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What is Gestalt Coaching with Horses Anyway?

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At the New Living Expo in San Mateo, CA earlier this year, a lot of people came to the “Alo Horses” booth to ask me what I do. I appreciated their genuine openness and curiosity, not only because I strive to always stay open and curious myself, but because I absolutely love the opportunity to share my passion around Gestalt coaching with Horses, and how it can change people’s lives.
I like to keep things simple so here’s what I said to them: In my work, there are two coaches – one is a Gestaltist (that would be me; I went through a 2-year certification program to become a Certified Gestalt coach) and the other coach is an Equine (that would be my Horse).
Gestalt is about experiencing the here and now, in a state of “wholeness” or integration. Horses are natural Gestaltists; they live in the moment and are fully present to their surroundings. They are fully integrated at all time – not off in their head like humans can be! When I work with a client, there are three of us in one energy bubble: the client, a Horse, and myself. We do not ride the Horses in this work, but instead interact with them on the ground. I ask questions to help the client explore their life at the deepest level possible, to un-cover the energy blocks that prevent them from moving forward freely and living a harmonious life. Because the work is all about the experience – being in the moment and releasing energy blocks – the Horse is a key participant. Horses are amazing healers and coaches; they hold space, provide support and offer healing. They also hold the client accountable for being real – horses are naturally attracted to authenticity and are unable to connect when a client is being inauthentic, or when their energy doesn’t match what they’re saying or doing. The horse’s responses help the clients to become aware of their true state and know when they are telling themselves (and us) a “story”. Awareness is the first step towards positive change, and it’s hard to ignore the feedback from a 1,200-pound being!
If you haven’t had the chance to experience this powerful work with Horses yet, I invite you to join one of our small group sessions. You can find out more, or register, here.