Some months ago, at the ranch we opened the pasture gates to a wider open space beyond, and four of our mares wandered off to enjoy the greener grass. Sometimes they would come back to the bottom pasture to check in with their herd mates or for water, if the line had broken in the hills and needed to be fixed. They wouldn’t stay long before leaving; we could often see them gathered together on top of the hill.
Eventually the time came to bring them back. My husband, his business partner and I headed out on a Sunday to round them up. The desert plants were blooming and prickly enough to be uncomfortable to ride through. My partner on this ride was a patient gelding who took great care of me. We finally found the spot where our mares were resting; it was time to catch them and bring them home.
“Catch them”… These four had grown quite wild and independent over the last several months. They had taken great care of themselves – their coats were shiny and their muscles looked so strong. How were we to catch them?
While working on my certification in Equine Gestalt Coaching through Touched By a Horse, I learned a whole lot about myself. One thing was that if I am unsure, I want to have a plan. So what was our plan for catching these horses? Ultimately, this was not something we could plan and control. Horses live in the moment; so this would have to be an experience in the moment. After a couple of attempts, the first mare allowed herself to be rounded up, but the other three would run away, avoiding any attempt to catch them.
The weather was beautiful, and we were not in a rush. I came up the little hill where the mares were grazing and stood quietly. They looked at me and kept on minding their business; being present in the moment. A few little steps forward didn’t bother them yet they remained wary. At some point I stopped, found a comfortable spot, and sat on the ground. I took a deep breath, enjoying the beautiful weather and gorgeous views of the valley; I had nowhere I needed to be at that moment except right there. One of the mares, Bella, kept looking at me while the other two grazed. I stayed present, expanding my awareness to include her yet making no move. A few moments later she started to approach me, closer… then closer still.. She sniffed my hat, then checked out the piece of grass I was holding in my hand. Feeling our connection, I slowly put my hand up and touched her nose. She allowed me to stroke her face as I sat there on the ground. She even put her muzzle close enough for me to kiss.
Our energy merged and she stayed with me in an endless moment. I felt completely as ONE with this mare and wanted that moment to go on forever. I told her what an incredible mare she was, and how I would like for her to come back to the ranch to join me in offering Equine Gestalt Coaching to women. I shared with her a vision of the women who really need her healing powers and wisdom. She listened as I stroked her face and talked to her, and I knew she understood what I was sharing with her; I had seen her coaching work before, and she was incredible.
Suddenly I snapped out of my energetic connection with Bella in a panic, thinking, “I need to catch this mare right now, while she is still here!” She felt the shift in my energy and wheeled about, running away. “Oh no,” I thought, “what have I done?” I had gone into my head instead of staying present with her, and I’d lost that special, fragile moment of heart-centered connection.
Eventually all the mares joined up and followed us back to the ranch pasture. I rode back, deep in thought, knowing I had experienced a powerful connection with Bella when she came to me, and appreciating the lesson she had taught me about remaining mindful and present. Bella and I are continuing to build on that first moment, deepening our connection and strengthening its power. Together we are able to create a sacred space for our clients, inviting them to tap into the power of connection with a horse so their hearts can be opened and their spirits refreshed.
I am grateful to be blessed with such amazing teachers.