As promised in my last blog post where I describe my experience attending a horse therapy session, I am describing more in depth what Maria does. Maria, founder of Osa Horse Medicine, combines the ancient arts of ritual, meditation, breathing practices and visualization with the wise and sentient guidance of her horse herd to offer “Equine Facilitated Experiential Learning” here on the Osa Peninsula.
Experiential= experience (different than book learning). In an experiential experience, your body will write new neural pathways to change your nervous system.
Facilitation: The horses are the facilitators. Maria will set up different activities and we keep looking at the horse and the energy between the horse and the person in order to que in on what is going on.
Disclaimer: in the following post I will be mostly referring to horses in the masculine for simplicity’s sake, but the work will be taking place with horses of both genders.
Why Horse Therapy?
Horse therapy applies in a large scope of practice: it can work with people with severe PTDS trauma or addiction all the way to the opposite scale on the corporate level leadership, team building, and then in a middle scope with individuals that have patterns or issues that need to be adjusted or looked into.
In the most gentle of ways the horse will help bring one of these stories to the surface and shine light on it.
Horses work like shamans to raise vibrations and help bring our unwanted stories for us to look at and process.
One of the reasons why a horse is so connected and can help a human is because his hearth energy is much bigger than the one of a human. The heart energy is one of the largest energy centers emanating from our body.
When we are surrounded by horses they physiologically bring our heart rate down and bring us in the present moment.
Horses live in the fifth dimensions and they are very tapped in an “intuitive” world. When they meet people they read everything about them and their energy field. That’s how horses learn about people.
As observed on the website Heartmath.org, a person’s heart size is the size of our fist. The energy that a human heart emanates is more of less a distance of our arm extended from our heart. The horses’ heart on the other hand is about the size of the watermelons and his heart energy field is exponentially larger. Horses always live in the right brain hemisphere, also known as the creative part of the brain, which corresponds to the present moment.
A horse’s heart vibration is slow and steady. This slow vibration that horses create is like a tuning fork which taps into people’s DNA and helps them reclaim ability to self heal.
What Kind Of Activities Will We Participate In?
Most of the activities during the equine facilitated experiential learning are about communication, tapping into a different energetic field and developing intuition.
No ropes or whips are used and horses all have done the ground work and the friendly games we will be practicing. There is no need to have experience riding horses or around horses because the experience is mostly based on learning to work with our energy.
An example of an activity: We might sit in a group in meditation and go through breathing exercises. Six or eight horses will surround us. Within a few moments the horses will start licking, chewing, yawning releasing.
There are exercises where one person is in a round pen with one or two horses and Maria will ask a simple task such as: “With your own energy visualize the horse walking in a circle/ trotting.”
People might have different experiences with this one simple exercise. The horse might not move and might ignore them, he might start galloping around or with flawlessness do everything they he is asked an even follow the person around.
Horses bring up emotions for people. We might get frustrated, notice how we tend of overwork ourselves and generally speaking we see common patterns on how we go through our lives based on these simple experiences with the horses.
In some activities people will be on horses if comfortable.One person may walk the horse and lead it while the other person is sitting on the horse. The person on the ground is blind folded and the rider on horses’s back is giving them direction on where to go. After each exercise we have a debriefing moment.
What Do We learn From Equine Facilitated Experiential Learning?
Very quickly we learn how well we receive information, how well we are able to communicate what we don’t understand and how we react when people don’t understand us.
The horses is always present and chooses to do the work. Horses are also an instant mirror for what is happening within us and usually, the moment we aren’t communicating efficiently, they pause and might show us things we need to see.
About Maria Manzione, Founder of Osa Horse Medicine
When María followed her heart to live in the jungle of Costa Rica her heart horse found her, first by coming to her in dreams and then through a synchronistic series of events. In 2014 Maria read “Tao of Equus” and her entire life shifted to her hearts truest desire; using the compilation of her life’s work to begin working professionally with horses by creating safe and sacred space for growth and healing, for both people and horses alike. In 2015 Maria attended her first Eponaquest retreat and was invited into a six month Riding Focused Apprenticeship beginning the following month. Maria was blessed with the opportunity for a work study giving her the additional experience of co facilitating five retreats with her teachers. María’s is currently offering a safe haven for horses in need on the Osa Peninsula.
Photo Credit: Michael Melendez