Holding the Sacred Space

August 21, 2013 by  

Recently, I wrote about my experience with Maude and Hannah this spring in “Hannah’s Gift.” Please read Maude’s words about the event from her perspective as facilitator and Hannah as her co-facilitator. This is a great example of what I have termed “Relationship in Motion.”

So many times facilitators of Equine Facilitated Learning resort to their horsemanship techniques and patterns when doing active round pen work or giving the client an opportunity for a mounted session with the horse. I hope that the following discourse gives you a sample of the possibilities of a “simple” riding session. What is happening with the horse within a session? With…in the sacred space of possibility?


Within the Sacred Space:

image002For me there is a palpable sense that we are in this together… I am aware that Hannah is observing me, taking in what I am thinking.. doing… she is “tracking” with me. And I am aware that Hannah is aware …. that I am aware of her… she knows I am watching her, taking in where she is, what she is doing and conveying to me. This is where we begin….we are ready.

Kathleen is ready to ride. I check in with Hannah, ask her silently … “Are you good with this?” “Yes,” she replies. “I am fine.” I am holding the reins underneath Hannah’s jaw, as a safety check just in case she decides to move as Kathleen gets on. My other hand is gently against Kathleen. I am “feeling” her while at the same time providing physical support. I sense Kathleen gathering herself up to step up into the stirrup. Hannah is very intent on Kathleen; very still.

All of a sudden Kathleen stops and says “Wait a minute”… “I am feeling dizzy here”… we feel it too; we pause waiting. Kathleen is quick; she lets me know that she just had a sensation of falling down the long flight of stairs; that she needs to take a minute to process this. I check in with myself – my body – what do I sense about this? Is Kathleen okay proceeding with what she is doing? Yes, Kathleen is fine. She feels present, grounded…. Busy. I check in with Hannah. Hannah is aware; connected to what is happening. She is waiting. Okay, I wait too.

Then Kathleen takes a deep breath and turns her attention to me and explains that she wants to take a moment to tell me about what just happened. She seems alert and energized. I acknowledge this and say “okay,” and “breathe.” Hannah is listening to us; she licks and chews (When a horse licks and chews it is a sign that they are listening and hearing a “truth”). Kathleen relays her experience and then is done, ready once again to ride. We re-do the mounting sequence. Kathleen is monitoring herself for a re-play of the falling sensation. Nothing comes up so she gets on Hannah.

Once up she seems to have an unsteady sensation; I pause. Hannah is watching Kathleen; right there with her. Then Kathleen is back again, paying attention to her comfort and lack thereof in the saddle. We adjust the stirrups; I lead Hannah for a few steps; Kathleen seems tentative and uncomfortable. I decide to work with her on her body comfort with the length of the stirrups; adjusting equally, unequally, stretching, feeling in certain parts of her hip, thigh. Her knee is paining her, so I take her leg completely out of the stirrup. I sense this is concerning her; I pause letting her feel her leg stretching pulling down from her hip. That is better she says. I gently bring her foot back to the stirrup. How does that feel now? “Good,” she says. “The pain is gone.” We talk about body comfort in position versus form as the objective. How important comfort is. Why I like dressage saddles; because I can feel the horse better. I feel more secure the more I can feel.

Kathleen is ready to walk on. All this time Hannah is listening to us. What are we doing? What is next? And I am listening to her; we are together in this sacred bubble. I show Kathleen how to hold the reins along with the grab strap and explain how this gives her something to hold onto if she needs. Hannah sees that now…we are ready to move? We walk off very slowly. I have to hold Hannah close to me. She is not used to taking such small slow steps. I am watching Kathleen. I feel her breathe; loosen. Okay, she is feeling better. “Okay,” she says. “Yep I’m fine, keep going.”

I am leading Hannah slowly in circles, Kathleen is relaxing down more into her seat and the saddle, so I mix it up a bit; travel in figure eights then change direction. This can feel so different from going in a straight line; changes in direction; one side weighted differently from the other; unbalance, shifting, rebalance. I sense this is making an impression on Kathleen. We continue slowly in silence. I keep watch constantly; Kathleen, then Hannah. What are they telling me?

Hannah is with us, just walking. Then she jumps a little sideways. She looks at me as she jumps… seems like just a simple reaction, perhaps to something she sees, hears, smells in the trees up on the hill above us? Not sure. I see Kathleen react, startled with the “jump”, she looks to me. I feel her inquiry, her emotion, where she is in her body. I sense Kathleen’s arousal level go up…come down a little…. and stabilize. I look at Hannah, this was just a blip. She is done and back to walking. So I keep walking. Kathleen is still looking to me. I look at her to acknowledge her; so she sees that I see; that this is okay. But I do not speak. Kathleen’s arousal level comes back down and we continue for a while longer.

Then there is a sense that this has been enough. I ask Kathleen how she is doing, if she feels like we can end. We agree we are feeling complete; that “just walking” around the arena is enough for today.

Hannah is calm…I sense she is ready to end. This has required her active involvement and consistent attention. We go back to the bale of straw and she stands perfectly still while Kathleen dismounts. We end here… Kathleen is going to journal. All is good.

News from the UK and IFEAL

August 1, 2012 by  

Click here for news from the UK and IFEAL

April 26-29, 2012: FEEL Certification Program, Toronto, Canada

March 13, 2012 by  

In April, I will once again be joining with Horse Spirit Connections and the students in Toronto, Canada.  I teach what I call the “foundational pieces” from psychotherapy, science, and spirituality in this exciting and thorough program.  Below is a short description of the program.  To find out more about the program and to register contact Wendy@HorseSpiritConnections.com

Horse Spirit Connections founded the FEEL (Facilitated Equine Experiential Learning) Certification Program in 2008.  FEEL is a leading-edge modality for developing human potential.  Participants learn to create a horse-centered, experiential learning environment that supports personal growth.  Throughout the training, prospective FEEL facilitators gain self-knowledge and acquire skills and experience to develop their own FEEL programs where horses are valued for their roles as teachers and therapists.

This comprehensive training program is suitable for coaches, educators, facilitators, equine professionals, wellness practitioners, and other individuals who are looking for practical training and experience in developing Facilitated Equine Experiential Learning programs in the expanding field of Equine guided healing.

The FEEL Certification Program is six months in duration.  It consists of sixteen days of on-site instruction spread over three sessions. Many dynamic teachers, with an incredible array of knowledge, are present to support the journey.

During the six months, there will be individual and group assignments integral to a deeper understanding and first hand experience of this new modality. In between program sessions the participants are required to practice and complete assigned horse related activities and log their experiences.  A program mentor is assigned to each participant for the duration of their training.

June 5-7, 2012: A Master’s Course – The Art, The Heart, & The Science of Deep Listening through Team Coaching and Group Process: Corrales, NM

March 13, 2012 by  

A 3 day Intensive training in Group Process and Dynamics in Corrales, New Mexico with Kathleen Barry Ingram and Lisa Murrell, Susan Castaneda, and the Ranch DuBois herd.

group processLisa and Kathleen, leaders in the field of Equine Facilitated Learning, Team Coaching, Coaching and Psychotherapy, will use their expertise, combined 30+ years of experience, and the latest scientific research to teach and encourage participants in the effective use of team coaching and group process.

As a therapist, counselor, coach or personal growth teacher you understand the “double edge” power of human groups.  Groups can create a transformative container for growth and self-discovery, but when groups go wrong they can destroy trust and leave participants more defensive than before. This is even more true for groups organized around EFL/EFC experiences, where the horses create moments of great transformative potential.  Masterful group facilitation is critical to successful and safe Equine Facilitated Learning and Coaching. 

This dynamic and intimate intensive will help you learn to masterfully facilitate the challenge of fully engaging both individuals and the group.  Through dynamic teaching and learning techniques you will discover powerful ways to get out of the ‘story’ and into the heart of the matter.  These tools will enable you to use the energy of the “difficult” client as a tool for monitoring the emotional safety of each group member.

jan 2012 new mexicoThis training is for counselors, therapists, coaches, health care practitioners, and anyone currently teaching and facilitating Equine Facilitated Coaching/Learning and psychotherapy in groups.  Whether you work with adults or youth, closed or open groups, or whether your scope of practice includes Psychotherapy/Learning or Coaching-this training will give you valuable information and increase your confidence and skills in facilitating group process and understanding group dynamics.

Cost: Early Bird Price $797 (Before March 30, 2012)
Price after March 30: $1297

To register: www.EquineAlchemy.com
Questions? Contact Lisa: Lisa@EquineAlchemy.com

Fast Action Bonuses (Act before March 30, 2012):
*The first 2 participants to register will receive a private coaching session with Lisa or Kathleen!
*The first 4 participants to register can bring a friend for 25% off!

***International Coaching Federation CCEU’s available
***CEU’s available

February 3-5, 2012: “Launching Your Coaching Journey,” A 3 day Learning Intensive with Lisa Murrell and Kathleen Barry Ingram, Albuquerque, New Mexico

January 22, 2012 by  

This experience can, and most likely will, change your life!!

Are you ready to step into your greatness and share your gifts?  Do you want to wake up each day excited and full of gratitude because you are living your life with a clear purpose? Would you like to live in a like-hearted community of learning and support? Then you have arrived!  “Launching your Coaching Journey” is about launching your life as you intend it to be from now on…. Coaching is not a ‘job,’ it is a way of being.

Relationship building is at the heart of coaching!  The experience of working with horses requires a relationship with another being. It requires an acute awareness of boundaries -yours and theirs- as well as skill in interpreting body language. Interacting with horses requires obtaining permission to lead and demonstrating a willingness to follow. Such a relationship demands courage as well as vulnerability. Most importantly, the horse requires authentic communication. Twenty minutes in the round pen with a horse will take these powerful, insightful concepts off the page, out of your head, and anchor them into your entire being. You will also experience a tremendous boost in self-esteem and confidence from learning how to connect and establish boundaries with a thousand pound creature through a mind/body connection, presence and clarity of intent and connecting with your ‘heart’s desire’.

Virtual Classroom Work before the in-person learning intensive to prepare for our time with the horses will include:
Introduction to Coaching
-The ICF competencies and standards
-Distinctions between therapy and coaching
-Setting the coaching foundation
-Co-Creating the relationship, Part 1

On-site Equine and Experiential Components – Creating Awareness of Self and Others:
Through a series of specially designed activities with horses on the ground (no riding), you will deepen awareness of your personal challenges, core feelings and areas of bodily tension that inhibit your ability to reach your true potential.

Launching your Coaching Journey Workshop includes:
-Pre-site work
-3 day on-site learning intensives with the horses
-1 private coaching session with Lisa
-1 90 min content session with group
-1 90 min peer coaching call

This is an ICF Approved Coach Training Workshop

Cost: $2000 per person

For more information, or to register, visit:  www.EquineAlchemy.com

April 14-15, 2012: Connecting with the Heart – Yours and the Horse’s, Dusseldorf, Germany

January 22, 2012 by  

Grace in Presence and Flow in Movement.

This 2 day workshop is an advanced workshop for those already familiar with the Epona Approach™ which is not a method of training or working the horse.  Kathleen Ingram, as the co-creator of the Epona Approach™ with Linda Kohanov (author of the “Tao of Equus”), along with Eva and her magnificent herd will encourage the participants to follow their hearts in a respectful relationship. This workshop will help participants to maintain connection with respect and afford opportunities to take this into movement with the horse.   Each individual’s intuitive gifts and the horses true essence is honored and encouraged.

Daniel Siegel, author of “Mindsight“, uses the description of this honoring of self with others and calls this “feeling felt”.  In order for this to take place both the horse and the person must feel and experience the soul and essence of each other.  As facilitators, we hope to help others to be open to their unique gifts and challenges.  We will assist them in this integration for following the original “blueprint of their souls”.  To do this the person must be present to what is happening and look for collaboration in stillness and movement, essentially what Kathleen has called the “Yin and Yang of It

Cost:  395€ with snacks and Vegetarian lunches.

This workshop will be held in English – German translation possible if required.

Please contact Eva Balzer, Stockweg 143, 45481 Muelheim an der Ruhr, Germany


Email: kontakt@evabalzer.de

Mobile phone: +49 (0)172-2320836

Balancing Relationships through The Way of the Horse; September 16-18, 2011, Dusseldorf, Germany

May 30, 2011 by  

How do you find balance in all of your relationships?  During these 3 days, the horses can help you to better understand your emotions and the messages behind these emotions.  Get to know your own boundaries and experience and feel your boundaries in a whole new way with humans and horses.  Specific exercises are designed to help you learn more about your body’s innate wisdom and the body language of others.

How can you be more authentic in all of your relationships?  By learning more about our survival patterns and beliefs, which often unconsciously guide us, we can live from a place of authenticity in the present moment.  The horses – as consummate teachers -mirror and demonstrate when our feelings and thoughts inside match our behavior outside and allow us the opportunity to heal and move into a place of thriving, not merely surviving.

Please join us for this non-riding workshop. Previous horse experience is not necessary. The workshop will be held in English with German translation when needed.  This is an approved Epona beginning workshop, www.eponaquest.com.

Kathleen will be available for individual sessions 3 days prior to workshop and 2 days following workshop dates.

Cost:  495€    Snacks and vegetarian lunch will be provided each day.

For more information about the workshop, overnight accommodations and to register contact:

Eva Marie Balzer
Coaching for Humans and Animals
Stockweg 143
45481 Mulheim

Phone: +49 (0)2102 5283278
Email: kontakt@evabalzer.de