Weathering the Storm: How Horses Bring Us Together
Syndicated from, Jun 04, 2024

7 minute read

Photo by Sharon Canovas

I saw the dark clouds rolling around us. I wasn’t worried, the rain always goes around my farm. I had never had a healing ceremony cancelled due to the weather. The twenty of us had been gathered for over an hour, setting the space and our intentions. The horses, who had been out grazing in the fifteen-acre field, had sensed we were preparing to go out to join them in their space and returned closer to the gate. It was always this way; the horses knew when they were needed and what was needed.

As we walked out, I took the group through a meditation to open their hearts and connect with each other and the horses. Everyone focused on the herd, but I was taking in the bigger picture. I could feel the air pressure changing. The clouds weren’t going around us like they normally did. The wind was picking up and getting cold. I thought about calling it off, but I looked at the herd and knew we were supposed to go out there.
This ceremony was to be unique. It was during the lockdowns. We weren’t supposed to be meeting. But we all had our reasons. In the previous month, I had lost two people to suicide. Without their community supports, these beautiful souls had taken their lives, unable to cope with the isolation. One was a regular member of these ceremonies. I hadn’t realized how important they were to her.
Many of those present were single people. They hadn’t had any human contact since the lockdown. No one to get a hug from. No one to hold their hand. When they arrived, I said that we were a place that respected all choices. There would be no mocking or shaming for any decision. All choices would be supported. But knowing we weren’t supposed to be there changed the ceremony. There was a space between all of us, but it wasn’t a physical space. It was a continuation of the lockdown that made us feel separate even as we were together.

Storm Clouds Breaking

I led this group of individuals out into the field of horses. This herd consisted of young newly born foals, old centennials, teens, and adults. They were shiny in their summer coats and standing in groups of friends, spread out across the top of the field.
Everyone was silent as we went out. I invited them to walk out among the horses, reminding them not to touch the horses at first or to speak aloud. I wanted them to stay in their bodies and to feel what their bodies were telling them. I didn’t want them to avoid their truths by talking it away or just petting the horses. The horses wanted to help heal, but they could only do that if the people were open to receive.
Some people quickly found the horse they connected to and began a powerful communication. Others stood back and observed. There is no wrong way to connect, and it is always a privilege to watch as people discover what works for them in that moment.
Suddenly, the horses all became restless at once. I could feel why. The hair on my arms was standing up. I knew we were about to experience an intense summer storm. I sunk into my body and connected to my herd. What was the right thing to do?
It was one of those moments when the horses spoke so clearly to me. Not a vague feeling or an abstract image. Instead, I heard clearly in my mind, “Let us show them what community is”.

Our Backs to the Wind

At that, the skies opened up, and a blinding rain came. The wind blew hard into our faces. One person started leaving. I invited her to stay, but she was unable to sink into the place the horses were asking us to. She was uncomfortable and afraid. She asked why the horses were being left out in the rain and weren’t locked in the barn. I explained that horses were plains animals, and wide-open spaces were their safe space. But her personal discomfort and anger at the natural occurrence (a storm) were things she wasn’t ready to explore, and she couldn’t be dissuaded. After I was sure she was safely out of the field, I turned to the remaining participants and invited them to reconnect with the horses.
“Look at how they are standing together with their butts to the wind, all in a row. Look at how the foals are kept in the center, protected from the worst of the weather. Be like the horses and turn your back to the storm. Let it hit you, and know you are strong enough to withstand it. Let the rain soak you and relish it as you did as a child. Feel your bodies and feel the rain cleansing you.”
Each person found their place, putting their backs to the storm. And then a strange thing happened. The horses began to move. Each group of horses positioned themselves around the humans, standing with them with their backs to the wind, and even more amazingly, blocking the humans from the worst weather as though they were foals.
As the wind howled and blew our hair and the horses’ tails around, we stood together in community. Suddenly, the urge to yip happily came from one of the participants. Soon, many more joined in, adding their voices to the celebration of life. The energy shifted, and we all began to laugh. We stopped seeing the wet and cold as a problem. Instead, it just was. It had no power to control our mood or our life. We could be happy in the storm. Soon, the wind and rain lessened, and I knew the horses’ lesson to us was complete. 

Holding the Line

During that storm, we were all connected in our struggle. We were held by the horses and by each other. The horses showed us how to anchor ourselves in the storm. They showed us how to place our backs to the wind and not let it throw us around. They showed us how to hold the line, regardless of what was happening around us. In this time when the sense of community and connection was being destroyed, they showed us that having a community is a necessity. They showed us the power of that community.  They showed us that no one can break that community if we don’t let them.
We thanked the horses for this profound lesson. I also extended a thank you to the person who chose to leave, who couldn’t weather the storm. With her decision, she helped everyone present realize that the choices they make are what leads to connection or separation. And we, as a group, chose connection.
The horses stayed standing and watching us behind the fence. Their coats were slick with the rain, their manes pressed tight to their necks. Their open hearts helped us remember to stay open and connected. Some participants turned to the people who shared the day with them. They opened their arms to each other and began to hug. As the physical contact began, small sobs could be heard from some of the participants. For many, it was the first hug they had received since the lockdown began. They let go into that touch, healing as only a hug can. The horses had held us energetically. They showed us how to stand strong together in a storm. We were now holding each other physically. It was so needed and so healing. We knew that we could stand strong together.
It was an unusual ceremony. More often, each person has a very individual experience in the field that is unique to them. Each horse normally works with one or two people, giving them some guidance that is specific to that person. But on this day, the horses stepped together as one herd to heal us all as a group, to draw us back together into community, connection, and love.  They showed us how to weather the storm, anchor ourselves in the turmoil and stay connected.
A beautiful participant gave a moving video testimonial after the ceremony. Parts of it are transcribed here: 

“So, I just got home soaking wet from a new moon ceremony with horses and other animals on a farm not far from town. It was led by some beautiful humans. We started with a circle ceremony and sharing, followed by some meditations and grounding and then we went out with the horses. Just as we were out in the field, this crazy storm came in. To be out in the field with the animals and to see how they all work together and what they did when the storm rolled in was just so amazing. To see animals so in tune with mother nature. All the horses got together and they all faced the same way. They just stopped what they were doing and waited for the storm to pass. It was really beautiful to see. Us humans have definitely been desensitized to listening to our own inner guidance, wisdom and intuition because we fill our minds, bodies, and souls with very fake experiences, food, interactions, life, emotions. Everything we do isn’t necessarily true to who we are and who we are meant to be. The animals showed us what is possible and we definitely need to be more of that. What an amazing experience!”


Taylor’ Beckett's earliest horse memories: riding ponies at fairs, stopping at the side of the road to admire them, dreaming of them. They helped ground her throughout her life and travels. During high school, Taylor and her first horse, Jet, competed in many local horse shows, advancing to the Ontario Appaloosa Circuit. They were the Provincial Reserve Champions. However, their show career went on hiatus when Taylor left to study in England for a year. Returning to Canada, Taylor rekindled her bond with Jet, but decided to leave the competitions behind. She began looking at different ways of having a relationship with her horses and read about Mark Rashid, Linda Kohanov and Carolyn Resnick. She graduated the FEEL program in 2012 and studied Pair Bonding with Marina Wright. Combining these methods with her own personal knowledge and experience, Taylor has developed a deep and trusting relationship with her horses, one in which their unique personalities are celebrated and their deep desire to help people is encouraged.

1 Past Reflections