With the permission of our retreat guests, here are some of the works they wrote on the day:
Feeling relaxed and pleased after the yoga session, I enter the heavy horse paddock with mixed emotions. I’m curious and excited to meet Sam and Otto, but nagging doubts threaten my peace of mind. “Will they take to me?”, “Will I be the only one they don’t approach?”, “Will they step on me?”.
Sharing my chosen bale of straw, I wait – my fears evaporating as Otto approaches. The majesty of these towering Clydesdales is awe-inspiring, yet their gentleness is immediately evident. Otto’s ‘Poirot’ moustache takes any solemnity out of the moment as the meditation starts. Katherine’s reassuring voice fills my ears and my senses are alert and alive. As the meditation begins to flow, Otto starts ripping the straw out of the bale between me and Suzanne, and munches contentedly with his massive grinding molars. Showered with stray strands of straw, I smile inwardly at his lack of ‘stage fright’.
I am starting to slip into an altered state when I feel Otto’s soft lips gently caressing my open cupped hands, swiftly followed by a delicate kiss on my forehead. Such joy floods through my whole being as I am transported deeper into the meditation.
I listen unconsciously to Katherine’s words, marvelling at the colours dancing before my inner eyes. I am in such a dreamy state yet, paradoxically, alert to every new sound, smell and sensation – the gloriously sweet smell of Otto’s straw-laden breath; the intermittent frantic buzz of a solitary fly; the diversity of bird song and the dulcet breeze ruffling my hair.
I am in a blissful state as I sense the energy and vibration of these glorious meditating heavy horses. My heart opens, not under instruction but as an involuntary response to the love that pervades the paddock and the group.
Time is suspended. I’m aware and present while also somewhere else. Normally, I would have to laugh at Sam’s delicate flatulence, but this moment transcends normal responses. I am aware enough to know that this is a very special experience. I am filled with awe and gratitude.
I am so excited as I drive to Debbie’s. The Yoga, the horses and yes even then writing!! Will I have anything to write about? Or will my mind be blank? As soon as I turn into the lane off the busy road I feel calm and peaceful, my body takes deeper breaths. I arrive to a beautiful smile from Debbie waiting excitedly at the gate.
This place is special, not just the amazing views or the beautiful sounds of nature but I feel love, a warm accepting genuine Love.
The yoga is great just what I needed, stretching my body and quietening my mind. But the horses are something else!
My mind empties, my body stills and I feel energy vibrating through my body in waves. I can fell the presence of my Mum which fills my heart with joy. Then Katherine takes us back to our childhood home and I am in the lounge, I can see everything clearly. Such mixed emotions.
And through all this I can smell the wonderful distinctive smell of horses hooves, you will only know what I mean if you have ever picked up a horses hoof!
The smell makes me smile. I’m aware of the horses, the sound of the horses but the smell of the feel is the strongest sense.
It makes me happy, horses make me happy.
I love writing, I have decided! What a wonderful gift to give yourself. Time to think, time to stop, time to think who you are.
I’m sat on a bale of hay why? I draw into my nostrils the strong farmyard smells as I breathe in deeply and begin to unwind. A fresh wind brushes wisps of hair across my face tickling me slightly and a cacophony of birds tweet their songs, reverberating within my ears. Just a few feet from where I sit, a gentle giant clips and scrapes his huge hooves across the rough concrete but I feel no fear. Calmness protrudes the air and wraps around me like a cloak. The hypnotic peaceful ambiance has relaxed my busy mind and I feel at one with myself, safe and protected – I’m mediating with horses.
Arriving at a destination that belonged in a storybook, (Narnia or Alice in Wonderland springs to mind), who knew what adventures would await us?
It was an adventure that fulfilled and delivered, from the yoga to the delicious picnic lunch, but my favourite part had to be the horses.
Meditation with horses. I was intrigued to find out more. The sheer size of them, the gentle giants of the countryside, was enough to capture that first initial interest.
I, myself, was on a voyage of self discovery. Who knows what emotions this exercise would release?
My first initial feeling was anticipation. Not as strong as fear, but more of wariness.
I stroked the horses beforehand, and, although I was aware of their size, I felt protected and calm.
Throughout my meditation I experienced a wide range of emotions. Each time I felt uneasy, unsure or even fearful, I opened my eyes and the horses were there. I was immediately transported back to my relaxed state, fearful no more.
Afterwards I stroked the horses, Sam and Otto, and thanked them. The experience itself is magical and I recommend it to all.