Many influences from the field of equine assisted therapy had a profound impact on my approach to working with horses. Most notably, attending Barbara Rector’s Adventures in Awareness training in Arizona shifted my awareness of horses as sentient beings with important lessons to teach humans. I became resolved to figure out how to train horses in a way that honored this enhanced perception. Along the way I came to realize it is the humans, not the horses, who need the most training.
As Equine Specialist for a therapeutic center, it was my responsibility to ensure our horses were up to their task. I realized that what these valuable colleagues needed was not so much training but ways to help them recover from the mental and physical strains of their job. This led me to the Masterson Method and an understanding of how I can help horses release tension that they are holding in mind and body. Not only did this approach help our therapy horses, it transformed how I perceived training. Rather than focusing on what I could make the horses do, I began to focus on what could be released to open the channels of connection and harmonious movement.
The practice of yoga was a crucial element in recovering from my own physical and emotional traumas. The more I practiced, the more I realized how beneficial yoga is for horsemanship and riding. I became a registered yoga teacher so that I could share these valuable lessons with my equestrian students.
In conclusion, Heart Centered Horsemanship is more than just a technique for training horses; it is a way of life that involves a deep understanding and respect for these magnificent animals. This approach emphasizes the importance of positive experiences shared between horse and rider, and acknowledges the horse as a sentient being capable of teaching humans valuable lessons. Through her experiences as a PATH Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor, an Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning, and a registered yoga teacher, Stacey has come to realize that the key to successful horsemanship lies in the connection and harmonious movement between horse and rider. By incorporating elements of equine assisted therapy, yoga, and mutual learning with horses, Heart Centered Horsemanship provides a holistic approach to creating mutually beneficial relationships with our equine companions.