Recording available. Dr Adrian Hayes, psychiatrist and psychotherapist, introduced the broad categories of psychiatric medication…
Pam Billinge proved to be an excellent, inspirational speaker and writer, engaging us with her passion for the horse’s ability to tune into human emotion and the healing impact this has had on her and her clients. Pam has recently written a book about these experiences, and she opened the seminar with a short reading from the book, which left all of us silent and moved. She described how, after her brother died suddenly at the age of 52, her horse Ruby, from far away, came to comfort her in her moment of grief :
Grief jolted me, its dark shadow smothering the brightness [of the morning]. Far away, Ruby lifted her head high, curving her neck to look at me. She hesitated, alert, then sprung into a canter, a dew trail marking her path towards me. Ruby stood with me, her soft muzzle on my arms, tickling my wet, salty face with her whiskers, as if inhaling my sadness. She let me sink into her and stayed until I took my arms from around her and hugged myself. Ruby had come when I needed her, sensing it from a long way.
I understood then, with absolute certainty, that the ability of the horse to sense emotion, energy and spirit is beyond what most of the human world realises. There is no mistake – these incredible creatures can tune into the silent vibration of a breaking heart from afar.
Pam went on to describe how horses are the gateway to the natural world and the spiritual universe in ways which we don’t fully understand. What we do know is, firstly, that they are prey animals and therefore acutely attuned to the need to stay safe, sensing danger from afar and communicating this within the herd. Secondly, they have an ability to magnetise and mimic human emotion as well as group dynamics, a feat which has been documented. Thirdly, the horse can help humans access our right-brain, non-verbal, emotional realm, and bypass the rational, verbal and self-limiting scripts of the left-brain. It has been researched that a human, when located in the proximity of a horse (even from a distance), will experience a reduction in his/her heart rate, and that after a short time the horse’s and the human’s heart rate will synchronise. Horses can help us become more “embodied”, which Pam defined as “being present in every cell of your body”. When we step into our body we naturally feel more alive.
Pam told us in detail about some of her client work with horses (identity of clients always disguised, as is in her book), all of which were humbling, gentle and moving. It was revealed and explained how horse-led therapy seems to be able to quickly decipher a deeper, central issue for the client; issues that may have previously been missed in long-term traditional therapy. The client’s unconscious may become revealed and magnified very quickly by the interaction with the horse (right-brain to right-brain communication).
This was a fascinating and extremely moving seminar which brought to life the beauty and spirituality of these amazing creatures.
We were thrilled to receive 5 out of 5 on all feedback forms for both “quality of speaker” (Pam Billinge) and “organisation of event”!
You can also read my summary of our past event with Pam Billinge in 2015 (which included work in the paddock with her horses) – an introduction to equine-assisted therapy.
I wish to thank Pam and all delegates for their personal contributions to, and feedback of, this event.
By: Wendy Bramham
Delegates’ Feedback Comments
“I appreciated the case material, and felt a shared, moving experience within the room.”- Mandy Fisher, CAMHS
“Amazing experience, wonderful to hear Pam’s words” – Debbie Kelly
“Pam is truly connecting and inspiring – thank you” – Angy, Newbury & Marlborough
“Fabulous all the way”
“I enjoyed the real life examples very much. Many things were opened up for me” – Diana Burr
“I could listen for a week to Pam!”
“Pam was an excellent speaker. A very relaxed, informative and enjoyable morning” – Rebecca Jenkins, Lincolnshire
“All really interesting and thought provoking” – Catherine, Lincolnshire