Tag: self discovery

Healthy Swellness: Equine therapy in King City with Jennifer Schramm

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Early this summer, I was invited to try a session of equine therapy in King City, Ontario. I had never heard of equine therapy, but I love the idea of quality time with horses so I accepted the invite to join Jennifer Schramm to try a session of equine therapy so that I could get a taste of what her workshops, Unbridled Experiences, are like.

I arrived and Jennifer and I spent the first part of the session chatting inside. And then we stepped outside to the barn to meet the horses. As our first exercise, she had me meet each horse but I wasn’t to pet them. After spending a few minutes with them, she asked me what I’d noticed about each horse. I could tell one seemed more impatient and distracted (and I guessed he was the youngest), another was more calm, quiet and seemed more sensitive (this indeed was the oldest horse) and the third horse was somewhere between the two. Jenn told me my assessments were quite accurate. It’s pretty interesting what you can read about an animal by just being in their presence.

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So I learned from my two-hour session that there are different types of equine therapy and it can be beneficial for a wide range of issues. For example, it can be a helpful therapy for children with autism; from what I learned from Jenn, the therapy then revolves more of the routine of caring for the animal and being in the moment and being in tune with the animal’s cues.

But the therapy session I took part in was crafted around more around self discovery; considering an issue or area of one’s life you’re coping with and seeking some answers to, and through exercises with the horses, drawing some insight on how your actions, motivations and behaviour are affecting that area of your life.  Horses are powerful, sensitive and emotional animals, though, and through that, they can help reveal things about yourself you may not even realize.

This might be easier to illustrate with a hypothetical scenario. For example, let’s say you’re feeling lonely because you feel like friends have been distancing themselves from you and this is the issue you’re focusing on for your session. I did a few different exercises with the horses, but one I did with the oldest horse involved having to get her to move through two pylons I’d set up, but without pulling or pushing her to direct her that way. If you (as “lonely person with no friends”) were doing this drill and were really impatient and angry with the horse, you might come to realize that those aspects of your personality and how you’ve been treating your chums may be what is making your friends shy away from you.

I can tell you it took awhile but eventually the horse made her way through those pylons, but only after I got a bit of guidance from Jenn. To finish the session, we headed indoors where we chatted some more and she asked me to jot down my thoughts just for myself to process the day’s session.

I wasn’t in a rush so before I left, Jenn introduced me to her mini pony, Paddington, who that day was being kept in the stables as he was a bit under the weather. He’s an absolute darling.

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After one short session, I can’t say if I’m entirely a proponent personally for equine therapy, but I think if it works for you, or you’re seeking something different in your journey of therapy and self discovery, go for it. I will say that some quiet quality time with the horses, and simply having time to focus and connect with your own thoughts and feelings and issues you’re dealing with does feel quite therapeutic in and of itself. Whether one can glean and learn from the interactions with the horses is something I’d have to explore much more of.

For more about Jennifer and her equine therapy Unbridled Experiences workshops in King City, visit www.jenniferschramm.com.

Paddington

Leave a Comment August 10, 2017


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