Equus Coaching Transforms

June 3, 2014

Another life altering equus workshop with Koelle Simpson has just taken place in South Africa, and I have been involved another beautiful year.

This year was special, as we had two of Koelle’s master facilitators (Erin Cutshall and Christy Lambert), and another three of her certified coaches (Anna Kerkhoff de Sachi, Daggi Bayer and Susan Bainter Baghdadi), sharing the coaching activities with Koelle and the horses. And as equus coach-in-training, I also took part in a session.

Equus Sisters

I have progressed from being totally befuddled, yet completely fascinated, by Koelle’s work, to organizing a SA workshop so I could experience this work again and figure out what it’s really all about, to being part of the world-wide sisterhood of equus coaches trained by Koelle. As one of my equus sisters, Beth Harmen, has said, “Once your intention is expressed, removing pressure and allowing more space, invites the horse – or opportunity – to come to you.”

Join up

Also, I have progressed from being from being unsure of myself to knowing what it feels like in my body to be centred and in sync with everything around me, and how to get there at will.

” There is an interesting peace in knowing that there is more to learn than I can in this lifetime, so there is absolutely no pressure to get it all done. So fun just playing.” – Jennifer Moman Voss, another equus coach.

Such is the transformative work  of equus coaching:  Play and deep peace and seeing the world and yourself in a new way.

Equus coaching connection


A report on this year’s workshop has just appeared in the Gauteng daily, BEELD. The story was also picked up by DIE VOLKSBLAD.

If you would like a taste of this amazing work, set up a session with me and a horse teacher, and let’s see what unfolds.

Horse Hug

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Gwen Joynerwood June 7, 2014 at 21:24

Hi Susan

I posted this in my blog about those two days:
Horsing around: two days and 3 lessons from truly wonderful four-hoofed teachers

It’s an especially warm winter’s day, aberrant weather for late May even for the Highveld. I have a few minutes in the ring with “my” horse. I’ve never seen him before this moment. My workshop leader Christy and fellow participants look on. I have done this once before and so have an idea what I am supposed to do. I’m at peace and I’m expecting some beautiful connection to occur. It does. The horse nuzzles into me like I’m its best friend. I melt.

I decide to play and it responds. It runs around the ring first one way and then the next continuing to show me the signs that it just wants to join up with me again. My experience in the next ring with a different coach, Erin, and different horse, is the same. I am feeling so much peace and joy.

Then we rotate to the pen where Koelle Simpson is the coach and a different horse again. I had nothing to prove to the previous coaches and just enjoyed myself. But suddenly a shift occurred. This was Koelle and my old need to impress comes bubbling to the surface. And so my precious ego begins to crumble. This horse completely ignores me. He doesn’t even grace me with a glance. In essence he was saying “you are nothing to me.” And so it was that calm, competent, confident, adult me morphed into a squirming, insecure, timid, painfully self-conscious, little kid. Just like that.

[Day 1]

I heard Koelle call out to me. “So what is happening with you right now?” I replied that I was afraid of what people (Koelle) were thinking of me. Of course she wasn’t thinking anything at all. She encouraged me to stop wanting an outcome and drop back into what was happening with me; to come back to just being there without wanting something to happen. I took a moment to do that and the most extraordinary thing occured. My horse not only turned to me, but started following me as well, wherever I moved in the ring. Somehow, without even trying, I had gotten his attention and become his leader.

The first thing I learned is that the way to lead from a place of true power is to be completely in the present moment – free of any and all expectations, of efforts to control, hopes, fears and judgments.

When I dropped any thoughts about trying to make something happen, surrendered completely, I was finally present – right there, in the moment, no thoughts interfering with me from simply being with my horse. Being fully present in the moment is true power. Horses are such amazing teachers because of their ability to sense and mirror back the tiniest anxieties, tensions, thoughts and expectations that we carry within, even unconsciously. They feel it all and respond accordingly, moment by moment.

With the help of Koelle and the other coaches’ incisive coaching, I think I can safely say that every one of us came away with a deeply personal bit of insight . For me, it was about fear of failure. Why did I get stuck? Could I relate that fear to other areas of my life, past and present? Definitely.

It all came down to my fear of failing. There was a pattern. I just hadn’t seen it so clearly before.
The following day the first lesson with my coach, Susan, was to teach my horse where my boundaries were and how to stop where I wanted him to stop. This was another eye opener to me. There have certainly been situations in my life where I have difficulty getting people to stop before they cross a line. Just working with this horse and Susan made me feel like I could take this power back.

By the time we got to the third lesson I was back to my calm and peaceful self and was simply able to enjoy it. My buddy and I teamed up to wordlessly herd our horse through several obstacles in the pen. We not only managed to stay in tune with each other without speaking, we were also able to herd our horse between two tyres and over some poles.

This taught me to include playfulness with peacefulness and being present in the moment. It makes for a truly beautiful way of being in the world.

By the end of the workshop, I was literally a different person; I felt calm, confident, present, playful, and able to lead from a place of true strength. Those four-hoofed teachers turned out to be the best I’ve ever had.

I just love the way Koelle put it, “Horses react to your internal state of being and the energy you emanate. They are the perfect ones to show us who we are and where our problem areas lie because they reflect what we project. The horse’s behaviour tells you to check what is going on with you.” ~ Koelle Simpson


Gwen Joynerwood June 8, 2014 at 12:25
Susan June 8, 2014 at 12:39

Hi, Gwen! Thanks for posting the link to your experience at the workshop!


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