Cultivating Emotional Competence Through Equine Connection

Renee Sievert
July 2021

 

If life is a three-act play, I’m moving into my Third Act. A milestone birthday is approaching, and I feel so young! I have so much still to learn and do! I love saying YES to life.


From one perspective, our lives are a series of experiences and choices. Lately, I’ve been reviewing mine. Some experiences included hard lessons – and losses. My grandmother died the week I was graduating from high school. I married young and was a widow at the age of 23. We might have had some amazing adventures! My mother died six years after that. She was a nurse and loved horses, and I feel her with me often. I’ve now lived longer than she did. Facing these losses in my 20’s made me stronger and contributed to the path I chose.

 

      I said YES to bringing my dad to live with me in his last years of life. He died four years ago, and I was at his side, every day, in palliative care. I cherish all these experiences, even though the grief was at times unbearable.


      I said YES to love. It took eighteen years, and a bit of “looking for love in all the wrong places,” but I did get married again! He’s a real sweetheart.


      I said YES to a life of service. I chose to work with addicts and alcoholics in treatment, and later with individuals living with HIV/AIDS. I spent a lot of time with people facing the end of their lives.  It changed the way I live. They taught me so much. Saying YES to those choices led me to be a kind and compassionate person. 


      I said YES to life-long learning. I started college two weeks after high school graduation (okay, I might have been running away from my grief and my small town, but it was a defining choice). I loved summer school. I was a registered nurse before I could legally purchase an adult beverage! I was 30 when I completed my master’s degree. I was 45 when I started my own consulting and training business and 50 when I became a certified coach. That was the year I first heard about coaching with horses, and signing up for Equus Coach training was a resounding YES.


      What a great YES that has been! Being an Equus Coach brings me such joy. I’m grateful that horses are my co-facilitators and teachers. They show me presence, honesty, congruence, and patience. They mirror what is going on and help shape the session. They bring the truth. Every Single Time


      Each of the choices I made in my training, education and career have been because I asked myself, “What will inspire me next?” or, “What do I want to learn or experience now?” And I trusted the process when the doors opened or when the teacher(s) or training programs appeared. I listened to my heart and paid attention to what was calling me. I’m happy I did. And now, I’m choosing to focus on forgiving myself for my mistakes, honoring the choices I’ve made, and looking for the grace in my experiences. 


      I’m not sure what the next few decades hold for me, but I will walk the path with curiosity and gratitude. And with horses. And I will keep saying YES as often as I can.

      What is calling you? What would you like to say YES to? How would that shape the path you are on?