Riding horses has always been a passion for Ann, but she never imagined that she would be entering an arena to examine her heart, with one of them. What does a horse know about such things?
A hay bag, four rails down the centre of the arena and two pylons, were setup. Ann was required to label each item with a personal struggle or heart’s desire. The hay bag was labelled “trusting self”. Ann desired to have more faith in herself, despite her failures. The rails symbolized “fear” which Ann was determined to eliminate from her life. The pylons represented the “confidence” that Ann was lacking. The activity required Ann to guide the horse to each item and reflect.
Feeling a little foolish, Ann stood at the hay bag and considered her struggle with “trusting self”. Smiling, hid the truth that she felt awkward and doubted the activity. It was time to move on.
“Fear” was the defining emotion in Ann’s life. Fear of the future and past. Fear of failing and even succeeding. Fear of relationships, having them and losing them. And fear that one day she may not be able to protect herself and her kids. Standing in the arena, even provoked a fear of being hurt. Today it would end. Fear was no longer going to paralyze her.
Holding the lead rope, Ann approached “fear”. She stepped over the first rail and her partner stopped. Ann asked again and gave a tug on the lead rope; nothing. Thoughts of dragging the horse came to mind or choosing a more assertive approach. Nope, she could not do that. The rules were clear in that there was no bribing, dragging or intimidating her partner. This simple guideline could be used in any relationship. But Ann was there hoping to extinguish “fear“, not refine relationships. At that moment, her horse turned its head and looked back at “trusting self”. Ann’s facilitator suggested that the horse wanted to return. Ann was annoyed with her partner, but granted the request.
Standing back at the hay bag, with her partner, Ann was unclear of what to do next. And then it happened. A loud unstoppable noise was coming from, from where? The roof! The snow was sliding off! Ann’s partner panicked but she desperately hung on to the lead. It was her responsibility to keep herself and her partner safe and defuse the situation. Someone had to take charge and work through the fear that was consuming them both.
Recognizing the truth that they were safe, Ann relaxed. Her trusting partner seemed to settle as well. They stood together and as Ann’s body further soften, she cried. Fear had threatened to overtake her, but Ann had triumphed! Purging this paralyzing emotion from her world, would be next on the agenda.
With the activity incomplete, Ann was required to continue and lead her partner over “fear” and through “confidence”. Ann floated through the pylons, with a new awareness of herself and connection to her companion. She turned again to approach “fear”, assured that the previous victory confirmed success. But again her partner refused to follow. Why? Was it her approach?
Ann examined the rails again and considered weaving in and out of them. She asked and her partner followed! Confused, Ann again reflected. What had she missed? “Trusting self”, “fear” and “confidence”; but wait the order had changed! Ann needed to trust herself first and then her confidence increased. What about “fear“? Rather than stepping over the rails, Ann’s partner insisted she weave through them. Could fear even be completely conquered in her life? Ann’s eyes widened and her heart swelled. That was it! Fear can’t be completely extinguished! She will be required to weave her way through the emotion every time it shows up. Ann’s perceptions had been refined! Beautifully refined by the least expected; a horse.