When have you had an opportunity to be part of something new – something still in its infancy where it hasn’t yet received wide-spread recognition? How often did the existence or lack of a community surrounding it impede or increase the chances of its success?
Working in the high tech sector for a number of years, I had the opportunity to be involved as new technologies were brought to market. While other companies were also pursuing the same, what was missing was community – true camaraderie across vendors where we worked together and supported the market toward a common goal. Rather we found ourselves in the typical competitive landscape. We were all trying to sell the same advantages against one another, preying upon the sacred few technology adopters, tripping upon one another in the process.
This past weekend I had the chance to experience true solidarity amongst people bringing relatively new work to the ‘market’ in a collaborative way. A global contingency of 100 people collected in Colorado bringing various levels of knowledge together in the field of Equine Experiential Learning and Therapy.
As with any field, different types of approaches and practices exist. While many people could’ve viewed themselves as competitors, to this community it didn’t matter. Attendees recognized and accepted the merit of one approach versus the other and remained open to receive the contribution that each brought. What bound everyone together was the respect and recognition for the gift that horses offer humans while genuinely supporting one another in the pursuit of this field. We truly felt and behaved as a cohesive community.
What remains potent for me were the horses from Zuma’s Rescue Ranch in Littleton, CO who were used in demonstrations throughout the weekend. They were horses who’d been neglected, abused, or tossed aside at the hands of their humans, and yet each showed the ability and willingness to partner alongside us, supporting our personal and professional growth path. Even to those of us already practicing in the field, the ‘awe’ wasn’t lost as we watched countless demonstrations of people rediscovering themselves in new and powerful ways working alongside horses. These amazing animals also became part of our unified community.
The ‘Healing with Horses’ symposium was successful for the tireless hours dedicated to it by the event’s herd leader Dr. Jennifer Oikle, supported by those who work passionately to bring this work to the greater population each and every day. The event offered hope not only for this growing field but optimism for what can be achieved when humans come together in what Linda Kohanov refers to as the “Power of the Herd” – delivering the strength, focus, emotional and physical connection to lead in a way that horses have been relying upon for their existence for millions of years. We have much to learn from the way of the horse and I’m thrilled to be a benefactor and facilitator of this work together with the support of the larger community – horse and humans together. What if a little more Power of the Herd was exemplified in family, community, business and government? Imagine the possibilities!