CONWAY — Coaching is big business these days, but “horse coaching?” Paula and Pete Lambie are convinced it’s a healthy way to heal.
The recent spike in mass shootings is making many parents worry about their kids exhibiting intense anger and becoming disconnected from themselves and the world around them.
Paula and Pete founded the HHB (Human Horse Balance) Healing Foundation in Center Conway in 2017 using a technique that has proven helpful to many in conquering life’s challenges.
With the assistance of their rescue horses, they are able to teach others more about themselves, and to recognize each individual’s unique courage, inner strengths and ability for connection.
Human and equine relationships have been studied to help kids, teens and adults cope with life challenges. “We all need a sense of belonging and spiritual connectedness,” says Paula, who learned her craft in the Netherlands, where she grew up.
Unlike therapeutic riding, coaching does not actually involve riding. Instead, it’s about discovering that connection with the horse.
“When a child breathes over the head of a horse, the horse connects his breathing to that of the human,” explains Paula. “It’s about opening your heart and giving the horse a big hug. It’s about overcoming fear and post-traumatic stress.”
Many of the kids Paula works with are “so shut down,” she said. That’s why she creates a safe haven and teaches them to feel what it’s like to be in their own body and “to feel the unconditional love from the horses.”
Paula and Pete help participants learn how to receive what a horse can teach, and then how to integrate these lessons into life beyond the horse arena.
They enable the forging of positive relationships between horses and those being coached. That translates into higher self-esteem and self-confidence beyond their time with the horse.
Horses have unique characteristics that contribute to a distinct human-animal interaction. They have evolved as intuitive, sensitive creatures that motivate strength and calmness.
“The kids learn self-confidence and feel a sense of belonging and safety,” Paula says. “I’m a conduit, but the horses make it easier. I’m a translator with the horses. I tune in, and everything unfolds. The horses are the healers and teachers.”
She insists she’s not a horse whisperer but rather a teacher who describes her role as a bridge between people and horses, or as she prefers, “a conduit,” linking inner and outer soul.
“We offer the tools the kids can use when they are not here, “ explains Pete.
Hailley, age 12, says that “Tilly, one of the horses, helped me to feel loved, reassured and understood in a way that no person could.”
“Horse coaching” helps each person to stay in the present moment and to connect to self, the horse and to others.
“It’s almost instantaneous with the first session,” observes David Lynch, a licensed clinical social worker and executive director of the HHB Healing Foundation. “The youth feels a strong bond with the horse. The unconditional acceptance the horses give is truly remarkable, something these kids may have never known.”
Horses build self-confidence. Kids who once lacked self-confidence now run to meet the school bus.
“It’s about building trust, respect and confidence,” says Paula. “And, the heart connection follows. It’s intuitive.”
For more information, go to hhbhealing.org, email email@example.com or call (603) 986-2962.