Click here to watch the episode:
Concentrate on the present moment? Good luck with that! I’m a busy mother of two I can barely finish a thought let alone be focused on the present moment. I am always anxious thinking about the future or what I did yesterday, very rarely what’s going on now. In this episode I am go and visit Kathy Kruppa she is an equine assisted awareness therapist. I was so excited to meet these horses who Kathy says are actually co-therapists and instead of a copayment they work for apples.
No one loves horses more than I do and these horses were gorgeous. First Kathy brought me down to her horse ring, The Healing Valley at her ranch called Horsetime. Kathy explained to me that equine is, “an awareness therapy is an awakening of the mind and making one mindful.” She explains how working with horses pushes the patient into the present moment because horses only live in the now. Which is exactly what I need to be present in the now. .
The therapy started with me picking a horse that I’d like to work with. She instructed me to take a moment, look at the horses, talk to them and see which one picks you. There were three horses in the ring, one was tall and beautiful named Freud, a shaggy haired horse named Grandma and then a small chocolate horse named Buddha.
At first I was distracted playing with the horses, they were so sweet. I just loved their big brown eyes and sweeping eye lashes. I desperately wanted them to engage with me but they were too busy chewing grass or drinking muddy water out of a puddle. Then Kathy reminded me that she had asked me to bring a horse over to her without using a lead or a halter which was not an easy task! Every time I went close to any of the horses they ran away. I was getting frustrated, I couldn’t imagine how I would get these horses to move! Then I made a decision, “I am going to get a horse whether they like it or not!” I zeroed in on Grandma. My first attempts were not successful then finally I got Grandma to come over to Kathy by blowing her kisses and pulling her by her hair. Yes, pulling her by her mane. Kathy told me that horses can’t feel their hair being pulled because their follicles don’t have nerve endings. I do feel guilty though for pulling Grandma.
My next task was to create an obstacle in the ring. She explained to me that I would need to somehow get the horses over the obstacle without touching them. I propped up two large plastic pipes in the ring. They were super heavy. None of the horses were interested in me and my obstacle. They just looked at each other and kept to themselves. Anytime I came near Freud he ran. Then out of nowhere Buddha slowly walked over to me and nudged the pipe onto the ground. Buddha saved the day! Kathy showed me how Buddha broke down the obstacle and made it smaller. Then Kathy asked me a very profound question. “Do you think you make things harder for yourself than they need to be?” When she said this, I thought “Wow, yes I think I do make things harder. I think I go after big challenges then get frustrated when I struggle to achieve them.
Kathy could see I was getting very frustrated and she asked me did I ever say you couldn’t move the obstacle? She’s right why don’t I move the obstacle over by where the horses are? I truly had never thought of it. Then I started moving the obstacle. They were heavy and cumbersome. I was trying to rush too before the horses ran to the other side of the ring. Kathy observed my struggle and said, “You’re really struggling there. What could you do about that? Do you tend to ask for help in life?” When she said that my throat closed up with a huge lump. I tried to fight back tears that erupted out of my eyes. At that moment my director yelled, “cut!” I was thrilled because I was off the hook, I didn’t want anyone to see me upset. My director Matt hadn’t noticed that I was having an authentic break through. Once he realized this the cameras continued to roll. I was truly scared to show my feelings on camera. I’m a comedian, I don’t really want to let my guard down. But I forced myself to. It was such a break through and I felt I owed it to myself to explore this raw moment. Kathy explained that this is what the therapy does, you can’t be an actress out here she said. She suggested I simplify my obstacle and place it right in front Buddha. I tried to will Buddha to move but he wouldn’t budge. I was so frustrated. How the hell was I going to get this thousand pound horse to move? This horse doesn’t care if I’m funny or charming. So I took a deep breath and exhaled and relaxed. I calmed down and suddenly Buddha moved! He took over foot then three more right over the pipe.
I was clapped my hands! I was thrilled but still feeling upset. I had no idea I would have an emotional breakdown. I cried so much that I couldn’t catch my breath. Kathy asked me if I needed a “horse hug” she said Freud gives the best hugs. I hugged Freud and breathed very slowly in and out. His hug calmed my nerves, helped me breathe and released my tension. Freud hugged me back but of course I took it too far and hugged him too long causing Freud to give out a loud whinny… like to say “Get the hell off of me!”