As a twin, Selah was devastated by the death of her brother, Joel. At age 21, Joel was taken suddenly in a workplace accident.  In the 17 years that followed, Selah found comfort and healing through her strong Christian faith, her family and friends.

She is an accomplished professional woman, close with her family and a leader in her community. So, back in early October, when she started a one-on-one EAL session, she was unprepared for the fresh healing she would experience.

The session started with Selah simply leading a horse around in a pen. She then identified a few people who were impactful in her life. Each one was assigned an item such as a pylon or chair to represent them. She mentioned her former boyfriend, her parents and her brother. When it came time to have a conversation, she walked to the chair representing her brother and sat down. She shared about what it was like growing up together. The ways they would play together as children. How they were close as teens, and how Joel was always there as a protector as she moved into adulthood.

As she shared these emotional times, we saw the horse, a mare named Zoe, standing at ease. Zoe was close, with her head near Selah’s shoulder. She had a hind leg resting in a sign of relaxation and her breathing was slow and steady.

Then, Selah described the day of Joel’s passing. As she told us of the accident and the phone calls she received, Selah began to cry and the sadness and pain was clear on her face. Zoe moved closer and put her muzzle above Selah’s head. Pulsing streams of breath cascaded over Selah, white clouds in the cold morning air. As Selah described the moment of death, Zoe lifted her head and looked to the sky for a moment, then brought her head back down over Selah’s. Selah was sobbing by this point and Zoe’s body was squared up, not resting, yet still peaceful and strong. Her abdomen began to expand with big, heaving pulses as her breath became sobs to match Selah.

Slowly, as Selah’s pain eased, Zoe’s breathing calmed and she took a step back. Her head lowered to Selah’s lap and her body took a relaxed posture again.

As Selah explained after, she had done a great deal of healing work to deal around the death of her brother, but this was a completely new and powerful healing experience, unlike any she had ever been through.

Equine-assisted learning can make a difference in healing from trauma and other difficult life experiences when you meet with a coach privately or in group.

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