Posted on September 27, 2021
“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to anotherC.S. Lewis
‘What, You too?! I thought I was the only one.'”
I attended the Touched by a Horse annual Summit this weekend. It’s a big event with speakers, break out groups, and Graduation night for the new certified coaches. It’s a pretty big deal.
I arrived on Thursday evening for opening night and all through the evening and into the next day I could feel myself sucked into a dark space, like a vortex it held me fast and I couldn’t pull myself up and out. I was there in body, on a chair listening to speakers and talking to friends, but my spirit was elsewhere, floating in the ether, adrift, a headache pulsing in the back of my skull, letting me know that something was amiss.
Normally, this ranch is my safe space, my home away from home, where the moment my feet touch the earth I am at peace. This time it was like I hadn’t even arrived. I skipped out several times to go nuzzle the muzzle of a lovely horse named Gus, who was able to ground me back into myself and each time I visited him I felt myself appearing out of the fog, my heart a little lighter. That’s the magic of horses.
What I want to talk to you about today, is the magic of friends.
What was my problem? I was in my favorite place with some of my very favorite people, yet I was feeling very isolated, very alone.
I was poisoning myself with an untold “secret”.
I was carrying the weight of news I hadn’t yet confessed to a very dear friend.
I was wary of telling her.
Weary of telling everyone.
We went for a walk and paused at my car and before I could stop myself the words were pouring out of my mouth. She looked a me with a small smile on her face and a mischievous glitter in her eyes that spoke volumes. She wasn’t overcome by sadness for what will ultimately be her loss for a time, but delighted by what is going to be a grand adventure. She shared stories of her own grand adventures and shared with me her excitement for the growth and experiences that are ahead of me.
We left my car and as I settled back into the arena in my chair, I felt finally at ease.
The next day was Saturday, filled with speakers and a cocktail party, and dinner in the evening, followed by graduation. All day I was filled with a groundedness and happiness I hadn’t felt in the previous days.
Finally I was present and able to enjoy the friends and family around me.
As the evening and graduation drew to a close, I was leaning on the sidewall of the arena watching new sisters walk across the stage and into the next chapter of their lives.
Shoulder to Shoulder with me are two Powerful, Beautiful, Bone-Deep, Soulful, Badass women. The bond between us was tangible, a living thing.
As we stood together I was struck with such force, how impactful our friendships can be.
How empowering, if we let them in.
I’m connected with the women (and a couple of men) in that arena on a soul level. We have shared deep trauma history with each other, we have witnessed, cried, laughed, screamed, held, healed.
It is my default setting to block people out, to go it alone, to do it myself, and say that I am fine in my independence. This weekend reminded me, that going it alone is not the answer. If we were all better off alone, we wouldn’t feel so broken.
If we had all the answers to heal ourselves, we would, nobody would choose suffering if they could help themselves by themselves.
The truth is, we need community. It’s the secret sauce. The ultimate healing magic that we all seek.
We need our tribe, our herd, to lift us up when we are down, to lean on in grief, to laugh with in moments of joy, to inspire us when we feel like we are not enough.
It takes bravery to make those connections, because these types of bonds do not come without deep vulnerability. We hand over the power to people to hurt us, we have to trust that they won’t, know that disappointment comes with every relationship, and build on the knowledge that the foundation is built on trust, the best intention, and pure love.
On Sunday during the closing ceremony, there is a song that is played that always goes straight to my heart.
We stand in a giant circle, hand in hand, heart to heart.
This time, as I stood with two more of my dear sister-friends, all my feelings came pouring out of my eyes and I cried and cried as the song played on, I felt them both squeeze my hands.
Once it was over I was enveloped in the arms of a woman who has become so dear to my heart over the years, and she told me everything was going to be fine, it’s going to be great, and I know she speaks the truth. It means so much to me, to be seen and held both physically and emotionally by such beautiful souls.
I never knew the power of a group of women coming together in tatters and binding each other up could be so healing.
It’s my job now, as a certified Equine Gestalt Coach, to pass on this gift of sisterhood. To pay it forward, on to the women who have not yet found their tribe. If you’re going it alone right now, if you find yourself lost, unsupported, lonely, searching for something bigger than yourself, I’ve got a group and a horse for that.
If you feel compelled to share your story with me, or you’d like to sign up for a group or private coaching session, or you’d like more information on Equine Gestalt Coaching, please send me an e-mail at:
P.S if you’ve made it this far: Thank you for reading my blog!
And No, I’m not pregnant!
If you know, you know.
If you don’t, stay tuned!
Find your LightAmanda Soper
Find your Tribe
Find the Path
that Sets You Free.
Category: Gestalt, Gestalt & Horses, Life & Musings, Relationships and Healing Tagged: community, EGCM, equine assisted therapy, equine coaching, Equine Gestalt Coaching, equine therapy, find your tribe, friendship, Gestalt, healing, Horse Lovers, horses, Self Care, support group, touched by a horse, women supporting women, women's support group
Posted on May 4, 2021
I stand atop a hill in the pasture, eyes on my pony below. I observe her for a moment munching hay or napping. I take in a lungful of air and loudly call her name, then follow it up with a loud wolf whistle, a whistle I chose specifically so she would know, that I know, just how pretty she is.
Her head bobs up and her ears prick forward, from deep in her belly she hollers back to me then nickers and breaks into a run, heading my direction. Every time this happens my heart swells with joy. She is happy, she is healthy, she is hungry, and she is pleased to see me.
Once she canters up to me I greet her with joyful enthusiasm, a kiss and a treat. I want her to know I am delighted to see her and be in her presence, and reward her for taking time out of her life to be with me. She doesn’t have to, she has a choice.
There are days, of course, where I am in a hurry and my delight is dampened by the hustle and bustle of life and I toss a halter around her head, rush her to her grain and then rush her back out to pasture. After such treatment it’s not unusual for her to decline to come up to meet me the following day.
I don’t blame her, in those instances I’m not being a very good friend.
Our equine relationships should absolutely be treated as friendships, and this idea should have us examining the human friendships in our lives. Today I ask you to put down your judgement of yourself and others, and look at your human and equine friendships objectively, as if you were standing outside a window looking in at your life. What do you notice? Remember, no judgements here, just work on becoming aware.
How do we treat our friends? Lets pretend we are in a post-covid world for a moment. When we see our friends do we joyfully greet them, delighted to be in their presence?
Do we immediately dump our troubles on them, or ask them to accommodate us by rushing through our time together? Is the friendship mutual, or one sided? Do you feel like you’re dragging your friend by the hair to come hang out with you, similar to how you might have to drag your horse by the halter?
Do you have a friend who doesn’t respect your boundaries when you need time or space? Is there a horse in your life who also pushes into your boundaries, who you’re uncomfortable around? Do you have a friend who is your rock? Friends who you can depend on to understand when the ebb and flow of friendships and life? Who is there when you want them, when you need them? Is the give and take is mutual? Are you a rock for somebody? How about your horse? Does your equine friendship feel secure and comfortable, with boundaries respected from both parties? Are you both there for the good times and the bad?
If you don’t have a horse but are around horses, how do those relationships feel? Do they reflect other relationships in your life?
Horses have so much to teach us about what it means to be human. Be good to your equine friends. Be good to your human friends. Be Kind to Each Other.
With Love and In Joy
Coach Amanda & the Heart of a Mare
Category: Gestalt & Horses, Horse Training, horsemanship, Life & Musings, Relationships and Healing Tagged: be kind, best friends, bonding, change the industry, change the world, coactive horsemanship, EGCM, equine, friends, friends with horses, friendship, heartfelt horsemanship, horse trining, horsemanship, horses, kindness, relationships, women, women supporting women