Linked to the charity I volunteer for is an organisation that does equine facilitated coaching. It’s something I’ve been interested in for a while. There was potentially an opportunity to do the course during the summer, but due to not enough interest it was cancelled. So when it came up again and was taking place on the weekend I signed up.
So what is equine facilitated coaching? It’s basically a self development course asking the question what is blocking you from living your life to the full. In addition to this it uses horses to reflect back your energy. Unlike any other ‘therapy’ that is delivered through another human and all the filters they have, with a horse, there are no filters so you can’t excuse their behaviour and what they are displaying.
The course starts with 2 consecutive days. I’d had a ridiculously stressful week at work after being ill for the previous 3 weeks. What should have been one week of being ill had been dragged out to over 3 and me still not being 100% due to me continuing to take on extra work and not taking a break. In addition to that I’d then missed a big chunk of work when I eventually did go off sick and was even more behind when I came back with questions to answer.
Needless to say I wasn’t in the best head space. The previous night I’d had an anxious dream that I’d double booked myself and couldn’t turn up to the course. On top of that I’d arrived and started talking about my neices who were having their birthday party that afternoon. Unfortunately, due to deciding to do the course prior to being invited I was unable to attend, even more so due to the eldest being autistic and it being the first year she’d actually wanted a birthday party. I guess I just felt guilty for not being there- not that they probably noticed, but within five minutes of arriving for the training I was already in tears and in need of a hug.
The beginning of the course was a brief outline followed by a 5 minutes session of standing in silence whilst trying to reconnect to ourselves. Although this did calm me slightly, I still felt very tense. We then walked around the fields and talked in a small group about why we were here and what we wanted to get from the course. I guess the reasons for me wanting to do the course was to stop my negative patterns of behaviour and not to be so angry when things press my buttons.
Following our walk we went into the stable/meeting room to check in. This is where you say how you are feeling in the most honest way possible. The theory being that if others are aware of where you’re at it makes a safer environment as you know what support others may need.
So where was I at? I guess I was quite angry and hurt. My feedback was that I was stuck in the teenage phase, and not necessarily a great one, but the stroppy erratic one. I suppose except for the erratic anger in me and wanting to get things my way I couldn’t really see this. My response is to want others to resolve it for me, but the only one that can do that is me.
The positive of this course is that they won’t do more than 50% of the work for you (unfortunately, lol). So I was questioned did I really want to change, how many times have I tried to change before and how many times have given up. The hardest part is that to change I need to be kinder to myself. I think I’ve recently fallen into a bit of a martyr archetype (something I am so embarrassed to admit). It’s something my mum definitely does and something I swore I’d never do. However working for three different people and trying to please them all I seem to promise the world and then want them to help me out when I can’t do it all. Not a great cycle of behaviour.
So to change I need to change this behaviour. I also need to work out what this behaviour is giving me that I’m so attached to- not sure I’ve quite got the answer to that one yet.
So what we needed to work towards over the next couple of days was our personal contract. This includes the one thing that is blocking you and links across all situation in our lives but may change until you get it spot on. In addition to this, you have to also share what you need from the group to support you with this.
I can’t say I knew what my personal contract would be. I kept saying being kinder to myself but it wasn’t really cutting it.
In the afternoon we went and sat out in the field with the horses. We volunteered to explore what our contracts might be. 3 out of the five of us went through this process and then the group leader did a time check. My first response was phew, I’ve not had to do mine, but then I’m going to be annoyed at myself for not having done it. I shared this while getting a drink so unfortunately when we regrouped (inside as it had started to rain) the pressure was on. I can’t say I reached my personal contract, just brought up a load of emotions and clinging on to them all scared to let go.
I went home, watched strictly, had a bath and went to bed, I slept really well and woke up well, but within half an hour had a headache with all the questions going round my head…well onto day 2 of therapy!