One of the most common questions people ask me is how I ended up running my equine therapy program. They are often surprised to hear that I did not grow up with horses and only started working with horses in my early twenties. But they are even more surprised to hear that my journey began in earnest, with my dreams.
Like many little girls, I was obsessed with the idea of owning my own horse and riding off into some unknown wilderness beyond my neighborhood. I would pour over horse books, tote my little sister around on my back as if I were a horse, and my mother would book the occasional birthday trail ride for me and a few lucky friends. But that was about the extent of my equine experience.
Fast forward through a horse-less life, all the way to my first year of graduate studies at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, California. I had made a huge leap of faith and began a graduate program in Depth Psychology. It was a commuter program, so my cohort mates, and myself from St. Augustine, would fly in from all around the country. We stayed on campus, which was an old monastery tucked away in the Santa Barbara hills.
I was not yet halfway through my first year of studies when it began. One night I started having the most intense and vivid dreams about horses. Every night they would come; leaving me to fixate on their meaning and reason for overwhelming my dreams. This went on for months. It was a relentless, and disruptive phenomena. Finally, when I realized the horses were not going away, I decided to go and find them in my waking world.
I began working at a small barn in Hastings, Florida, mucking stalls in exchange for learning about the horse and riding time. My studies in Depth Psychology began to weave themselves into my experiences with the horses, and the two threads braided themselves together into what I can only describe as my Vocation, my calling. My doctoral work revolved around the horse-human relationship from a Depth Psychological perspective.