From my first glimpse of a horse as a young child, I have always been drawn to the company of equines, great and small. Every Xmas and birthday, I asked for a horse. Every opportunity for a pony ride or to hang out with a friend with a horse was taken and cherished. Every chance to take a carrot to the horse in the nearby paddock and every afternoon lost just sitting in the paddock watching “Coda”, a neighbourhood horse, eat, listening to her snorts and the warmth of her breath was a moment of pure joy for me.
I was an academic child, and as I grew and focused on my studies, my time with neighbourhood and friends’ horses slowly came to an end. Hours were filled with study and more study and human friendships. I did well at school, went to university, and in just over a decade had completed 4 degrees. My first in Arts (small homage to the free spirit of the child who connected with Coda), and the rest in areas of clinical Psychology including a Doctorate in Child and Family Psychology. I worked hard, married, set up my own business, and focussed on a human centric life.
Ten years ago, I started to look back and those moments with Coda were italicised for me. I talked my husband, Murray, into taking a riding lesson with me at a local riding school, and my passion reignited with fervour. Less than six months later I met the great love of my life – “Kalif ” – a then 18 year old Arabian prince with the spirit of a lion, the courage to try everything, the patience of a saint, and a gentle heart. When I shared moments with him, my heart came alive, and I felt connected to the world. I found the joy, freedom and sense of adventure I had lost so many years ago as a young girl.
Observing Kalif and his gift for enjoying Nature and the simpler things in life, a nap in a sun soaked meadow, a nuzzle and a scratch, a run around the paddock, wide eyed and tail streaming like a banner, a quiet evening standing together under the stars, peaceful and content with just each other for company helped me face the demands of a very intensive professional life.
Being with him, taking care of him gave me a wonderful opportunity to contemplate, resource and revitalise. Kalif was eventually joined by more horses, each with its own story, personality and gift.
Living with my herd, getting to know them, observing their inter-actions with each other and our connection, I became aware that my love for horses has evolved over time. Today, my relationship with them has undergone a metamorphosis into something different, more experiential, more connected, and more like that pure bond I felt with Coda, the first horse I met.
Being with my horses brought curiosity, excitement, joy and a sense of fulfilment into my life and I found I wanted to share this experience with my clients. I was looking for something more to offer my clients beyond medication/CBT and basic psychotherapeutic work. I was looking for a way to integrate my non-professional passion with animals and horses in particular with my life as a Clinical Psychotherapist.
I found the answer with Equine Psychological Therapy. As a Clinical Psychotherapist, I found the technical process of Equine Psychological Therapy meshed well with my existing clinical approach. I had always been a little eclectic and opened in my work anyway, and the idea of horses as “co-therapists”and facilitators appealed to me.
I knew Equine Psychological Therapy could be very effective from working with children and adolescents, having had clients bring kittens, puppies or teddy bears into sessions with positive results in catalysing emotional responses and thoughts.
This how Equine Psychology at Epona Brae came to be. My husband and I have been here since 2011 and have set up stables, safe paddocks, an office for rumbled work with a “parent retreat” waiting room, a floodlit manége (arena), and have 2 large semi-treed pastures for riding or therapy work.
We look forward to sharing Epona Brae with you.