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Emma's First Therapy Session


So it is in the books. Emma has been chosen for her first therapy session with a client. To be clear, it is the first time Emma was made available to be considered. I always ask my clients to choose the horse they feel drawn to spend the session with. They always choose who they need. It's part of the magic of it all.


Up until now, I had said to clients, "You can choose any one except Emma. She's not ready." But today I had a feeling that she would be chosen if I opened that door, and that she was ready. And sure enough...


The following is shared with permission from the first client to choose Emma.




Choosing my horse


"Walking through the barn, meeting the horses, it was my first time in equine therapy. 'Horses are prey animals,' they said. 'Fine,' I thought, 'so was I when I was a little girl'. Most horses I felt no connection to, but a couple I did. One was Emma. She looked at me with a big brown eye and didn’t seem too disturbed by what she saw. A knowing, perhaps. 'I pick her' I said."


"As Kit led her out of her stall, something changed. She didn’t want to leave the barn. She stopped, right in the middle of the barn and wouldn’t continue. She trembled and pranced back and forth a little, knowing what she was being asked to do but unable to comply. Kit

[offered positive reinforcement] and coaxed gently. We made it out of the barn and into the arena."


"Once in the ring, she couldn’t stay still. Snorting, calling to her friends in the barn, side-stepping and uneasy. I stayed outside the ring; Kit was with her. Emma wasn’t out of control, but obviously uneasy. Kit walked to the other side of the ring and stood there. Emma followed, stood next to her, and quieted. “What are you noticing right now?” Kit asked me. My answer included statements about [being] surprised that I could tell exactly what she was feeling. She so perfectly mirrored my own experiences. I was shaken from the emotional

charge of it all."


"After Emma regained her equilibrium, we led her back to her stall. I tried to move slowly, tried to let her know I wouldn’t hurt her. Processing the experience with Kit, the tears came. 'She’s not scary, she’s just scared'. My heart went out to this beautiful beast, who was doing her best to do what was asked of her while being afraid. I know that feeling well. I know it looks frightening to other people who don’t understand. They see it as a danger to themselves, but it’s not. It’s a reflection of inner turmoil."


"Emma didn’t want to hurt anyone, any more than I did. But I was still asked by the director of my kids’ daycare to stop scaring her staff. They couldn’t see I was terrified to leave my precious children there, fearing their childhood experiences would mirror mine. All they saw was a scary lady."


"Sitting on the porch, surrounded by a riot of wildflowers, the slow dawning. Like Emma, I had been hurt before. But, like Emma, I can go to the edge of my comfort zone and even a little past with the help of people I trust."

"You weren’t kidding that after equine therapy you are never the same! I am so full of love and gratitude right now..."

These words meant a lot coming from this client, because she had admitted to me at the end of the session as she stood crying in a mix of shifting, releasing and dawning realization, "I didn't believe you. When you told me how powerful this would be, I didn't believe you."


Thank you for trusting me. And Emma. And yourself.


Thank you, Emma. You rocked it.




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