A Horse and Presence
The sun is shining and it is cool and clear as I enter the fenced horse ring feeling rather naked (translation: I have no earthly idea what I am supposed to do in order to be successful in this next hour.) Richard, my Equus coach, introduces me to Toby, a big, smelly horse who has obviously been rolling in the grass and mud. He is BIG. And smelly and dirty – did I say that? I feel an overall fear of being stepped on, knocked over, whatever. He clearly weighs about 1000 lbs. more than I do.
I have memories of riding in my teen years and never quite getting over the fear of these big creatures. People who talked about “telling the horse who is boss” were always beyond my comprehension, so I have a small knot in the pit of my stomach. Not a bad one – I AM in the ring, damn it. I AM taking action despite my fear. However, my mental confusion causes Toby to turn away from me and walk back towards Richard on the other side of the ring. What do I do next? I have no clue.
Richard is a pillar of support in that he smiles gently and asks questions that move me closer to being comfortable with how I am feeling inside. I ask him what I am allowed to do and he shows me some moves. I realize that I feel most comfortable just standing in front of Toby letting his big wet nose and warm breath fill my open hands. His breathing is regular and deep and warms my palms. It is somehow comforting and comfortable all at the same time.
Suddenly our connection feels really intimate and my fear simply melts. Toby nestles closer as I scratch his nose and neck and ears. All my years of touching people in nurturing ways are now being tested on an entirely new animal. I remember to open my heart, feel my feet and simply be with him.
We are no longer two separate beings. How did this happen? Five minutes ago I was jumpy and seriously worried about Toby’s size. Now, I feel as though this huge force is actually inside of me, supporting me. My heart relaxes even more.
Richard continues to probe gently with questions about what in my life causes my heart to contract. Where do I shrink and pull back inside? And, how can I turn that around? How can I flip that? Toby gets restless when I am in a contracted state and nuzzles in more when my heart opens…it is truly magical. We discuss many issues and the hour flies by.
As I drive away, I am feeling really full inside and still deeply connected to Toby…this horse thing is new for me. And fun – I am sure my dreams will be rich tonight! Richard reminded me as I left that often the learning from the horses comes afterwards. Hours later, as I write this, I am struck by how full my heart continues to feel. Something big has shifted and I hardly noticed it happening at the time.
Thank you, Richard. Thank you, Toby.
To contact Richard about having an Equus coaching session yourself:
www.richardgriffincoaching.com – Office: 703-888-5839