Lynn & The Herd

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy interest in personal growth and development began at an early age. As a very sensitive child, I remember observing and ‘feeling’ the myriad of customers entering our family equestrian  facility, noticing their interactions with horses and how that directly paralleled their lives and relationships in other areas outside the arena and barn. When I began teaching in my teens, I found myself naturally addressing the mental and emotional aspects of the rider’s experience as well as the physical.

As people became more congruent (internal and external experiences beginning to match) and relaxed in the moment, the horses immediately transformed under them! The feedback loop between horse and human was tangible and undeniable and confirmed my young musings and observations!

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Lynn & Lily

I was raised in a barn! I grew up on my parents’ 12 acre horse farm, surrounded by my grandparents’ 300 acre Arabian breeding farm and hay fields, amidst the rolling green hills of Maryland.

In addition to the constant surrounds of a professional equestrian environment—a 27 stall state-of-the art training, teaching and boarding facility, which was literally under the same roof as our home and the indoor arena—I was granted permission to roam the forests and land with my beloved Welsh pony, Lily. My first years astride were bareback with lead ropes attached to her halter, wandering in nature for countless hours.

Despite my mother’s formal upbringing and education, she never pressured me to become involved with horses. My own curiosity and timing was honored and eventually honed.

I was granted access to many notable instructors and clinicians, in addition to my earliest and most consistent influence, my mother, on a wide range of breeds and temperaments of horses. Starting in the early 1980’s, I also experienced the Iberian Lusitano (Portuguese) and Andalusian (Spanish) breeds extensively, and currently partner with an Andalusian gelding, Dandini, aka “Dandi.” 

 Who am I? Devoted Agent of Change, Priestess of Possibility, Advocate for Authenticity, 3rd generation equestrian, healer, healing, writer/author/poet, speaker, performer, free-form dancer, highly sensitive human, wood sprite and tree lover, water wader, moon gazer, earth layer, hot coal walker, seeker of sacred balance

I attended college 2 hours away from the home farm on the eastern shore of Maryland, where I studied Psychology and created a Gender Studies Minor. Holidays were spent back at the farm continuing my own equestrian education and teaching. Eventually, I chose a graduate school that honored my desired to work with an element called “the third”—where what I had been experiencing while facilitating equestrians began to feel more and more like a transformational opportunity because of the third element in the relationship: the horse.

My graduate program in Expressive Arts Therapy ’96—’97 recognized the powerful value of the therapeutic relationship as a triad of three, in addition to the more traditional dyad of two. I was on to something because the field of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy was just beginning. I quickly signed up for the first ever Equine Assisted Growth & Learning Association (EAGALA) training offered, and consequently completed EAGLA Level II several years later.

Influences: the energy arts and practices, professional graduate level training as a psychotherapist, a Masters in Intermodal Expressive Arts Therapy, growing up on several hundred acres of farmland with horses as a 3rd generation equestrian, a 2 year Priestess Path Apprenticeship, French and Portuguese Classical Dressage, the Native American tradition of Vision Questing, Shamanic Journeying, Equine Assisted Growth & Learning in its many forms, real life, over 30 years in the experiential education and personal growth fields, the creativity and expression of the soul, the nourishment and pleasing of the senses, my mother’s steady grace and constant wisdom, my father’s enchantment with Nature, anything honest, my first pony, Lily, and several other special horses and animals

Although the EAGALA learnings would not remain my primary model, I was inspired and continued with Linda Kohanov of Eponaquest and author of The Tao of Equus and Riding Between the Worlds, The McCormicks of Hacienda Tres Aquilas and authors of Horse Sense and the Human Heart, and Lisa Murrell of Equine Alchemy in varying capacities. After obtaining my counseling license in North Carolina, I served as a substance abuse counselor, but eventually missed the horses too much to stay away. I became the primary therapist and an original team member of Shannon & Richard Knapp’s Horse Sense of the Carolinas.

In addition to my personal growth journey which began in the mid-1980’s, in the late 1990’s and for several years thereafter, I also pursued my own growth and empowerment through the transformative 2-year Priestess Path Apprenticeship, among other programs with an amazing mentor, Alisa Starkweather. 

I then began working for myself, moving to California briefly, and now to my current home in Santa Fe, New Mexico—truly the “Land of Enchantment”. I feel gifted to have both the equestrian knowledge, but also the natural sensitivity and personal growth inclinations to land me on this now unified personal and professional path of offering the range of services you find here.

 Fascinations: the intersection and translation of lineage, life and legacy; how optimal relationships with one’s self and others helps sustain the entire planet; how we come to greater self-acceptance; old farms and farming ways; non-GMO and organic foods; sustainability; soft dog ears; beings and things that are old

 

 This Moment

When I am an old woman
I want to disappear and be found
in the forest in the springtime
my pale blue skin fading
amidst the emerald green
yellow purple red orange
my silver hair spread to moss and bird.

Where do you find yourself
if you pause in the woods
to gaze upon two trees lingering against each other—
one live, one dead—
a storm crackling in the distance
and your life left behind you?

I want to remember the salt-sweet of my lover’s full lips;
the curve of this horse’s black lines;
and how at peace I am with myself this moment.

—Lynn Clifford