Equine assisted coaching
Since I read the books of Linda Kohanov on equine assisted coaching I have been very interested in this kind of interaction with horses. According to Kohanov, and many other researchers, horses have a very unique quality, they are able to reflect our behavior, acting like a mirror for us so that we can see and examine our own actions and behavior.
In equine assisted coaching, a coach and a horse or horses work together to show new ways of developments to individuals and also groups. This type of coaching is used privately but also business-wise, then teams of colleagues can learn how to make progress in their cooperation and how to reach goals together.
Through Carin van Oekel from Huis van Herkomst (House of Heritage), a coach for a different method, I learned about Charlotte Van Iersel of CV Coaching. CV represents Charlotte and Vlerk, her 30 years old Dutch warmblood gelding and her main partner in equine assisted coaching.
I booked a session with this team and asked Saskia Klaassen, my friend and my husband with me. That day our daughter was away so we only took our son with us, making us a team of four people that were anxious about the coaching.
On a beautiful sunny day we met Charlotte and her horses. Charlotte is a very nice lady, enthusiastic and a very gentle and dedicated coach. When she vividly tells me how she learned about equine assisted coaching the enthusiasm surrounds us like a very nice hug. Due to her sparkling personality and genuine interest in people, she succeeded in raising interest in her employer too. Charlotte is an employee at Achmea and in return for their support, she coaches employees and even complete teams. Her employer recognizes the qualities in Charlotte and gives her great opportunities to develop her skills. To me it sounds like a dream coming true and I can clearly see why Charlotte is able to raise this flow of good energy to do what she is destined to do.
The first remarkable event happens when we first meet the horses in the pasture. They are far away from us, grazing peacefully in a warm sunshine. While there are four horses in this life painting we can only see three of them. Charlotte takes a long look at them and then returns to us, “Is there someone not here?” she asks us. After a short moment of hesitation Saskia starts to tell Charlotte that we had sadly put our horse Samira to sleep last year and we all miss her dearly. Charlotte looks at her horses as they continue their grazing, then she asks us, “but is there someone else missing too?”. Then I explain how our daughter is away for a sleep-over with her uncle. Charlotte smiles and knods, “ah yes, that was it,” and she points towards the horses, we can see now four horses grazing together. We’re totally amazed by this and more of this is going to happen at this wonderful afternoon.
Together with Charlotte and her horses we discover how we sadly miss Samira and how one of us is afraid that the bond between us will be negatively affected by this tragic event. But during this session we all learn that we are one big family, relatives or not and that together, it is possible to make mutual dreams coming true. One of my dreams is to buy a farm in Spain and to become a writing team with Saskia. I have a picture in my mind of us together and writing on our porch in Andalusian sunshine and still do this when we are old and retired. By means of my PhD traject I already have a chance to become a researcher and writer and after the session, Saskia got the opportunity to become a writer at a wonderful magazine about horse genetics.
The most beautiful part of the session is at the end of it, when we all expressed our wishes and worries and we explored each other’s role in our little family. Also my husband has a significant role in our horse-crazy company. He loves horses as much as we do but in his own way. The very remarkable ending of this session is when Saskia and I standing in front of each other after all we have said and learned from each other. While standing there, a little clumsy maybe and also uncomfortable with certain feelings of affection, one of the horses walks up to Saskia and starts pushing her in her back. Charlotte smiles and asks us with a grin, “Isn’t there something you both would like to do?” Emotionally handicapped adults as we are we shrug, “Well..no..why..what?”. Then the horse gets tired of our clumsiness and with a big firm push he throws Saskia off her feet and she lands in my arms. Then we hug and smile and the horse walks away, continuing to his peaceful grazing.
This day with Charlotte and her horses has been one of the most fantastic horse events of my life. Equine assisted coaching with Charlotte and her horses is definitely something special.
More information about Charlotte and equine assisted coaching: