Soul Connection with Horses

Soul Connection with Horses By Suzanne E. Court


Horses teaching humans healthier ways of being, deepening innate wisdom and enabling soul-to-soul connection.

In Soul Connection with Horses, Suzanne Court brings together concepts of awakening and spirituality as understood in Eastern and Western traditions of philosophy, religion, and therapy and discusses how closely aligned many of them are with the physical and mental characteristics of horses. She argues that horses model spiritual awakening for humans because they constantly live in a state of presence. Science and experience both tell us that it is healing and spiritually enlivening simply to be in the company of horses. In a state of presence we become familiar with the horse’s subtle movements and attitudes as they help us see ourselves in a new light. Here, spirituality is not treated as a remote esoteric concept but as the knowing of our animal nature, of the deep sense of aliveness, and the understanding of ourselves and the world beyond mental concepts. It is the realisation that we are one with all beings, that we are one with life. This is a deep knowing beyond language that horses pass on to us should we take notice. It is the wisdom within which horses live, and it is what they “want” to teach us as they model living from the soul, the spirit, the inner essence, and the root of all life.

Soul Connection with Horses begins by comparing common characteristics of humans and horses, focusing on how both species make sense of their phenomenological world. Until the industrial revolution changed the land-scape and inner-scape of Western human life, we freely took our life-lessons from other mammals and by observing the laws of nature. For as long as humans have befriended horses (about 6000 years), not only have we admired their athleticism and beauty, they have taught us about healing plants, we have enjoyed the physical connection of riding, and we have soaked up their calm presence. Today, by considering how horses experience their environment, how they process emotion, and how they express their needs we see how close they are to human social, psychological and spiritual lived experience. This closeness is relatively unaffected by their domestication provided their physical and psychological needs are meaningfully met. By experiencing the phenomenological world through the eyes of a horse we appreciate how they achieve balance within a nurturing herd, as synchronously we open to fresh inner experiences.

There are three fundamental premises in Soul Connections with Horses. Firstly, that in Western culture, human conditioned thinking acquired through societal norms separates us from our innate wisdom, but that close connection with a horse under the guidance of a practitioner can reawaken healthy physio-spiritual pathways. Secondly, direct connection with nature and animals offers us a pathway to view the laws of nature in action and learn new pathways towards wholeness. Thirdly, because they are incapable of lying, horses expect honest and authentic connection, calling for us to experience ourselves realistically within a safe relationship. 

By inviting horses to teach and lead us, we awaken our capacities for greater self-compassion, acceptance and spiritual awakening. Suzanne Court argues that enhancing our healing and awakening capacities through connection with a horse can only arise if we treat them as sentient and sensitive beings worthy of respect and compassion. As our equal in a connection built on trust, the horse works with us, not for us. Equine assisted therapy and learning invites horses to be co-therapists and co-teachers to help us re-establish intuitive ways of knowing that might otherwise be buried beneath habitual over-thinking. Recent research supports the idea that if we are swept along by a river of mental constructs and biases over which we have little control, we are unlikely to take in new information, greatly restricting our capacity to learn and grow. But our intuition is there to be listened to and with the help of immersion in nature we can re-discover connection with animals, with the natural environment, and with each other. 

As we connect meaningfully with horses they remind us that we are indivisible  from nature, challenging the myth that we and nature are somehow separate and operate independently. Horses also challenge the myth of separateness of the individual by showing us how much healthier, mentally and physically, it is to live in community. Horses gift us the capacity to mirror our thinking and emotional states and because they communicate with each other through subtle body language they also expect us to know this learnable language. Science confirms that horses read us through our body language and through senses capable of detecting our heart rates, levels of adrenalin and other bio-chemicals activated within our systems. By learning to read horse language and seeing how they respond to us honesty and directly, we begin to recognise neglected parts of ourselves. Horses pick up on what we pretend to be and what we think we are; they are not interested in our façade but are curious about our true state of being. Since this is what they respond to so directly, this capacity offers equine assisted practitioners a valuable tool for discernment and change.

Suzanne Court introduces concepts of making meaningful connection with nature, ourselves and other beings through centering techniques and practices originating in philosophical and spiritual enquiry thousands of years in the making. She brings practices of meditation and mindfulness to the presence of horses as they teach us how to experience being in the “here and now”. By considering how horses experience their world, how they process emotion, how they think, and how they express their needs we can view the world through equine eyes. By doing so we learn to put aside assumptions of who they are, and with guidance from a practitioner, we also put aside assumptions of who we are. 

This book explores lines of communication among practitioner, client, and horse, and highlights processes through which horses can guide us towards wholeness. The writing is directed primarily towards practitioners but remains highly relevant to horse lovers and anyone wishing to deepen their connection with nature and animals. Counselling techniques such as narrative therapy that recognize the natural human tendency to live through story and project meaning onto others (including horses) are adapted to the equine assisted space. Because people live through their stories of who they are and how the world works, through simple practices with horses, personal narratives are identified, questioned, externalized, and ultimately re-shaped. Through simple but carefully devised exercises with horses in which projection, metaphor and personal stories are acted out, people experience choices for stepping out of ineffective ways of thinking and being. 

An underlining premise of this book is that human conditioned thinking separates us from our innate peace and wisdom and that any approach in equine assisted work—be it through psychology, psychotherapy, coaching, or counselling—leads to spiritual considerations if we allow it. The invitation of this book is to follow the existential enquiries of clients in the presence of a very talented Zen master, a horse, and to witness clear messaging arising from these big-hearted mammals. The equine practitioner’s job is not to supply solutions and answers to existential questions, but to uphold client enquiry and insight in the presence of horses. Soul Connection with Horses invites equestrians, equine assisted practitioners, and seekers of spiritual connection to walk in the hooves of the horse, to experience their worldview, and to access their soulful wisdom. Suzanne Court’s vision is for us to be as comfortable living from the heart and soul as from the head, knowing ourselves to be as free as a horse running wild with the wind blowing through our mane.

Working with horses as equal partners in the equine-assisted space while respecting their intuitive wisdom leads to life-changing psycho-spiritual understandings, learning and healing.  introduces concepts of awakening and spaciousness as understood in many spiritual traditions and demonstrates that horses effectively model awakening for humans. Through this approach horses help re-establish natural bonds and intuitive ways of knowing that have become obscured by conditioned thought and ineffective individual narratives. Horses show us that we can trust our intuition and learn how to live from the soul while making meaningful connection with ourselves, other people, animals and the natural environment. By considering how horses experience the world through their senses, how they process emotion and how they express their needs, we see that they live through the same social, psychological and spiritual paradigms as humans. Following equine assisted therapy and learning practices through to their logical conclusions, horses naturally lead us to questions of “who am I?” and “what is life?” They help us transcend non-functioning personal stories as we step out of ineffective ways of thinking and being and discover connection and wholeness. This book invites equestrians, equine assisted practitioners and seekers of spiritual connection, to walk in the hooves of the horse, to experience the horses’ worldview and to access your own soulful wisdom.

SOUL CONNECTION WITH HORSES By Suzanne E. Court is available from or from wherever books are sold.