It is no secret that I am horse-crazy; and now I am starting to understand why.

 Lissa (my future horse)

Lissa (my future horse)

While my passion for horses has always been present, I've been less vocal about it in the past as I haven't had a reliable outlet. Yes, there was that time I escaped to the southwest to be a cowgirl for a summer, but that quickly became a past-tense event as I'd returned to urban life by September, and then had become a full-time mom by the following spring. So it wasn't until my son entered kindergarten last fall that my thoughts found their way back to horses.

I found  Equine Aid through, of all places, LinkedIn. They were seeking volunteers to help with the usual set of equine needs: barn chores, training and riding. Excitedly I signed up, but quickly forgot about it until, 6 months later, one of the founders called me to start the following week.

And it was pure love, right from the start. 

A bit about Equine Aid: the official organization was founded in 2010 by Doug Arneson and Geri Vincent, but unofficially, it started in 1999 when the couple bought a farm and started saving animals (3 horses, 2 donkeys) out of the goodness of their hearts. They now have 29 equines (19 horses, 3 ponies and 7 donkeys – there are also chickens, ducks, cats and dogs); some are sanctuary animals (they have their "forever home" at the Rescue, due to having high-cost medical needs), some are in-training, and some are potential adoptees

 Soda (adoptable) and Little Big (sanctuary)

Soda (adoptable) and Little Big (sanctuary)

"Equine Aid is a labor of love and hope," says Geri. And that's what comes across. The entire organization is volunteer-run (the founders don't draw a salary, and financially fill in the gaps when funding is short), and any volunteer you ask would freely say they do it for the love of the animals. That, at least, is the motivating factor at the conscious level.

What's interesting is what's happening at an unconscious level: the healing of wounds, both for the animals and the humans who care for them.

This healing relationship between horses and the people has been well known for ages in the equine world, but recent studies about the energetic field of the human heart are starting to explain why. According to the HeartMath Institute, "There is a direct relationship between the heart-rhythm patterns and the spectral information encoded in the frequency spectra of the magnetic field radiated by the heart." In other words, the rhythm of your heartbeat is dependent upon what emotion you're feeling, and that rhythm influences other energetic frequencies around it...even other people's heart energy fields. Where this research gets most fascinating is around "coherence", that is, the discovery that there is an optimal rhythm for the heartbeat that creates "smooth, ordered and sine-wavelike patterns". (1)

Apparently this optimal rhythm wastes no energy as it creates a system that allows all organs to perform optimally. It also creates a "receptive state", so a host with a coherent heartbeat is more sensitive to receiving information from the magnetic fields generated by others, thus increasing empathy and even intuition.

 The elusive – and stunning – Aspen (sanctuary)

The elusive – and stunning – Aspen (sanctuary)

The best part? The optimal heartbeat rhythm is created by the intentional choice to feel positive emotions such as compassion, care, and love.

This coherence gets really interesting is when animal and human interact: 

"The researchers also have found that a type of heart-rhythm synchronization can occur in interactions between people and animals. [A particular example] involved a woman sitting in a corral with her horse without physical contact. The woman consciously shifted into a coherent state, and the horse’s heart rhythm pattern also shifted to a more ordered pattern. The collected data suggested that, unlike humans, the horses almost always stay in a state of coherence and that when horses move out of coherence, they are quick to move back into it."
 Bailey (adoptable!)

Bailey (adoptable!)

In other words, the horse and woman were able to have a mutually healing affect on each other. In the woman's case, her conscious choice to feel joyful emotions positively influenced the energetic field of the horse; while in horses' case, they are more easily able to be in that state naturally, but when out of it, humans (and other horses) are able to help them return to it.

As this topic dovetails nicely with a new potential direction for Equine Aid, I encourage you to read my marketing post on strategic positioning work I'm doing with the organization as well.

[Many thanks to EponaSoul.org for their cogent writings on this fascinating topic! Also, if you are moved by this story and would like to sponsor an equine, adopt an equine, donate materials or financial contributions, or volunteer, you can do so at www.equineaid.org].

Much joy to you and yours,

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