Horses are said to be able to read/sense humans’ feelings and emotions, which they mirror back to clients. This process can be helpful in therapy and learning. This abridged poem speaks of a divine mirror.
A mirror receives and reflects back what it sees
It does not judge, adjust, or write commentary,
We are the ones to do that.
A mirror simply reveals.
And invites responsibility.
When we learn to love anyone or anything,
It is because they have somehow, if just for a moment
Mirrored us truthfully yet compassionately to ourselves.
Richard Rohr (Abridged)
We recently had the first session with a man who had experienced a life where people perceived him as confronting and aggressive. One of the horses immediately approached him and put its nose gently on different parts of his clothing. He described feeling anxious and asked several times, “what is it doing?” The horse stood for some time with the man and the man asked more questions and comments, “Why is it doing this?”, “You guys must’ve trained the horses really well so they would approach me”.
This man was truly puzzled at why the horse was approaching him. He was too scared to move close to the horse. The horse eventually moved away about 2-3 metres. We encouraged him to moved closer to the horse. He was anxious but did this. The horse moved closer to him when he did this. Finally, they were standing together and the man agreed reluctantly to try to touch the horse on its neck.
He and the horse stood together for a few minutes and the man had, had enough time and wanted to finish. He said, in the end, that he had never been that close to a horse before, and that maybe he “used to be” an aggressive person, rather than he still is.
No-one who knew this man reported him to be aggressive or confronting. He is a big man but came across as very soft and gentle. The health professional who referred him called him a big “teddy bear”. It’s interesting that 30 minutes with a perceptive horse has questioned this mans’ belief of 20 years when he has not questioned this before.
Sometimes a horse is needed to show us our “distorted beliefs” to help us get closer to our authentic selves.