BROKEN BOW—Animals have a unique way of connecting with humans and can often provide the comfort and help that other humans cannot. Broken Bow resident Kacey Woodliff strongly believes horses can help humans grow and face difficult issues. She is an Equine Gestalt Certified Practitioner and Life Coach, certified through the Touched by a Horse Program. Woodliff operates Embracing Life Through Horses and celebrated a ribbon cutting with the Broken Bow Chamber of Commerce on Monday evening.
“It’s life coaching. And life coaching is different than counseling because in life coaching, you find your own answers. It’s just that sometimes we get lost in our head, and the horses can help us get back to our heart,” Woodliff said.
The Equine Gestalt Coaching Method (EGCM) was developed by Melissa Pearce of Elizabeth, Colorado. EGCM is used to offer unique types of equine coaching to individuals or groups. There are 185 EGCM certified coaches throughout the United States and Canada.
No horse experience is necessary to participate in the EGCM sessions. Sessions can take many forms and are designed to benefit people dealing with a wide range of problems including but not limited to anxiety, grief, goal setting, PTSD, self-improvement, life transitions, stress, depression, leadership/teamwork, childhood trauma, individual/couple/family issues, conflict resolution, and more.
Embracing Life Through Horses opened in the fall of 2017 and Kacey described sessions as a way to find answers, but with the help of the horses.
“They [individuals/groups] come out and it’s just like going to a counseling session only you do it with the horse. And the horse usually gives us some good answers,” she said.
The Touched by a Horse program offered at Embracing Life Through Horses does not require horse experience and is not therapeutic riding. Rather, an individual or a group stands in the pen with the horse and communicate(s) with Kacey, who watches from beyond. Kacey said the horses connect with humans because they understand human energy and can sense when people are nervous or anxious.
“If we’re nervous or if we’re happy or if we’re sad, they understand all that. And a lot of times, us as people, we have our own agenda and they don’t. They don’t have their own agenda. They’re just in the moment and we can really learn something from that—just being in the moment instead of worrying about what happened yesterday or what’s going to happen tomorrow,” Woodliff said.
Photo courtesy of ChamberDepending on the problem someone wants help with, sessions with Kacey and the horses could be once a week or once a month. Woodliff said some of the benefits include connecting with the horse, problem solving, and having someone hold you accountable.
Embracing Life Through Horses is located north of Broken Bow on Paulsen Road. Four beautiful horses work as the “therapists” and they are Sassy, Brody, Little Duck, and Gus.
In addition to life coaching, Kacey Woodliff also works as a photographer with her company KC Photography. She began her photography business about 10 years ago and specializes in families, weddings, and western and rural photography.