Health & Wellbeing Horses for Healing Emma Rourke explains how she has harnessed the therapeutic power of horses to provide equine assisted personal development through her company, Hephzibah What is Hephzibah? Hephzibah, in short, means new name, new identity. It is a Hebrew word that comes from the Old Testament Book of Isaiah, who was a prophet. The significance for me is very personal as it is talking about overcoming life’s heartbreaks and has been my story of overcoming personal challenges, particularly growing up with alcoholism and the devastating effects it can have within families. Horses are amazing animals – offering me comfort, emotional resilience and helping me to be brave. My story, I hope, will inspire others to be able to overcome similar challenges. I am very fortunate to have helped many people who suffer addiction – your past does not have to define who you are. What issues do you deal with? I work with people on many levels, dealing with anxiety, depression, confidence, PTSD, and leadership in business. It is not always necessary to have a problem, it can be a great way to de-stress, and leave our fast paced world behind for a little while, to connect with horses, nature and yourself. The Hephzibah approach is a gentle, non-judgemental way to become self-aware and learn the tools of emotional regulation, as it is based in neuroscience and psychology. I am not a counsellor, more of a facilitator to empower people to find their own answers, and I also act as a bit of a cheerleader, with the help of my partners, the horses. How does it work? There is no short answer to how it works, but to give you an idea, horses are flight animals, they sense things emotionally and are very good at picking up where people may be hiding something. They mirror people and sense what is really going on for them, this makes them fantastic co-facilitators, as they pick up on someone’s body language and energy and will mirror back to them what they might not be saying. They are extremely forgiving and are social animals who enjoy interacting with humans. How you show up on the day is the bio feedback you get back. They help people to be fully authentic, as you can’t hide anything from a horse. Winston Churchill once said, “There is something about the outside of a horse, that is good for the inside of a man”. I believe this to be true. What makes horse therapy better than conventional therapy? For many people, talking about their problems can be a problem in itself. Equine assisted learning can be a more natural, experiential way to explore how a person is feeling without the need to verbalise everything. It works very well as a stand-alone therapeutic intervention and also alongside more traditional therapies. It can open the door where maybe people have found other approaches more difficult. Can different horses produce a different therapeutic effect? Do you pair clients with a specific horse? Different horses offer different experiences. With equine assisted learning, the horses are at liberty, free to make a choice on who they want to interact with or not, unlike more traditional riding. It has been my experience that the horse picks the person. I have had clients who have had anxiety and one particular horse will come forward, and for others suffering grief another will choose to come forward. It is an honour to observe clients, who sometimes have very powerful interactions with the horses that have helped them, become self-aware and acknowledge the root of their pain, to allow the healing to take place. The neuroscience behind becoming more aware of what we are holding in our bodies helps people to re-frame negative mindsets and re-set the brain with healthy new neural pathways. Find out more about Emma and her horses at hephzibahuk.com Summer Loving Nourish and protect with natural skincare Andrea Dinnick founded DESAVERY in 2017 to deliver natural, luxury skincare: “I knew the products needed to have the absolutely best ingredients and that they needed to be effective, come from the best places in the world and be harvested and sourced sustainably,” she says. Her small-batch products needed to be good for mood and mind as well as the skin, so the range includes products such as ‘Stellar’, a daily serum that lowers cortisol levels, and ‘Reset Hormone Therapy’, which includes botanical oils that are scientifically shown to relieve the symptoms of hormonal imbalances. Find out more at desavery.co.uk and visit the stand at Wealden Times Midsummer Fair this month. If you’re on the hunt for a skin-kind range of sun care suitable for the whole family, look no further than Green People’s award-winning line of sunscreens. They feature broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection, are free from harsh chemicals, suitable for sensitive skin, plus they’re marine-friendly, too. greenpeople.co.uk surrey-homes.co.uk 104
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