Day 4: Costa Rican Equine Adventure
With Michelle Mantor
PetTalk Editor’s Costa Rica Equine Adventure – Day 4
We start the day at 7am with yoga on a platform overlooking the horse ring. I really want to go learn how to milk the cow, which is every morning at 7, but so is yoga and I opt for what I need versus what I want.
It’s very centering work to practice yoga and feels good when we are done and ready to have a hearty breakfast – if yo think you are coming here to lose weight, you’re in the wrong place. The food is so good and healthy that I am eating more than usual but we are also going non-stop everyday. I am literally struggling just to find 30 minutes a day to write this blog and answer email. I suppose I would not call this a vacation as much as an equine workshop with various adventures but it is not a lay around by the pool having rum drinks kind of vacation (which is what I often do).
Today we split into our two groups again, head to our various rings and sit down to do a mandala about our emotions (a diagram, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically). As we do this exercise, we keep in mind the main values that the Eponaquest program embodies are: authenticity over perfection, being inquisitive over just accepting “the way things are” and being congruent rather than conforming (be true to yourself).
We work in our group by having discussions about various aspects of our lives or personalities – for instance, what is a daily challenge that we face? We work through this session, which is facilitated by our leader and we begin to understand how the horses can see “our real self”, not the masked self we might show the world. For example, if I have just gotten a phone call that my car needs $3000 in repairs before I head into the ring to work with my horse, my emotions are going to influence the situation. Let’s say my emotion is anger. The minute I am in my horses space, he/she may not want to work with me today, may be agitated, not do what I ask, etc. because the anger I am trying to hide on the outside is still flowing through my energy and horses read/sense energy.
After scanning our bodies through a process with the facilitator, we work on visualizing the goal we have with our horses for this exercise, which is to greet our horse, get them to walk, then trot, then slow to a walk, change directions, trot, walk then join up with us. To do this, we use our energy – amp up the horse to trot and then bring our energy down, signifying we want them to walk. I’m simplifying this process for the sake of this blog but each of us had a different experience – some easy, some difficult – but we are all learning to control our energy and see what affect it has on another sentient being which teaches us a great deal in how we handle our relationships, both personal and professional.
Suzy – my horse that picked me day 1 – and I work together and everything goes almost too well..I can’t believe I’ve gotten her to do all of these things and then join up with me…almost. She starts to join up then stops. I swear I had this little doubt in my mind just when I asked her to join up and then she stopped. Oh great, I have a mind reading horse LOL! We work a little more and we finally join up and she follows me around the ring to my chair where I sit to receive feedback from the group.
When I leave the ring, I’m in astonishment. I have used my energy, at varying levels, to control and affect everything around me. Seeing this concept in a real life situation with an animal is so cool. I process this as I happily walk up the hill to my massage (part of the package). Yes, this hillside retreat offers much more than an equine adventure, massage, good food and great companions – it offers a mirror to my true self.