One of the participants in our Equine Facilitated Learning session shared with us a thought I return to over and over again. We had just finished a “pasture” exercise that entails participants entering the field where horses are at liberty. The participant’s only job is to observe which horse they are drawn to and note their response to that horse if approached.

The participant described in a drawn and tentative manner how she had tried to attract a certain horse. She talked about “wanting the horse to like me” and being anxious that it would not. And, in fact, the horse had seemed to respond to her in a tentative way.

We asked her what the difference would feel like if she was trying to “connect” to the horse. She described, and her body demonstrated, how different the energy of “connecting” would be: she stood much more comfortably and exuded a more “at ease” energy.

The group then began to share how they feel when they are trying to “get approval” and how uncomfortable and disempowering that feels. Interestingly, several shared that when they pick up on that energy from someone, rather than feeling powerful, they feel uncomfortable, as if they are being given too much responsibility for someone else’s feelings.

As they talked, we watched the group begin to naturally connect through this shared experience and through the “acceptance” each felt as they offered up their feelings. We also noticed how the horses came closer to the fence, even hanging their heads over the wire to get closer to the group.

Remember this the next time you want to connect…and do not mistakenly ask for approval.

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