A Horse as Personal Life Coach?

annetteAnnette Price, Nederland.    If you are ready to try something new, solve a personal riddle, or take up the reins of your life and drive your buggy towards a more fulfilling life, then join Sheila Ranegar and me for a workshop series being offered at Nederland Equestrian School.

As a Certified Equine Gestalt Coach, I have been studying the benefits to my clients of working with horses as coaching partners. Through the years, horses have been there for us: pulling our wagons, plowing our fields, carrying us on their backs and our soldiers into battle. I am thrilled to witness other gifts these magnificent creatures have added to their repertoire:  stress management, personal empowerment, and teaching us how to find more joy in everyday life.

With week-end retreats, or a one-on-one personal session, participants gather for a fun-filled adventure moving through exercises and experiences geared towards the needs of the individuals – assisted by an equine partner. Yes, a horse!

What does this look like? Here is a little story about a woman we’ll call Mandy, who came to us at a crossroads in her business career. She had worked long and hard to get where she was and had accomplished most of her career goals. Recently she had been offered a very interesting promotion with a satisfying jump in earnings and benefits. But this was not a decision to be made lightly especially as it meant starting over to a certain degree and relocating to another state.

In the round pen we placed two beautiful black and white horses. I asked Mandy to identify which horse would personify her “Status Quo” and which would represent “The Future.” On one side stood a very handsome Paint gelding. She told him of all of the benefits of staying in her present position: living in the home she loved, surrounded by marvelous friends, and secure in the life she had created.

On the other side of the arena stood a gorgeous Gypsy Vanner horse, long wavy mane, hair any woman would envy. To this horse, Mandy spoke of the accomplishment this new job projected. She dreamed of all the wonderful places she could finally afford to visit with such an amazing increase in salary, how she could help her mother and how wonderful that would feel.

Mandy went back and forth across the round pen as she thought of different things to tell these two horses for as long as she needed. And then I asked her to take a moment and really look at the horses and tell me what she saw.

One horse was practically asleep, neck dropped and eyes closed. I asked Mandy what this represented, or felt like, to her. “Well, I feel as if I have bored this creature to death. This is not exciting or inspiring in any way.”

The other horse was looking right at Mandy and when their eyes met, the horse turned away and took two steps. She stopped and looked back at the woman. I asked Mandy what this horse was saying to her. “She is ready to go and will leave without me if I don’t catch up. She is asking me what I am waiting for.”

“Do you want to catch up?” I asked.


Gestalt Coaching is based on the theory that every person has direct access to their own answers, but sometimes we need a little help getting out of our own way. “Equine” Gestalt is based on the theory that a lesson learned with the help of a nine hundred pound coach will be a lesson that is hard to forget.

Did we mention fun? Sure there can be tears as we shed unnecessary baggage, but there can also be spontaneous laughter and shouts of joy.

Remember—the answer to her question is Mandy’s to make. The horses had not listened to her words. They don’t care if she lives in Colorado or not. They looked into her energy field, noted her inner and possibly unconscious power, wisdom, and passion. They simply reflected back to her the energy that she projected as she verbally worked her way through her issue. She was free to do as she chose, but she now had visible tangible data to work with.

For Mandy it was a beautiful experience and she felt a strong connection with the horses even though their size had intimidated her in the beginning. She quietly shared tears with the horses as she hugged each one and thanked them for sharing their gift.

Sheila and I have wonderful horses to work/play with and three one-day retreats scheduled for you to choose from. Pick a date or come to all three, and bring a friend for a discount! You do not need horse experience to benefit from the gifts they have to offer.

August 9th, September 6th, and October 4th, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. RSVP is required!
Sheila Ranegar; 303-258-7944; ranegar432@yahoo.com.
Annette Price, Certified Equine Gestalt Coach and Founder,
www.OnTheWingsOfaHorse.com; 970-785-9090; annette@what-wire.com.  

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