“You changed my life.”
Four words, said with sincerity and a beaming smile, a standing ovation from an apprentice life coach.
It was the end of a fairly intensive four days of HAT (Horse Assisted Transformation) the ‘train the trainer’ programme created by Paul Hunting. Paul is author of: ‘Why talk to a Guru? When you can whisper to a horse’ , his original, unique approach to ‘horse-assisted learning’.
I was on cloud nine, my practice client had come to a very deep understanding about her true self, her fears and limiting beliefs. She was preparing to take the next step in her life with a powerful affirmation to anchor her strength. Through Paul’s quite unique process, she had reconnected with the unlimited power of her authentic self – all in one day.
It all sounds to be good to be true. As a management consultant and leadership trainer of 25 years international experience, alarm bells were ringing and bullshit radar working in overdrive. I know, it sounds incredible, tacky even, but it really, really works!
As part of our own learning, the budding equi-coaches are required to experience the transformational process first-hand and directly from Paul: it is immensely powerful. It is fundamentally, a one-day experience with an optional follow up process. At the end of the process, I felt changed; three months later the change has stuck and the experience inspired me to sign up to become an apprentice of a transformational process requiring multiple skill sets including natural horsemanship, soul-centred coaching, and development of personal soul awareness.
There are three factors that make this process so effective:
1. firstly there is the process which Paul, a spiritual psychologist, has formulated, tried and tested over 20 years and thousands of clients;
2. secondly there is the horse, a perfect mirror of authentic and inauthentic behavior, un-burdened by ego the horse instinctively responds to us according to our level of authenticity: how we show up either as ego-self or
as true self;
3. the third factor is the coach. Paul; a master of nuance, picking up the true meanings hidden between the words, the minutest of signals, hesitations, eye-movements, body language and the tell-tale words which reveal what is really going on. The combination is unique and defies explanation; this is something that needs to be experienced first-hand in order to understand it.
I feel honored and privileged to have had the opportunity to learn from the master. Paul has a brilliance about him that is uncommon, a diamond in the rough of a brusque and burly English countryman with a sense of humour on the bawdy side and a rare gift to intuit the mysticism in hidden places.
I enjoyed an intense but deeply spiritual four days with Paul, his five beautiful, well-bred, well-loved horses and the patient and generous hospitality of his lovely wife Geri.
In April this year, Paul and Geri came to visit me in Sri Lanka. Working with an unknown herd of untrained horses and naïve and untrained assistants, he conducted workshops in natural horsemanship and several horse-assisted, executive coaching sessions, including with me. He rounded off the week with an impromptu explanation on ‘join up’ to the Sri Lanka Mounted Police (who spoke no English!). Rising to the challenge, a spontaneous charade ensued which involved his ‘cantering’ around the lecture room, making horse-like noises, the memory of which will stay imprinted for a lifetime in the hearts and minds of those fortunate enough to witness it.
There is real magic in Paul’s work which taps into ancient ways of knowing. He reminds us of who we really are and helps us tap into the unlimited power of The Soul that we are and the God within us that is perfect and omnipotent.
I’m not sure what to do next with the knowledge I now hold. This is too important to ignore, or pass off as just another life coaching method. Paul’s work is important; it holds a special relevance in the god-forsaken world we find ourselves in, plus I know from first and second-hand experience that it really works. My task is to convince others that this is important work and to persuade my own company to support me in pursuing this new line of work towards creating better people and ultimately a better world for all of us.