From Pegasus and unicorns to Mr. Ed and My Little Pony, magical, communicative horses abound in our mythologies. Tapping into this latent suspicion that our maned mounts are more than mere beasts of burden is Gary Douglas, a new age educator who calls himself the Horse Medium.
Mr. Douglas will be leading a two-day workshop called Conscious Horse, Conscious Rider at West Tisbury’s Red Pony Farm, Sept. 20 and 21, based on the premise that when humans ride horses, we falsely assume that we’re in control — in fact, he posits on his Web site, if a 2,000-pound animal is letting a 200-pound animal ride it, the former is the one doing the thinking.
(I encountered this phenomenon personally; while riding a brown horse named Barnaby in Western Rhode Island. As I rode this horse through the woods, I found that the he avoided trees on his own. Even when I tried to steer him into obstacles, Barnaby avoided them.)
Mr. Douglas claims that workshop participants will learn to “Ride in the Zone” and “work with energy to assist horses in unlocking places where they are not able to be all that they can be.” It may sound suspect to the uninitiated, but Mr. Douglas has many ardent followers, and his Web site is full of glowing testimonials.
One such enthusiast is Sally Apy, an Islander who participated in a five-day intensive workshop in Costa Rica. After having an inspiring experience there, she has become the U.S. contact for facilitating Conscious Horse, Conscious Rider workshops.
Ms. Apy has been a lifelong equestrian and horse-lover, and she is the organizer for Mr. Douglas’s appearance on Martha’s Vineyard.
Of his program, she said, “His work is about what the horses are gifting to us; it’s about communion with the animal.” In dealing with “outlaw” horses, Ms. Apy says Mr. Douglas has a non-traditional approach: “He has hands on healing modalities — his energetic work goes counter to the idea of ‘breaking’ a horse; there’s no beating, no tying down.”
An avid participant in the Rising Tide Therapeutic Riding Academy, Ms. Apy looks forward to seeing the effect of Mr. Douglas’s energy work on horses that are used in working with children and adults with disabilities. “These horses seem to generate what is required for the person who is riding them,” she said. Though the work is not physically exhausting for the horses, Ms. Apy wonders if it changes the energy they generate, or perhaps drains them of that energy.
Along with the horse workshop, Mr. Douglas and Dr. Dain Heer will be offering an introduction to his philosophy with an emphasis on kids on Friday, Sept. 19, at the Oak Bluffs School. He will talk about Access Conscious Children, or Xmen as he calls them; “What if we acknowledged the consciousness of the children? What if all the ‘labels’ of disabilities such as OCD, Autism, ADD, etc., are actually talents and abilities? What if we acknowledged our kids for what they know? . . . we will offer tools to assist you in changing the way things are. It’s important for children to be able to access their abilities,” he promises.
On Friday, Sept. 19, a day-long workshop on accessing the energy of dogs will be led by Suzy Godsey, who on the Access Consciousness Web site claims that, when addressing apparent difficulties with canines, “90 per cent of the problems we have with our dogs are not the dog’s problem but ours.”
At the very least, workshop participants may learn what to name their animals; in a video on his Web site, Mr. Douglas places his hands on a magnificent black horse, and says to its owner, “She doesn’t really want to be called Midnight, she doesn’t like that.”
For more information or to register for workshops, call 508-317-9399 or visit online accessconsciousness.com.