A few months ago, my partner and I made the decision to move from the BC coast to the mountainous interior. The move was entirely prompted by intuition and the heartbreaking necessity to say goodbye to a rapidly dying ocean.
The departure was emotional to say the least. We left behind an amazing community, breathtaking beauty, many years of inspiration, emotional healing and of course, the ocean.
We packed up the furry family and our belongings and moved ourselves to uncertainty.
With no place to call home, we made arrangements to store our belongings in a tiny locker for an indefinite period of time. We also searched (and searched and searched) for a temporary, pet-friendly place to land where we could safely look for a new place to call home.
With perseverance, we eventually found the perfect place for ourselves and our animal family: a tiny 300 square foot cabin nestled in the foothills on an 8-acre piece of rural property complete with rescued horses, cats, and a chicken. A true sanctuary for all.
Not only was the property beautiful, so too were the people who called this place home. Wendy Elrick and her husband Christiaan were gracious hosts who went out of their way to ensure that our transition to the Okanagan valley was a smooth one.
As the days passed, we had the opportunity to get to know Wendy. I was drawn to her warmth, compassion, wisdom, and sense of ease. Our conversations were rich with meaning. I knew that she was a perfect candidate for the Unplug podcast.
Wendy Elrick has been working as a counsellor for over 20 years. Her experience includes working with children, adults, families, and groups. Her vast toolkit includes trauma recovery, teaching assertiveness, and women’s empowerment. What fascinated me most however, was her practice of equine-assisted learning and therapy.
Equine-assisted therapy is an experiential therapeutic modality where horses participate as co-counsellors with their innate energetic sensitivity. The model that Wendy practices utilizes a combination of the concepts of natural horsemanship, play therapy, story-telling, reflective opportunities, and problem-solving exercises.
As Wendy says on her website, “Horses are very much like humans in that they are social animals. They have defined roles within their herds. Horses have distinct personalities, attitudes, and moods. As a result, there are many opportunities for metaphorical learning. Using an aspect of the interaction with the horse as a symbol of an issue an individual is struggling with, learning can take place. Due to the fact that horses have the ability to mirror exactly what human body language is telling them, many opportunities arise to learn from the equine exercises. The horse play that happens during equine-assisted therapy activates creativity and allows for the transformation of struggles into something healing.”
Throughout this week’s conversation, you will hear how healing applies to both human and horse.
Not only is Wendy doing beautiful work for humans, her home and her property is a sanctuary for elderly horses who would otherwise be destroyed—simply because of their age.
In this week’s episode, we explore topics such as:
- How saying yes to your heart reveals your life path.
- How animals and nature facilitate healing.
- What is equine-assisted therapy?
- Understanding the spiritual nature of horses.
- How equine-assisted therapy catalyzes healing in both humans and horses.
- Leading life with the voice of the heart.
- How trauma is the root of our disconnection from the soul.
- The importance of embodiment for connection with the soul.
- How trauma within the first 7 years of life creates an unstable foundation.
- What is somatic therapy?
- Trusting what is felt and unseen: the voice of the soul.
- The patriarchal oppression of the feminine qualities of animals and nature.
As someone who has always had a profound connection to animals and the natural world, landing in Wendy’s sanctuary after an emotional departure from the coast was a true gift from the universe. I’m grateful to now bring her light to you.
- The Equine Connection, Wendy’s website.
- Equine Connection workshop schedule.
- Women’s Workshop schedule.
- The Little House in the BX website for cabin rental on Wendy and Christiaan’s property.
If Deb’s words hit home and you find value in her work, please donate: