What is Equine Gestalt?

Anyone who spends time riding or working with horses knows the incredible healing ability they possess. Equine Gestalt™ combines horses and traditional Gestalt methods to help those in the session become more self-aware, at peace, and work through unfinished business from past experiences.

What is Gestalt?

We all have painful experiences in our lives that may have created feelings of anger, fear, grief, jealousy, or loneliness Although these emotions may be triggered by past events in our lives, when our body or mind fails to “let go” of these emotions, it creates unfinished business resulting in limiting beliefs or reactions that feel inauthentic to us in the present moment. We find ourselves reacting instead of responding to life situations that touch on the sensitive nerve exposed during the painful past experience. The Gestalt process gives you the opportunity to complete the unfinished business and realize your full potential by bringing what is in your subconscious to our conscious awareness, creating a level of self-awareness that allows room for personal responsibility and a life of self-compassion.

Gestalt is non-diagnostic, meaning that the Gestaltist does not label or diagnose you with disorders. Instead, through an experiential process, the coach encourages you to clear up residue from your past encounters and interactions. As a result, you can gain a sense of peace, feel free to be who you really are, and to choose behaviors that enhance your life instead of remaining at the mercy of becoming reactionary.

The focus of Gestalt is placed on being in contact – a state in which we are fully aware of our own existence, our body, and our emotions in the present moment. As we expand our awareness to include our present environment, we are then able to exchange that awareness with another being as both people are in a state of contact at the same time.

What is the Equine Gestalt™?

As horsemen and women, we are familiar with how acutely aware horses are of their environment. Due to their heightened sensitivity, and because horses live in the present moment, genuine contact with human emotion comes naturally to them. These qualities make horses good facilitators and a unique benefit to programs that partner with them. In Equine Gestalt the horse is an active partner in the coaching and healing process.

By accessing the guidance provided by their horse partner, the Equine Gestaltist™ is able to assist the client in better understanding where they are stuck. Paying attention to the ways in which we seek to avoid or interrupt contact is important in working with Gestalt for self-healing, and equine coaching partners can facilitate the process.

As an Equine Gestaltist™  works with a client and assists them in connecting with their inner emotions, the equine partner will pick up on that energy, often lowering their heads in recognition or physically touching the client with their nose. Horses frequently and freely give one of the most beautiful gifts an accomplished coach can offer: being present with someone’s emotions.

Horses are excellent at reading us, which makes them keenly aware of the ways in which we consciously or unconsciously seek to interrupt or avoid our truth. In an Equine Gestalt™  session, if the client escapes into intellectualizing their problems or not speaking what is authentically true for them, the horse will lose interest and walk away. This valuable feedback gives the client an opportunity to make a shift back to their authentic self.

What is a session with an Equine Gestaltist™ like?

Equine Gestaltists and their horses provide their sessions in both private and group formats which can include workshops and retreats. People find the group setting offers a sense of community and connection that facilitates the healing process. As each person does their own personal work, it often elicits a deep and lasting response within those present. In Equine Gestalt, we call this Borrowed Benefit™ and it is often quite moving and powerful.

No horse experience is necessary to participate and you won’t ride the horse during the session. If you do own horses or ride, you might find a deeper connection to them after experiencing the Equine Gestalt Coaching Method®.

How can you partner with your horses to help humans?

If you have a new or existing equine business, love sharing the wisdom of horses with individuals and groups, want to learn more about human and equine behavior, relationships, and communication, becoming a Touched by a Horse® Licensed Equine Facilitator or Certified Equine Gestaltist™ may be for you.

The Touched by a Horse® Equine Facilitator Program does more than show you how to use mindfulness experiences as tools — it teaches you how to facilitate true human development through contact with horses and then create a lucrative facilitation practice around your knowledge and the wisdom of your horses. The nine-month program is taught by the founder of the Equine Gestalt Coaching Method®, Melisa Pearce, and provides graduates 18 Equine Mindfulness Experiences mapped out and ready to offer in private sessions, group meetings, retreats, single or multi-day workshops for families, business teams, and in other types of sessions. The program includes:

  • Three LIVE Zoom Classes with founder Melisa Pearce each month
  • Online Course Dashboard with class
  • Recordings and additional training videos
  • Three Zoom Intensive Trainings which demonstrate the experiences
  • Permission to use the 18 Equine Mindfulness Experiences as a Facilitator
  • Facilitator License to use the 18 Experiences and Visual Badge for marketing & promotion

The Touched by a Horse Equine Gestaltist Certification Program is a two-year commitment that trains you in Gestalt principles and prepares you to open a private practice serving clients in both personal and professional development as well as trauma recovery and deep process work in both private and group settings. This program offers weekly LIVE Zoom Classes, Online Course Dashboard, Intensive Virtual Trainings, Hands-on Trainings at the Touched by a Horse Campus in Elizabeth, Colorado, a Personal Program Success Coach, and more. This program also teaches entrepreneurial skills. With over 250 Certified Equine Gestatlists™, students and graduates become part of a vibrant and active community.

These two programs can be taken concurrently or consecutively.

Each Certified Equine Gestaltist™ and Licensed Equine Facilitator™ brings their own past experiences, current interests and other professional skills and credentials to their practice. Members of the Touched by a Horse Herd include people who were, and are, psychotherapists as well as members that bring other healing modalities to their practice, such as energy work or yoga. Many Touched by a Horse graduates create a specialized niche practice to serve a profession that they had a previous career in, such as lawyers, physicians, or other health professionals.

To learn more about the Touched by a Horse® Equine Facilitator™ or Equine Gestaltist™ Programs, visit TouchedByAHorse.com. Enrollment for both programs is currently open with the next class of Equine Facilitators beginning April 3 and the next class of Equine Gestaltists beginning July 1.


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