It’s just past 9:30 a.m. on Monday at the Healing Equine Ranch in Agoura Hills as eight women are led through a morning meditation. The distant rumble of horse hooves permeate the ranch. The women take deep breaths in and out to prepare their minds for the day’s activities.
The meditation is part of Horse Mornings, a program offered at the ranch that focuses on the benefits of the interaction between humans and horses. By slowing down and getting away from the fast-paced and high-tech world, participants of the program can develop skills and awareness that can enhance their personal relationships, business relationships, self esteem, communication and leadership qualities.
On the first day of the program, participants observe horses in their natural herd setting. After identifying the qualities of a good herd leader, participants choose which horse they want to work with that day. Then they build a relationship with that horse and start learning ways of communicating with it.
“Horses are born followers, they’re going to follow the leader,” said Kiki Ebsen, owner of the Healing Equine Ranch and a former CSUN student.
There is a Horse Mornings program for women and men. There, participants learn how pressure can affect a horse’s behavior. Ebsen teaches participants how to use pressure and the release of pressure to create space.
There are different ways of creating that pressure based on the personality of the horse. Sometimes it can be a slight step forward which crosses into the horse’s personal boundary causing the horse to move backward or a less subtle waving of the arms.
When Ebsen and her longtime friend Terry Carroll began offering the program in 2010, they noticed that all the people signing up were women.
“We discovered that it was becoming a safe place for women to share and process with like-minded women,” Ebsen said.
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