The spike in mass shootings is causing many parents heightened concerns about their kids exhibiting intense anger and being more disconnected from themselves and the world around them.
Paula Lambie, who with her husband Pete, founded the HHB (Human Horse Balance) Healing Foundation in Center Conway, N.H. in 2017, uses a technique that has proven helpful to many in conquering life’s challenges. With the assistance of their rescue horses, they are able to raise consciousness teaching others more about themselves, to recognize each individual’s unique courage, inner strengths and ability for connection. The human and equine relationship has been studied to help kids, teens and adults cope with life challenges. Paula utilizing her unique combination of skills has developed an effective method of horse coaching to this end. “We all need a sense of belonging and spiritual connectedness,” she says. Her results demonstrate that horses connect people.
Unlike therapeutic riding, coaching does not actually involve riding. Instead, it’s about discovering that connection with the horse. “When a child breathes over the head of a horse, the horse connects his breathing to that of the human,” explains Paula. “It’s about opening up the potential of healing and the heart connection.” It’s about opening your heart and giving the horse a big hug. It’s about overcoming fear and post-traumatic stress.
Many of the kids Paula works with are “so shutdown.” That’s why she creates a safe haven and teaches them to feel what it’s like to be in their own body and “to feel the unconditional love from the horses.”
Lambie, who learned her craft in the Netherlands where she grew up, now lives in Center Conway, N.H. She has rescued all of her horses and taught them about love and connection just as they now do for the kids who participate in her therapeutic equine-assisted learning.
Why not approach each day as the horses do? They wake up each morning, go for a walk and feel grateful. The horses are all rescues that have been abused and had PTSD like the kids they are helping to heal. The kids relate to the parallels of abuse and neglect in each horse’s story.
Adding an extra dimension is the coach who is trained in the practice of equine-assisted learning. Paula and Pete help participants learn how to receive what a horse can teach, and then how to integrate these lessons into life beyond the horse arena. They enable the forging of positive relationships between horses and those being coached. That translates into higher self-esteem and self-confidence beyond their time with the horse.
Horses have unique characteristics which contribute to a distinct human-animal interaction. They have evolved as intuitive, sensitive creatures that motivate strength and calmness. Empowering kids to free themselves of fear, no matter what challenges they face, is fundamental to their mission.
“The kids learn self-confidence and feel a sense of belonging and safety,” Paula says. “I’m a conduit but the horses make it easier. I’m a translator with the horses. I tune in and everything unfolds. The horses are the healers and teachers.”
She insists she’s not a horse whisperer, but rather a teacher, who describes her role as a bridge between people and horses,” or as she prefers, “a conduit,” linking our inner and outer soul.
“We offer the tools the kids can use when they are not here,” explains her husband, Pete.
“Tilly, one of the horses, helped me to feel loved, reassured and understood in a way that no person could,” said 12-year-old, Hailley. The kids and the horses are partners in healing in this story of connection.
“Set an intention; Slow the energy down,” says Paula in a coaching session where the energy is one of calm. “Talk to the horse that speaks to you.”
“Horse Coaching” helps each person to stay in the present moment and to connect to self, the horse and to others. They feel safe at the ranch.
“It’s almost instantaneous with the first session,” observes David Lynch, LSCW and Exec. Dir of the Foundation. “The youth feels a strong bond with the horse. The unconditional acceptance the horses give is truly remarkable, something these kids have never known.”
Horses build self-confidence. Kids who once lacked self-confidence now run to meet the school bus. “It’s about building trust, respect and confidence,” says Paula. “ And, the heart connection follows. It’s intuitive.”
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