It took 45 minutes before she even got on the horse.
The first thing Cedar's new horseback riding instructor, our neighbor who was described to me as a "horse whisperer", began to explain was what causes fear in a horse and how it is important to behave in a certain way to allow the horse to feel safe.
Then, Cedar went off with her new teacher while I observed from the shade. What I watched was magical and a masterful process of relationships being built, both between Cedar and her teacher and Cedar and her new horse friend, Amore.
My inexperience around horses didn't consider the importance of building such a connection, but it made perfect sense. To keep Cedar safe, the horse must feel safe. The horse being sensitive as it is could likely also pick up on whether Cedar was feeling fear. Everyone in the relationship must feel safe.
I watched and listened as Cedar's instructor spoke about intention, connection, and feeling the horse. I didn't fully grasp what equine therapy was about, but in just this one lesson, I could feel what healing could come through the relationship of a horse.
It was such a beautiful representation of how safe relationships are created. Create a safe container so both in the dynamic feel able to release the fear and protectors.
I had no expectations of what this lesson would be. Cedar had wanted to ride a horse since we arrived in Costa Rica, and it just so happened that our neighbor offered lessons. However, I was so blown away by it.
I'm in the midst of doing the program that has been a transformative process for John (Training Camp for the Soul). It's also blowing my mind.
It's a program that teaches us how to access, release, and heal the wounds and traumas that we protect ourselves from feeling and which therefore cannot be released. In order to access those wounds and traumas, we prime ourselves for safety, just like the horse needs to be. Normally, the horse is always on guard to protect itself from predators. It must be primed for safety to open up to that relationship. Similarly, we learn to be on guard. We must let down that guard to release what we are protecting.
We go back next Friday for Cedar to continue the relationship-building and magic with Amore.