Horses and The Power of Authenticity

When working with horses, most people describe the horse as being a mirror, reflecting back to us the emotions that we are unable to acknowledge. While there is some truth in that statement, what is actually happening in those moments is the horse REACTING to the emotional energy that surrounds us, and dwells within us. 

Being able to sense energy is crucial for a horse’s survival. When out in the wild, horses have to be able to sense the energy of their herd members, or possible predators, in order to know when a threat is present. When one horse starts building up their adrenaline to run, the entire herd knows that they need to run as well, or risk being caught/severely hurt by a predator.

How does being with horses empower us, humans, to show up authentically in our everyday lives?

As humans, we have mastered the skill of hiding our true emotions from others and ourselves. Otherwise, we leave ourselves vulnerable to criticism, judgment, and rejection. However, when we hide our true emotions, this also inhibits our ability to genuinely connect to another being, and only leads to more isolation and loneliness. When we are feeling one emotion internally, but expressing a completely different emotion externally, the horses recognize the discord, and that our energy is off or not quite right, which can be an unsettling feeling for them. Horses are more at ease when we acknowledge the same emotional energy that they are sensing from us, not when we are putting on our “everything is fine” mask.

There are many ways horses can communicate this incongruence to us. One way is for them to wait to connect with us until we acknowledge and embody, our true feelings. We can start digging deeper by asking ourselves questions such as: 

“What is one emotion that I’m feeling right now?”

“How does this show up in my physical body?” 

“What is the message that my emotions are carrying?” 

 “How can I give voice to my true emotions in a way that is healthy?”

Girl with horse outdoors.

With this vital information, horses are able to show us how our internal experiences impact our relationships with ourselves and others. When we are ready to acknowledge who we are, and what we feel, horses are there to provide us with a sense of safety, complete acceptance, and unconditional love. This authenticity is what fuels connection, which as social beings, is key to our survival, horses and humans alike. 

So although it is simple to use the analogy of horses acting as a mirror to our emotions, what they are actually doing is reacting to our internal experiences when we are unable to accept and acknowledge what we are genuinely feeling. Horses are able to provide us with a soft place to land in our authenticity and empower us to learn a new way of being.

If you’re interested in learning more about how horses can help in your therapy goals, reach out to schedule a free consultation.