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Equine Assisted Processes Testimonials
I grew up with horses and different horse sports and although I always believed in the benefits horses had to offer, I never realised the true unlimited potential and powerful impact they have in just being themselves. My mind was blown open when I experienced how they respond to our emotions and thoughts, which are conveyed subconsciously, through body language and mirror-neurons, to become instant mirrors. They are truly the most pure, non-judgemental feedback mechanisms to show us how to shift to new levels of truth and freedom. If anyone ever question synchronicity and the interconnectedness of the universe, this is where you can experience this phenomenon first hand. I have the privilege of witnessing the miracle of synchronicity and its positive spin off, every day of my life.
For me the power in the Equine Assisted Process lies in the fact that a space is created, where I am allowed to form my own opinions based on my interaction with the horses and the team, and the questions that is being asked
I was impressed by the way the horses clearly showed what was going on in the group dynamics and the clean observations pointed out by the facilitators. The combination of simple, but powerful questions and the interaction with the horses lead us to amazing insights and solutions.
Dit was ‘n ongelooflike ervaring. Die span het soveel meer geleer van mekaar asook elke individu van haarself. Ons het ‘n band op ‘n dieper emosionele vlak gevorm as wat enige van ons nog ooit van tevore ervaar het. Dit is ongelooflik hoe die perde emosies uit ons kon uitbring wat ons nie eers geweet het ons het nie. Dit was defnitief ‘n onvergeetlike ervaring en almal behoort dit ten minste een keer in hulle lewe te ervaar.Dit sal een van die hoogtepunte van ons jaar bly!
The Equine Assisted Program was so powerful that some members of the team realised they are not doing the company or themselves justice by staying in a comfort zone.
I have never been for horse therapy in my life. It was a life changing 3 weeks for me. The horses feel your emotions, and it also helps you to connect with your inner emotions. They teach you to get your self-image and confidence back. The facilitators use the horses to help you cope with things in your life. Every person has a different experience. This therapy is a must if you are going through something bad or have something that needs attention in your life.
I was able to get rid of emotions that I was not even aware of and did not realize was part of ‘old baggage’ that kept me from moving forward in my life as a person, in personal relationships as well as with work related matters and relations. Personally, I struggle to let go, but by attending these sessions, it helped me through emotions that I could never have done without these sessions. After each session, one realised that you had “loose or get rid” of feelings that pulls you down and create unnecessary stress, physical pain and drainage of energy. When handling these 500kg animals, connecting with them, you then realise that there is a “Higher power in the universe” that is in charge of all life on this planet. The calmness of these animals is so inspiring and relaxing, that there is not enough words to express it.
I’m moved and touched by the emotions that the horse have exposed of myself. The entire experience was/is educational and eye opening for me.
Never in my life I have been in contact with a horse until I started with the Horse sessions. My first experience triggered questions in my mind; How will I handle this enormous muscular animal? What is the reason behind this? Who will help should anything go wrong? I conquered my fears, grabbed the ‘halter’ and went for it and the feeling was great. I managed to connect with a horse and realised that it actually mirrors one’s feelings and emotions. The second and third time, I managed the above-mentioned process without the ‘halter’ and if you don’t call that overcoming your fears, I challenge you to give it a try. Perfection cannot be improved, thank you from the bottom of my heart for the life changing experience. Words alone cannot express the calmness these sessions brought to my soul.
The ABSA management team experienced significant positive shifts after the Equine Assisted Corporate Program.
We had the honor of serving as the Free State Branch of EAPISA, The Equine Assisted Psychotherapy Institute of South Africa, with Marie Olivier as the Horse Behaviour Specialist representative for EAPISA for 10 years.
The Equine Assisted Process was very relaxing, and we could explore aspects of what worked in our lives and clearly see how we could operate more effectively, in a safe space that was held by the facilitators.
Our 1st rugby team attended an Equine Assisted Team-building Process to address our team dynamic. The session really opened my eyes in terms of my role and responsibilities in the team – at the time I was one of the junior members of our team. Using the insights, I received during this session, I went on to become vice-captain, and the team as a whole functioned in an optimal way. We went on (for two seasons after this session) to win our local league and were finalists of the Kovsie-league. Thank you for showing me that I had the answers to most of my questions within me all along.
Life!!! Yesterday I found myself receiving feedback from a horse! Yes, a horse. Her name is Maggie; a majestic, self-assured being. Before going to the workshop which entailed equestrian guided processes, I had prayed for openness, trust and child-like innocence; these qualities have worked for me in unknown terrains before. As we were introduced to the horses, we had to choose a horse we wanted to work with. I had immediately connected with Maggie: distinguished, unique, present, calm and flamboyant in a quiet way –attributes that generally attract me (mostly opposite to what I know myself to be). She had responded by coming straight to me as if to say “I get you girl”. We established rapport and then she went about on her business, just like I prefer things to be.
For the next exercise we had to pick and state elements/values that we wanted as integral part of our vision: mine - compassion, humility, wisdom, peace, and acceptance. Maggie, by my side was to agree or disagree. As I gently informed her that my vision needed to be guided by these essential elements, Maggie shook her head and would not move. “Maggie, please, I believe my vision has to be grounded in these values, please let’s go”. No. She would not budge. “Maggie, I believe I have learnt the meaning of these attributes and I am beginning to live my life in humility, acceptance etc”, I begged! No. Maggie did not agree. A minute, two, three minutes can seem like forever when arrogance is in action. “But, Maggie, we are buddies, so why can’t you agree with me? You know I live these values!!!” No, Maggie disagreed once more. I began to think in terms of defeat, started to feel exasperated, wondering what I was missing (I was on a humongous ego-mind trip at this stage). Then the penny dropped. Ego. Mind. Arrogance. Presumption. Sense of knowing it all. Maggie knew I was not where I had initially started, with child-like innocence and trust. Maggie also knew that I did not possess any of those qualities, which I so much wanted to believe I did. At that point, I realized that I had to constantly ask the Divine, Grace for the ability to be compassionate, for the ability to be humble, for wisdom at all times, ask for peace, and ask for the ability to accept what is. Maggie, in agreement moved forward with ease and purpose, completed the process exquisitely and graciously, and me in awe of this humbling discovery.
ASK –my key word.
The 3 weeks that I’ve been going to the horse therapy, I’ve learned a lot of things. Especially how to trust myself and belief in myself. I’d like to say thank you to the horses for helping me to get my life back on track.
Well the first day I saw the horses and got to connect with them it was a bit fearful. The horses were huge, and they were like the unknown to me. So, the more I engaged with them the better my situation, feelings and emotions became. I actually overcame my fear for them. My 3 weeks of horse therapy was excellent, it was eye opening and educational, it was hopeful, encouraging, inspiring and it also made me belief that you can overcome all boundaries and obstacles in life.
What a profound experience this was. Every time I spend time at the horses, I found peace and tranquility while working with these special animals. I connected with a horse called Miriam. It was mind blowing what effect this very beautiful animal had on me.
Therapeutic Riding Testimonials
Within her commitment to social justice, Ms Marie Olivier of Equistria believes in horses and the environment for therapeutic goals like psychomotor stimulation as a service to individuals with disabilities. Equistria Centre has been the base for the Therapeutic Horse-riding Service Learning project, involving Psychology Honours students, since 2005. Students work with pre-school children with neurodevelopmental diagnoses to stimulate psychomotor functioning stimulation and promote well-being. Ms Olivier believes in recognising and promoting strengths and capabilities in individuals with disabilities, thus providing invaluable training opportunities for both children with disabilities and students at Equistria.
A graduate of University of the Free State (BSc Agriculture, 2000), Marie Muller Olivier was inspired to start Equistria based upon her experiences of the lack of alternate therapeutic services for her sister who was diagnosed with a disability at an early age. An individual with a strong commitment to social justice issues, Marie decided that the use of the horse and its environment towards therapeutic goals such as psychomotor stimulation was a service that the broader Bloemfontein community of individuals with disabilities should have access to. Focusing on riding and dressage for individuals with disabilities, she became a qualified Instructor with the South African National Equestrian Federation and started Equistria, a non-profit organisation located in Bainsvlei, Bloemfontein, in 2001. While Equistria initially served as a site for KOVSGEM students to conduct their community service hours, the organisation’s link to the University of the Free State quickly took on a more formalised nature. As of 2005, the Therapeutic Riding Community Service Learning Project involving Psychology Honours students who are registered for the PSHC 6804 Community and Social Psychology module, has been based at Equistria. Students work with pre-school children with a range of neurodevelopmental diagnoses from the Lettie Fouche School on a weekly basis, with the goal of stimulating psychomotor functioning and promoting well-being. In this way, student outcomes with respect to social responsibility, and awareness regarding the lives of individuals with disabilities are engaged with in an active manner. In keeping with a positive psychology orientation, Marie also believes in recognising and promoting strengths and capabilities in individuals with disabilities. Therapeutic horse riding at Equistria is invaluable for the training of our students, and for the community of children with disabilities in Bloemfontein.
It hardly seems like 10 months ago when we first entered Equistria as Therapeutic horse riding volunteers. Since then it has been a whirlwind of excitement, learning and growing. Being able to put smiles on the children's faces was very fulfilling. Our experiences over the past year has deepened our passion and inspired us to dedicate our lives to the causes of community service. We are in awe at how fortunate we have been to be part of this community project. It has given us the tools and confidence to march forward into the next phases of our lives. A big thank you to all of those who were involved and made a contribution towards the success of this project.
I am a teacher at a prestigious all boys school in Bloemfontein. I have been involved with coaching sport (specifically cricket and rugby) for 15 years. The last 7 years I coached the school’s 1st XV rugby team, and the last two years I was in charge of the rugby program at the school. I also suffer from adult ADHD symptoms and a slight case of OCD. All of this, even though I am a lover of sport and competition, added stress to my life, which resulted in strain on all my relationships, both at work and in my personal life. Since I started interacting with the horses at Equistria Centre, things started to shift in that regard. Spending time, and working with the horses is as therapeutic for me as for any person (child) that I work with on the horse. The calming effect that this interaction brings to my life cannot really be explained in words… My ADHD symptoms are much more manageable than a year ago, and the OCD is almost non-existent. I will recommend this type of therapy to literally any person, of any capability and of any age. It has changed my life into much calmer existence.
A group of Dr Pravani Naidoo’s Psychology Honours students, at the University of the Free State, was honoured with the best postgraduate Service Learning award, involving the horse riding project, at a prize-giving function of the Faculty of the Humanities during 2016.
Away from the hustle of city life lays a piece of land that graces any visitor with a sense of serenity. It compels you to inhale the earthy aroma that is laced with calm and a sense of peace. It settles the inner conflicts of the mind, frees you from your sense of urgency, and renews you with a vigour that is known to but the few who find their grounding in nature. And so this narrative drawing power has been the volitional force in the founding of a community service learning project based at Marie Olivier’s Equistria, called Therapeutic Horse Riding.
Under the supervision of Dr Pravani Naidoo from the Psychology Department at the University of the Free State, the project aims at the sensory-motoric, intellectual, and social stimulation of learners at the Lettie Fouché school. Through the involvement of Honours students in Psychology, the project has flourished to become an endeavour of growth that has mutually stimulated years of students and learners through its impact on the cognitive and affective grounds.
Through the establishment of familiarity, and shared moments that are real and unrefined in their genuineness, the students and learners conceive unique and deep-rooted bonds that have been seen to cause cascades of influence.
No experience is however separated from an emotional transfer between involved parties. The ultimate goal of any therapeutic horse riding session, is the mounting of, and activities on a horse by each of the children. The project strives to be a motivational drive in fostering a sense of self-esteem and self-efficacy. In this mounting lay the achievement that allows a child to barrel through the fear boundaries of insecurity, and discover their own unique sense of capabilities. And it is the hope of all supervisory personas, that this realisation and growth causes the shifts in their daily lives.
With its humble aims, its dedicated parties, and a staunch support of the gentle beasts that are the horses, the project is a developmental journey that moulds the perspective of the individual into a terrible need to give affection unconditionally and employ a service to the community that is the cause of many ripples through the casting of one stone.
Kids that never interact in the school setup, immediately start to come out of their shell at the horses and as their self-esteem and confidence grow they start to interact more and more in all areas. They are unconditionally accepted and free to be their best in these activities, which is a huge shift from the struggle to have to keep up with the norm as a differently abled individual in society. They are free to make choices within a structured frame, which is also very empowering.
These kids are sad when they cannot go to the horses, due to weather for example. They are easily motivated by the reminder of the upcoming horse activities and riding. Their whole demeanour is different before and after the horse sessions. They are happy, relaxed and very tired due to all the stimulation, which proof to have a visible positive effect.
During a therapeutic riding session, we asked a 13-year-old girl with Vater Syndrome to close her eyes, while she was riding on her horse. She smiled and said: “It feels as if I am walking!” This girl was paralysed from her waist down and bound to a wheelchair all her life.
After 2 months at Equistria, people at work started to ask me funny questions like, “What happened in your life?” It was only then that I noticed how my way of being had changed dramatically in a positive way.
My first encounter with the Quantec device, was with one of our dressage horses, who had to compete in a national dressage competition. When he suddenly developed an uncontrollable dry cough with regular intervals I became desperate, as dressage is all about precision and even a slight shaking of the head could be disastrous on Elementary level dressage. It almost seemed like a little piece of grass was irritating his throat.
I called and send a photograph of the horse to be put on the Quantec device and within 2 days he stopped coughing. We had a successful show and the coughing never returned afterwards.
I have always been conscious, at times even overly conscious, about my weight and physical appearance. I have always battled with keeping my weight in a healthy range. At one stage I tipped the scale at a whopping 128kg. Being only 1,85cm tall, this was not healthy at all. I started to work hard in the gym, on the road (both running and cycling) and in the kitchen (trying to eat a healthy diet). A few months later I was weighing in at 88kg, and ever since that was more or less where my weight has been. A few months ago I started to pick up weight again, and an obsession developed within me that “I was fat again”. I tried to eat as healthy as possible, but still couldn’t get back to my goal weight. I was introduced to the idea of Quantec Therapy, and thought that any help will be good for me (and my mind) at this point in time. Since I have been receiving this therapy, I have settled down emotionally with regards to my weight and appearance. I am not following any worked out meal plan or “diet” of any sort. I am purely trying to eat as clean as possible (with some cheat days in between – just love pizza and a cold beer too much) and still maintaining a very average training routine during the week. My weight has come back down to my goal range, and I am in general feeling an “improved version of myself”. My emotions have settled down greatly and I am not putting the same kind of pressure on myself as before. I can say with great confidence that this therapy has worked (and still is) wonders for me. Highly recommended! For the person who is wondering should he/she try this or not, give it a shot. You have absolutely nothing to lose, except maybe some negative thoughts.
I had a grandmother who called me to put her grand daughter on the Quantec device. The little girls’ parents were very sceptical and only allowed it out of desperation. I complied, but never gave any feedback to the parents as they really were not interested, and with the grandmother paying for the scans and support, I just let it run.
After about 3 weeks I got a call from the girls’ mother, asking if her daughter wasn’t by any chance on the Quantec device? I confirmed that she was already on it for 3 weeks and if she is interested I can show her the reports or balancing sheets from the device. She was laughing and told me that her husband said if I confirmed that their daughter actually was on this device, then he was sold on it.
The little girls’ behaviour changed over this short period of time and they were starting to notice these changes more and more. After years of struggle it was just not possible to miss the shifts.
Journey Processes Testimonials
The Journey crossed my path at a time where I prayed to God to show me the way forward. I was desperate to help my child find his way after years of struggle with ADD and severe memory problems. I tried everything and saw every possible therapist, doctor and professor, with the medication and everything that goes with it. He was in a private school where he received special brain training and it was time for him to integrate back into the school system. At 13 years old, he still had to figure out what day of the week it was, although therapists and professors told me he is highly intelligent. I discovered the Journey for Kids book and the next evening I just read the ‘fairy tale of Jamie’ to my son, which is actually for 5-7 year olds. The next morning, he had a major shift and I was grateful for it, but after school he showed me his homework book, which was previously full of red letters from his teachers about his lack of motivation… this time he had two stickers from two different teachers as part of his rewards for effort! I was stunned! Later that same afternoon he asked me to give him time before his sports practice, because he first wanted to finish his homework, which previously caused a daily fight. I was blown away. Since then my son started to excel and we’ve been doing journey sessions as part of a lifestyle to face any obstacles, from bullying to memory issues to motivation issues. I am grateful beyond words!
I struggled with bullies and their jealousy at school and a journey process was suggested to me. I was sceptical, but did the process and the results blew me away!
As I arrived at school the following morning, one of the bullies approached me and told me how sorry she was about her behaviour. I was still surprised about this turn of events, when I received a text message on my phone from the other bully, saying that she do not know why she acted so rude the previous day.
This changed my life, as I realised just how powerful the journey processes were and how I could handle future situations on a deeper level, by working on myself to get all stuck emotions out of my system and then be able to forgive completely.
My journey with the Journey started in the autumn of 2017, when I was introduced to this inspirational work by a dear friend who had then just discovered and read the book written by Brandon Bays, titled The Journey: A Practical Guide to Healing Your Life and Setting Yourself Free. And so, after having read the book too, we set off on a path of self-discovery into our own essence, into wholeness, peace and freedom, through the completion of the Journey Practitioner’s Training Programme, offered in South Africa that year. It was a time of holding on for dear life through the ups and downs, letting go, forging new bonds, mending the broken pieces of the soul’s past, delving into the depths of fear, despair, sadness, facing unthinkable terror and confusion buried deep inside, and falling into and being emerged into absolute peace, joy and grace…a time of discovering our own, and life’s potential and abundance…a time of coming home! What an extraordinary gift and blessing! The Journey has opened up a whole new beautiful part of existence for me, filling my life with purpose and so much light, healing and a richness, unknown to me before.
It seems like only yesterday I started with the seemingly strange therapy that forever changed my life. I was in a dark state of mind, and when William suggested I take up TRE to help with my depression, I had no idea what impact it would have. It was very different from anything else I'd ever tried - different than any other therapy I had experienced - but it was soon evident that it was by far the most effective. Within weeks my psyche had already started changing from doom and gloom to a happier, more peaceful place. I haven't stopped using this near-magical tool, and continuously discover even more benefits! A huge thanks to William Loots for introducing me to TRE and changing my life.
Six months ago, I started with TRE. Since then my life has changed. TRE has given me the ability to trust myself through life's changes, to believe in myself and the accomplishments I can achieve.
Through my eyes, the world is a different place than it once was. I am a big advocate of this healing modality, because it gives you the tools to not only heal, but to heal yourself through acceptance, understanding and key other core principles. It relaxes the body, clears the mind and creates a safe space for you to feel what you feel, to be yourself and to use it as a tool to grow into the best person you can be. It is an absolute honour to have learned from and have experienced TRE.
Tremor release exercises are a practice that changes lives. Starting with TRE it might feel a bit strange and one may even feel self-conscious because the world sees trembling as a weakness, therefore it can only be practiced in a safe environment with someone you trust. Going through this experience of connecting with your body is extraordinary.
Doing TRE is very relaxing when you get used to your body trembling on its own. Worries fade away and you are left with a clear mind. The effect of this is that you become more conscious of yourself. Therefor TRE is a great opportunity for self-discovery. It is a practice that gives you confidence and peace. Learning from this experience gives us an arsenal of abilities to use in our future lives. I am fortunate indeed to have come across such a blessing in my life it has changed me inside and out. It has been a great journey of growing and learning thus far. A big and endless thank you to my practitioner William Loots
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