Body-Mind Practices to Deepen Connection with the Horse & Ourselves

Prayer, by Stuart Kestenbaum, from Prayers & Run-on Sentences

Our problem - may I include you? - is that we
don't know how to start, how to just close
our eyes and let something dance between
our hearts and our lips, we don't know how
to skip across the room only for the joy of the leap.
We walk, we run but what happened to the skip
and its partner, the gallop, the useless and imaginary
way we could move through space, the horses we
rode before we knew how to saddle up, before we
had opinions about everything and just loved
the wind in our faces and the horizon in our eyes.

OUR HORSES, OURSELVES is an experiential learning class in which horses are co-teachers/facilitators for those who wish to develop a closer, more conscious and compassionate relationship with themselves by connecting with horses. Our Horses, Ourselves: Discovering the Common Body is also the name of my book.

My intention is to help humans find a deeper and more easeful relationship to their own bodies that supports them in having a more harmonious relationship with their horses and other two and four-legged beings in their lives.

OUR HORSES, OURSELVES is grounded in principles of listening and co-embodiment to experience a more collaborative, engaged relationship with the horse and oneself. Classes are focused on finding ease and attunement with the horse as we become more aware of our own bodies and find more pleasure and confidence in our movement and touch skills.

What does a session look like?
It starts by just being with the horse, noticing the their responses, and the tone of our own bodies and minds. Work can take place in the stable aisle, in the stall or in a larger enclosure. Each session has its own organic structure, sometimes involving touch, leading, or simple movement practices. We break things down into small, digestible steps, noticing when we are moving too quickly or asking too much of our equine partners or ourselves.

Classes may include support for those who are recovering from trauma, addiction, eating disorders, or deep-seated, long-standing concerns around self-worth and the ability to realize goals. Paula integrates her experience as a Somatic Movement Therapist and a Somatic Experiencing® practitioner (the trauma recovery work of Dr. Peter Levine) into her work with horses and clients.

Who can this work help?
  • Those who want to experience a more profound sense of connection and communication with their horses.
  • Those seeking a more authentic, conscious and compassionate relationship with their bodies.
  • Individuals suffering from injury, physical or emotional trauma, or recovering from addiction.
  • Children and adults on the autism spectrum.

    What will you learn?
  • How to track your body's and the horses's responses and how to listen and attune.
  • Build feelings of confidence, ease and a spirit of improvisation.
  • Connect with the horse using bodily practices that are intuitive and playful.
  • Learn how softness and listening can create physical and emotional balance.

    No previous riding or horse experience is necessary. All work is done on the ground.

    Workshop at Mountain Horse Farm

    From the participants:

    Thank you so much. I've learned how to be more centered with my body and within myself.
    Ariana, Dressage 4 Kids Summer Intensive Training Program

    Thank you for sharing all your knowledge with us. I look forward to reading your book and improving my balance!
    Tessa, Dressage 4 Kids, Summer Intensive Training Program

    Thank you for teaching me so much about bonding with my horse.
    Maddie, Dressage 4 Kids, Summer Intensive Training Program

    Yesterday was wonderful. Today, while at work, I would catch myself re-experiencing the feeling of warm weight against my side; the sense of chase and play and wonder; the expansive place of learning and feeling something quite new and unexpected; the awe as foreign transitioned to a fluidly familiar facet of self. Your gift as a guide to worlds unknown is astonishing and masterful. And the horses. I have no words. Thank you.
    Aislinn MacMaster

    [Your workshop] was truly an adventure of otherworldly experience. Over the past nine days, I have let the magic of the weekend marinate into my mind, body and soul and awaken my lost self. Surrendering to the moment and to your teachings on the weekend was a leap of faith for me in ways that words cannot express. How wonderful it was for me to be held in such gentle, caring space by your thoughtful, wise, and intuitive presence. All I can say is that, the exquisite flavors of adventure, discovery, courage, and enlightenment of your life essence have offered me a new vision of possibilities. I cannot possibly offer gratitude sufficient to the task of thanking you for your grace, guidance and wonder.

    WOW, WOW, WOW!!! What an amazing experience with such an incredible, articulate (in body, mind and spirit), intuitive, inspirational teacher with such a thoughtful and gentle touch. I want to thank you here for offering us such an incredible opportunity for enlightenment this weekend.

    I got back to the arena earlier this afternoon and Paula was flowing with the little ones [miniature ponies]. It was so beyond beautiful and magical I thought to myself "this is well worth the price of admission right here!" I could have watched Paula all afternoon. There is just something so transcendent about her movement and connection that ripples out this peaceful grounding energy into the space around her and beyond. She just floats in another world where physical form gets swept up in the flow of the eternal and body, mind and spirit become one with the Universal energy. Watching her draws you into that world and, for a moment, you can start to see. How amazing to have experienced the gift and gifts of Paula!


    Contact Paula to make an appointment for a private session or book a workshop.

    Find Our Horses, Ourselves: Discovering the Common Body
    at your Local Bookstore Here