Experiencing Body, Mind and Spirit with Horses

There is a voice that doesn't use words. Listen.

I rejoice in the knowledge of my biological uniqueness and my biological antiquity
and my biological kinship with all other forms of life.

Oliver Sacks, Gratitude

How can horses help humans?
I believe that horses can help us with whatever needs helping. They can illuminate issues or give us insights into the places that we are stuck - places of resistance or habits of body and mind that have become obstacles to our opening fully to our desires. Often that information is stored in the body. It can show up as pain or stiffness or a lack of feeling and joy. As my colleague and mentor Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen says, "There are no wrong postures, only positions we have forgotten how to come out of."

Horses mirror our physical and emotional expression and show us when we are "out of sync" - that is, when our inside feelings and outside behaviors are not in harmony. Unlike humans (or any predator), horses - as prey animals - are always congruent; their outward behavior matches their inner feeling. The non-judgmental presence of a horse can help us calm and ground ourselves physically and emotionally, and understand more clearly what we are communicating with our bodies and minds. Being seen and felt by a horse helps us to see ourselves more clearly, and develop a more conscious and compassionate inner awareness. This can dramatically shift your relationships at home and at work, and help you move toward what you desire.

Centering in the Heart
Shifting our consciousness and awareness from the brain to the heart brings us into a state of embodied attunement with the horse and ourselves. Engaging the brain first limits our ability to connect in a more embodied, holistic and intuitive way. When we project a heart-centered intention of caring, love and attention, our horses (or any being that we are with) can be more responsive, open, and affectionate.

According to Stephen Buhner, author of The Secret Teachings of Plants, this shift in the focus of awareness from thinking to sensory perception produces a transformational cascade that affects all of our physiological and cognitive functioning.

Thus this heart-centered, embodied way of being with our horses, ourselves, and all beings, dramatically shifts not only our relationships but also our own health and well-being.

Who can this work help?
  • Those who wish to feel greater confidence and pleasure in their personal and professional lives.
  • 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.

    About Paula:
    My background is that I am a choreographer and movement artist, and bring an improvisational perspective to all of my work with horses and humans. I believe that this approach offers an opportunity to deepen relationship by including our innate, intuitive creative selves. I am a Certified Laban Movement Analyst (CMA) and a registered Somatic Movement Educator and Therapist (RSME/T) accredited by ISMETA, the International Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Association. I am a Guild certified Tellington TTEAM practitioner and a Somatic Experiencing® practitioner, trained in the trauma recovery work developed by Dr. Peter Levine. My writings on movement and dance have been published in Contact Quarterly and I write a blog called Ride Dance Write. My book, Our Horses, Ourselves: Discovering the Common Body was published by Trafalgar Square Books in September 2017.

    Private sessions, classes, clinics:
    I am available to teach private sessions, workshops and clinics that focus on helping humans and horses find a clearer body-mind connection with each other. I can come to your facility, or I teach privately both in my movement studio in Kent, CT, in Cornwall, CT with the Mustang mare Izarra, or at the barn in Rhinebeck, NY with my horse partners Amadeo and Capprichio.
    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

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    Listen to Paula discuss "The Common Body" on the Somatic Summit

    Download The Wisdom of the Moving Body