I believe horses make us better people. I know they have for me.
They give us freedom, bring us courage, and teach us how to listen, with all our senses, our body and our heart.
I remember the horses from my childhood as one would remember dear friends. And they were. Even long after they are gone, their memory remains, and their lessons last a lifetime.
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I started my equine massage therapy training in 2006, at the D’Al School of Equine Massage, in London, Ontario. They have a solid 2-year program that provides in-depth training in the skills and science that are the foundation of equine massage practice. In fact, the program mirrors the educational requirements for Registered Massage Therapists (RMT’s) that work with people. I was also fortunate to have some wonderful teachers while I was there.
Around the same time, I also took up yoga. And that taught me about the body in a different way — through personal experience and playful experimentation. I was introduced to mediation, became reacquainted with my breath, explored the quirks, strengths, and limitations of my body. And watched how a regular practice could change so much.
It deepened my understanding of the anatomy and physiology I was learning at school, and later brought me to the teachings of Thai yoga massage.
And then, of course, there are the horses. There are the ones, like my own, who humoured me while I poked and prodded around, locating various anatomical points as I learned them in school. Those who gave me their patience and their feedback while I practiced different techniques and honed my skills.
There are the horses from my childhood who taught me their language and their way of being. Who taught me how to ride and balance and feel. How to harness and direct energy.
And the horses in my practice. The ones that challenge me, that make me smile, that remind me why it is that I do what I do.
I believe horses make us better people and the world a better place.
So long as I can make a horse’s world a more comfortable place to be, I will be thankful for what I can do to repay the favour. Because they have certainly given me a whole lot.
I know wouldn’t be the person I am today without them.
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“Hands-on Promotion of Equine Wellness,” Canadian Horse Journals Magazine (September 2013).
Photo credits: 1 – Meg O’Shea; 2 – Ashley Harris