We work regularly with 3 horses, a small pony, a larger pony and a tall, heavy dark brown horse. Despite this large horse being a gentle giant, it often will represent people in clients lives, who were abusive and related to their traumatic experiences.
Myself and my colleague have often felt a little sorry for this horse, as, due to its size, rather than it's personality, it gets labelled the "bad guy" quite often.
Recently, we started working with a woman who has some anger issues. She is familiar with horses and so the size of the horses has not seemed to be an issue for her. In the first session she spent some time individually with all of the horses. She brushed them one at a time. The small pony walked away from her, the larger pony stayed still. But the large brown horse stayed with her. When she moved away it followed, staying close by. When the woman moved towards the other horses, the big horse stood in between her and them. For more than 30 minutes this horse stayed right next to the woman. Human and horse were connected and no words were spoken in this time.
Eventually the woman said, "I wanted to choose the other horse, but the big guy chose me. I think I need this horse as the other ones are too scared to carry my baggage. This one is big enough to handle it."
The scary, "abusive" horse became the big strong capable horse that could carry the weight of the burden that the woman had brought in with her.