The Equine Experience is Miraval’s signature offering. People literally come from all over the world to experience the experience. In small groups of people, most of whom have little hands on horse experience, each person is asked to perform what seem like simple tasks.
A horse is what I refer to as an honest mirror that happens to have 4 legs. A horse is a mirror for our actions and intentions. The phrase Miraval has made famous is that it is never about the horse.
Two of the members of our group were a mother-daughter duo. The daughter was eighteen, going off to college in the Fall. The mother was having this experience with her last of four children.
Each two people get one coach to guide, question, probe and offer advice when asked.
The first task is to pick up a front hoof and a back hoof and lightly clean it out. The eighteen year old met with no success. Her mother asked her if she wanted help and she said, “I don’t ask for help”.
Eventually she had a little success. She did not complete the challenge nor did she do it correctly. She did not know that because there was no one to tell her. The coach-horse whisperer came over and she repeated, “I don’t ask for help”.
The horse/person relationship is like any relationship: each half is responsible for 50%. The eighteen year old is responsible for 100% of half of the relationship.
Later in the day six people worked with Elvis the horse. In a round pen each person got patient Elvis to patiently walk and trot on command without touching him. The seventh person walked in and Elvis started bucking and kicking and running and snorting. The seventh person was a 50 year old that said she didn’t need help. She blamed the wind and other horses for causing Elvis’s reaction.
Eventually the horse whisperer had to come to the horse’s rescue. Even though the 50 year old didn’t ask.
Asking is a sign of strength not weakness. If the eighteen doesn’t learn to ask, when she is 50 people may be snorting and bucking at her.