Lisa Tran StrikeTrue Equus CoachingSometimes, saying yes leads you to standing in the middle of a round ring with a horse. About two years ago, I said yes to joining the team at TEDxSanDiego as a volunteer curator. Through that yes, I met Lisa Tran, a personal coach and certified Equus Coach. Lisa offered an equus session to anyone on the team who wanted to try it, so I drove out to a ranch in Ramona several weeks ago.

In an equus coaching session, a trained facilitator sets up a series of exercises for you with a horse one on one. There is something gravely exhilarating about being in the center of a round ring with a 1,500 pound animal who is so sensitive to your energy that you can’t wear sunglasses. You can walk up to them, ask them to follow you, or stand in the center of the ring and encourage them to walk, trot, or canter around the ring. The horses are mirrors of our energy.

One thing that Lisa said at the beginning of the session struck me: Your energy is a lot more powerful than you are aware. If you stand in the middle of the ring, you can get the horse to run without touching them.

Here are some of the lessons I learned about myself that day:

  • My first instinct was to stand and watch.
  • I asked permission of, and thanked the horse for, working with me.
  • I held back more than I was expecting.
  • While on the surface I feel “okay,” I’m actually not. This year has exacted a toll.

The last exercise was to dance with the horse. Lisa demonstrated, standing next to the horse’s head while holding the clip of the lead. She walked backwards, asking Kiki to follow, then reversed and walked forwards while the horse backed up. If you are in perfect alignment, it can be a fluid dance.

My friend went first while I sat and watched. I remembered how I used to dance with Buddy Girl in the living room, a happy memory. I pictured the same thing happening with Kiki, us walking backwards and forwards in perfect harmony. When it was my turn, I walked confidently up to her, said hello, and asked her to move with me. Instead of following me either backwards OR forwards, Kiki kept walking around me in a circle.With a horse doing an equus coaching sessionAfter a few minutes, Lisa stopped me and asked me what was going on. I started to tell her about Buddy Girl, and a wave of grief came up. The experience retrieved a memory from my subconscious that reminded me how much I miss her. I stood and cried for a few minutes, we talked some more, and Lisa asked me to try again.

Again, Kiki walked around me in a circle. I was confused, truly feeling like I was clearly communicating my vision to her. Lisa stopped me again. “In a herd, if a member is sick or hurt, the horses circle them to protect them. the mare encircled you to protect you as if you were her foal, to take care of you and mother you when you needed it. She folded herself around you that way. That’s what she’s doing right now, with you. I think this is a good place to stop.”Stephanie with Kiki at an equus coaching sessionIt was truly an unforgettable experience to feel loved and cared for by this horse. Through the course of the morning, it became clear to me that I was still in mourning, and pushing forward to Accomplish wasn’t working. Lisa encouraged me to take more time, be gentle with myself, and step back into the flow when I feel more ready.

When have you felt encircled by love?

For more information about Equus Coaching, please visit Lisa’s website: Strike True.

Today’s post is part of our mission to help you rebuild your health through food and lifestyle choices. Look for posts on Mondays featuring gluten-free, sugar-free recipes made with healthy plant-based ingredients, Wednesday essays, and Friday giveaways (when available.) I’m happy to report that my e-book about Buddy Girl is now available. It’s called Golden Angels: Lessons in Love and Loss from Buddy Girl and Daisy May. If it’s something you’d like to read, please follow me via RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or my e-news so you can be one of the first to read it.