition. I’ve had the unique experience of breeding and raising horses at a top level as well as trail riding all over the United States. I share all of this as a small glimpse into the depth of my traditional experience with equines.

Started in the 1980s

In the 1980s, I bought a small twenty-five-acre ranch as a summer refuge for our family to escape the desert heat of our ranch in Cave Creek, Arizona. The new ranch bordered the Coconino Forest in Flagstaff, Arizona. I escaped with our children as soon as school let out and usually hauled eight or so horses up there with us. 

I continued to see clients there and hosted retreats. One summer I began to notice that the horses were interacting on their own with my clients when they were on break between sessions. What I witnessed was that it seemed far easier for my clients to access and express deep emotions after they had been in the presence of horses. They would often self-report a profound feeling in their body while standing in the presence of the horse. The internet was not yet invented, so I could not compare notes with any therapists.

By the following summer, I began inviting my clients to join me at the barn and purposefully created Gestalt “contact” between a horse and my client. That same summer, I experimented with having the horse observe the full Gestalt sessions through a round pen fence and eventually crafted the Equine Gestalt Coaching Method® I use and teach today.

As the internet came online, I knew I was the first—and most likely only—person combining Gestalt with equines in a professional way. By the 2000s, there were a few others who had adopted the concept in their own style. 

Horses are Natural Gestaltists

They hold no judgments and live in the present moment in their daily lives. They are keenly aware and expressive of their somatic energy fields and are highly self-aware of who they are, so they show up honestly when interacting with each other or a person. They desire for humans to clean up their energy fields and not hold on to anger or emotions that are making them ill. 

Contrasted to dogs, who chum easily and do tricks for a food treat, horses are in the prey side of the predator-prey polarity. They seek authenticity and congruence to feel safe. This means that they have a keen, natural ability to reveal when they sense a person who is thinking, feeling, and intuiting their personal truth as well as someone who is lying to themselves or thinking one way and feeling another.

Horse As My Partner Coach  

Each horse has their own unique gifts and way of expressing their clairsentient awareness to the Gestalt Coach. They are keenly drawn to the authenticity of the Gestalt experiments, sensitive to the contact cycle and the authenticity required of the clients. The horses are full-on partners in the process.

This is not a system in which we anthropomorphize onto the horse, nor do they simply participate during the debriefing process after an activity, as is common in the equine-assisted healing field. In our unique method of combining the experiential nature of Gestalt and the pieces of work in the presence of the horse, they become free to express what they notice, see, and feel energetically with our clients.              

People who are unfamiliar with horses may be somewhat taken back by this concept. But for me, it is an example of how humans feel superior to animals in our abilities to think and feel. In actuality, many animals have proven that they are brilliant in their own right and often in areas we don’t understand and therefore deny. I don’t deny. My horses are brilliant in the Equine Gestalt Coaching Method work, and I am honored and very blessed that they showed themselves to me in this way over thirty years ago.

Today, I work as a human who can assist horses in expressing their healing gifts, and I honor them for the true healers they are.