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What the animals are trying to teach us….

What the animals are trying to teach us….


Learning from the Innocents


In the early hours of the morning it seems so clear. Those moments between sleep and wakefulness when there is absolute clarity and everything seems so very obvious. I couldn’t sleep, my mind was whirring and I didn’t want to use my usual mindfulness techniques to shut interfering thoughts away.

thumbnail_FullSizeRender-4I made a cup of tea and settled into a comfy chair, with a soft blanket around me and little Ollie dog snuggled into the crook of my knees. I looked out of the window at the herd grazing peacefully.







The stunning cedar tree marking the edge of the woodland seemed to beckon me.






thumbnail_FullSizeRender-3A herd of about a dozen deer gathered at the wood margins, grazing alongside the horses. Dawn chorus was beginning. Glancing over the woodland the treetops swayed gently – almost imperceptibly. I paId closer attention and suddenly it seemed there was so much movement in the whole of the woodland – how could I not have noticed it just seconds before?

How much more, I wondered, do I not notice?



My attention was, as always drawn to the herd. They seemed so peaceful and yet… there was a time when they lay down far more than now. The new boy who had joined the herd had somehow shifted that peacefulness. When he first came, they still lay down to relax in the same way, encouraging him to learn this way of being and showing him how a herd could really trust and live naturally … but gradually things seem to have changed … was it the weather being so much hotter recently and so they need to spend more time in the barn, standing resting away from the intense heat, to escape the flies, to be near the water? Or was it something else? I wondered.

How could the energy of one being so affect the energy of the whole herd? Especially when they had been so bonded and peaceful? But his unsettled energy had done just that. I was deeply aware of how much more I still needed to do to help him release the past stress of his conditioning. He had so much more negative adrenaline in his system to release. This way of being which the herd had learnt has been so helpful to newcomers and had already greatly affected him but there is still more work to be done. I remembered how aggressive he had been towards me and to others before he came here. He’s done amazingly well and is outwardly incredibly relaxed – but there is still more help needed for him, more stress to be released and until he lets go of that it affects everyone.

I wandered out through the glass doors to be closer to them all, enjoying the bird song and hearing the wind in the trees so much louder now. The smells of the early morning engulfed me – a fox’s scent, the dew on the grass, the trees, the grass freshly grazed and that wonderful smell of horses warm breath as they gathered closer to me, sensing my deep easy peacefulness in my half awakened state.

thumbnail_FullSizeRender-2I had learned a lot from them in the past few years of practicing mindful meditation, being in the moment, being intensely aware of every single thing, letting thoughts and mind-chatter drift away and noticing what was important for them. The more I noticed the minute details, the more they relaxed and became deeply peaceful. Every time they experienced this deep peace, they also were able to release whatever was ‘un’ peaceful within, which enabled healing and rehabilitation on a profound level. The more peaceful they became the more I enjoyed the effect this being-ness created between us and it encouraged me to hold this space more and more often. Every time I glanced around the boundary of the land the horses breathed deeply and relaxed more, knowing that they could hand over to me to watch out for them. Then one by one they lay down, heads lowering to stretch out fully on the ground, breathing deeply, some yawning before they did so to release tension they were holding on to. The herd lay down except for the newcomer. He was deeply peaceful and yet as usual he was hesitant to lay down. It was a combination for him of physical and emotional withholding and I trusted he’d get there in his own time. It helped them all, my holding of this space. Were they aware, I wondered, that it helped me? It didn’t matter in that moment to figure it out – all I knew was that it was a very special moment, all of us very deeply peaceful and still.
thumbnail_FullSizeRender-1As I glanced from horse to horse I noticed muscles relaxing more and more fully. I became aware of the energy in their whole beings and was surprised that this was not obvious at first glance. Like the treetops earlier – it seemed so very obvious now. How much more we notice when we still our thoughts and hone our senses. Seeing this movement I was then able to drop deeper and be aware of my feelings and intuitive knowing – feel their emotions of deep relaxation. Focusing on the newest member of the herd l could feel his hesitancy and tension, pain in his body and stiffness, still unable to completely trust humans or sadly even other herd members. It takes them all different times to let go and trust, and there was no deadline, no expectation to be a certain way in a certain time frame. There would be more to release always for all of them, and for me. We all needed to let go more, none of us completely healed, or ‘zen’! As I held this intention of “no expectation” I felt, saw and heard the new lad release another large layer of tension as he exhaled and lay down, closing his eyes and stretching out his limbs in a way that was becoming more and more familiar to him these days.  It was beautiful to see, and the herd visibly relaxed a little deeper too.

We hope to do our best.

Humans – we’re funny things. It was suddenly so obvious why we do the things we do. It’s our lack of empathy of understanding for another being. It’s far easier to just put our own thoughts, needs and expectations on to another being making assumptions about their needs.

Stabling is a good example of this:

For us, it feels good to lock our door and feel safe at night, to have a meal put on our plate, to be cosily wrapped up in our bed with a soft warm blanket at the end of the day.

So we give the same to those we love and have responsibility for.

We pride ourselves on this love and care, often feeling that they are ‘treated like royalty’ and that their every need is taken care of. They are ‘spoilt’ we think, but they deserve it.

How Does it Feel In the Wild?

 So, putting ourselves into their ‘shoes’ for a moment – how does it feel to be a horse? Just imagine that you are the natural creature you were born to be….

You’re a herd animal. Your safety is being with the herd. Your innate wisdom tells you that your very survival depends on staying with the herd at all costs. If you feel pain then don’t show it – for you could be taken down by the hunter who will single you out as the weakest in the herd and take you for their meal. This hunter may be a wild boar, a coyote, or a large cat … it will jump on your back and bringing you down. Safety is therefore both in numbers and not showing pain.

Safety is in open spaces, where you can see everything around you.

When it’s windy it’s safer away from trees or any upright structures that may creak and blow down in the wind. It could threaten your very survival.

Your senses are incredibly finely tuned. They need to be, as you depend on them for survival. You’re not like man who has dumbed down these senses and relies on words now to communicate. You rely on picking up on your feelings and those of your fellow herd members and awareness of any intruders. Some humans are still able to sense when someone creeps up behind them, or intuitively know when someone is friend or foe, even from across a crowded room.

As a horse your other sense that is highly tuned, apart from this ‘sixth sense’ of feeling, is the sense of smell. You literally smell fear. Your sense of smell is the strongest sense you have. It is the sense that is first processed by the brain and takes up a large percentage of your senses. Not only can you smell fear, you can smell peacefulness. When it’s not peaceful you are on high alert. Yes, peacefulness and calm have a particular smell. It’s something you were familiar with since birth when nurtured by your mother. She taught you the difference between that peacefulness and fear, and then all the different smells in between.

Your ears are pricked and move in different directions to sense sound. You are highly aware of sounds – wind in the trees to tell you to stay away from creaking objects. Bird, insect and other animal alarm cries or sounds, telling you an intruder is near. Deer cracking twigs underfoot in the woodland as they quickly move almost silently away from danger, or a rabbit scuttling for his hole in the ground when a fox is near. This backs up your sense of smell.

Sight comes next – you can have your eyes shut and be intensely aware of these other senses, but when your eyes are open you see anything unfamiliar to you and often this spirals you into uncertainty and fear. It’s hard to investigate new things as every fibre in your body tells you to flee anything unfamiliar as it may be an attacker who is about to jump on your back and bring you down.

Your hooves are like shock absorbers on the ground and act like a pump, circulating blood supply and keeping your immune system alive and healthy. Your digestive system needs near constant food passing through it in the way of grasses that are not too rich, leaves, medicinal herbs and plants which you innately know and sense, seeking them out and browsing whilst using your sense of smell and intuitive knowing. You are adept at selecting the plants that will assist any parasitic burden to stay at a healthy level, your gut flora to be beneficial and your skin to be able to resist flies and midges. Your organs – liver, kidneys, heart, lungs and so on are all regulated by the healthy selection and balance of the plants you graze.

You travel usually about 25 miles a day over mixed terrain, keeping your hooves trimmed and in perfect balance to aid your limbs and joints, blood supply and healthy tissue. You know where fresh clean water is by travelling near or along water ways and always have plentiful supply of fresh water to hydrate you, to splash in and to quench your thirst.

Your coat is thick in winter and short in summer, with its natural thermo-regulation of heat and cool with the way the hairs stand on end and allow a breeze through, or to protect from the wind and cold. In winter it forms a warm pocket of air between each hair, and in summer you use this hair to keep you cool. Your skin is able to modulate the way the hair moves. Your whiskers are like radar or bat sonar. Each individual one is able to pick up on every feeling and sense around you and they are especially helpful to you at night time. Your forelock, mane and tail protect you from flies and offer a further barrier from the weather.

The company of other horses is vital to your wellbeing. Not only the sense of the herd for safety but also for companionship and mutual grooming, – they are like minded beings with whom you completely resonate. Other beings cannot replicate this. You are relaxed in your herd and have no particular pecking order – this is a man made concept – instead you take turns at being look out, instigating fun, mutual grooming, hunting for good forage, sensing water or danger etc. A healthy herd takes turns. A healed and untraumatised, unconditioned and undomesticated herd does not normally have a ‘herd leader’ or herd bully. There are older and wiser ones but the young are also wise and have plenty to offer the group.

You need food, not only for sustenance, but also for your internal heat source in winter which acts a little like a compost heap! In summer too you need food almost around the clock to stop you from producing too much acid in your gut which will cause ulcers. This acid is produced to break down food but too much with too little food to process is also produced at times of stress.

You sleep standing up but also need deep REM sleep lying down, but you cannot do this unless you feel protected by other herd members looking out for you.


How would it be then if another being trapped you, put you in what would feel to you to be an unsafe structure on your own, if they trimmed your whiskers, clipped your hair, nailed metal to your feet, starved you of your supply of medicinal plants, restricted your need of constant food, so that you had acid eating into your stomach lining causing ulcers. How would it feel for you if you couldn’t access fresh grazing constantly so you had a heavy parasite burden that you couldn’t then throw off naturally? Then you were then given chemicals to kill that off; but those had their own side-effects for you. You might be given rugs to wear because your coat had been clipped. This could make you feel too hot if you moved about too much, so you stopped moving and this had an impact on your health of course. If you were separated from your herd and felt isolated, afraid and withdrawn, if you couldn’t get out of this “cage” you were locked into but knew that if you fought you would be tired … and you needed to conserve your vital energy to flee danger and so you resigned to submit. You shut down and accepted your lot. It was the safest way.

The only time you were let out of your “box” (Yes humans even call a stable a box) was to be put into a ‘field’ which consists of a fenced area with nothing much to explore, sometimes no shade or even anything to scratch on, often lonely without companions there either. This area, often full of rich grasses with too much sugar which causes too much fat, an unhealthy immune system and even excruciating pain in your hooves and legs. In this situation you would be unable to fight off illness easily or regulate the effects of fly and midge bites that would react badly on your skin. What if your water supply wasn’t fresh and running and was even stagnant and smelly. You would have to drink it or you would die. You would have to accept what you were given for survival. Survival was your aim. You were threatened with pain and fear and had to accept that you had no choice…

Under these circumstances it would feel as though man was able to act like your predator and sit on your back – at first every fibre of your being of course reacted to this, but eventually if your will was broken you just accepted, were conditioned to having a saddle tied tight around you, a hard piece of metal in your very sensitive mouth, tight pieces of dried animal skin (“leather”) tied around your soft and sensitive facial structures which tightened onto every pressure point, shutting you down into greater and greater submission. Sometimes you would fight back and then these restrictions would inevitably become more intense… stronger bits causing more pain in your mouth and on the tongue, nosebands and chains around the nose, muzzle and lips and closing your mouth to keep you from ‘avoiding the bit’ or being able to breathe properly. Then when man sat on your back it caused much pain on your muscles and pinched nerves, but you had to just accept this or you would be punished, shouted at, jabbed in the mouth or even kicked or whipped. You learned it was safer to submit or things would just get worse.

The Racecourse, the Polo Field, The Events.

Sometimes man raced you. The only time you galloped flat out like that in the wild was when you were in absolute terror and fear for your life and so the adrenaline surged uncontrollably. You knew when you were in that much fear that you couldn’t show pain … it was imperative that you stayed with the herd at all costs. And so often you bled from your nose because blood vessels had burst, but still you galloped. Sometimes tendons ruptured in your legs, but still you galloped on. Fear kept you going and you couldn’t feel these other senses much in that adrenaline surged fear. It wasn’t until you stopped that the uncontrollable pain took over, but people stood around you making a huge noise and so you learned to shut down further. Shutting down and submitting was your only way of coping this insanity and control.

There were many things man did to you apart from race you – making you jump objects which naturally you wouldn’t consider jumping, being ridden along roads with frightening vehicles coming towards you and from behind, passing objects unfamiliar and scary, but these humans were scarier than the cars, lorries, tractors and busses, and unfamiliar objects and so you obeyed – it was just easier and safer.

Rectifying the Wrongs.

All this trauma, fear, conditioned acceptance, abuse and isolation, lack of the right food etc takes its toll and a long while to rehabilitate from when horses are rescued from this unnatural life.


I don’t profess to give them totally what they need, for they are still domesticated here and don’t have access to the rugged terrain that will self trim their feet or all the medicinal plants they would naturally be able to select for themselves. They are confined into an area of woodland, grazing, open barns and heathland which gives them a lot of enrichment but isn’t equivalent to what they’d have in the wild. Because we aren’t (yet) able to just turn horses free to live safely on national conservation land, we are restricted in what we can offer them, but I am learning from them daily and giving them the best I am able to give.

thumbnail_FullSizeRenderThis means as much choice as I possibly can provide – an open door policy where they are not isolated from each other, not shut into stables (cages), not ridden, not worked, but are given the freedom to exercise themselves, allowed to release past trauma through our unique rehabilitation methods and allowed to feel peaceful with their feet being trimmed, teeth being rasped, herbs being offered on a self select basis, constant access to non rich grasses and unsprayed, organically grown meadow hay, a constant supply of fresh water and of course the compthumbnail_IMG_0828any of a ‘forever’ herd. We no longer have ones coming and going, so that it replicates the bonds they’d be able to form in the wild.

I’m learning every moment of every day with them, usually subtle nuances now rather than the big things, but always questioning.


When seen through the eyes of a horse, it makes what man generally does to them seem barbaric doesn’t it? Scary then isn’t it that we feel we are ‘treating them like kings’. So much in our lives is like this. Our perception just doesn’t reflect the reality of the situation.

One of life’s great tragedies is that many wonderfully kind, well meaning and gentle people who genuinely love their horses and truly believe they are doing their very best for them, are daily perpetuating a way of life that is so unnatural for the creature they love and cherish, that they are unaware of what in fact is happening.

We used to keep slaves in England, it seemed a natural way of life. In many parts of the world sadly it is still common practice, which the majority of people in this country abhor and wish to eliminate. Any right minded and law abiding citizen in our country would wish this vile practice to be eradicated from society.

Do we not owe the same freedom for our equine community?



On vulnerability and unconditonal love…

On vulnerability and unconditonal love…

IMG_0345Me n my girl Missy.
19399116_10155584439987625_1081170856834733161_nThis incredibly special horse has taught me SO much over the last five and a half years we’ve known each other. When I first met her she was a sadly typical highly strung ex-racehorse, destined as many are, to be put to sleep at the tender age of 13. I stepped in and brought her home and so began our journey of trust building.

By not expecting anything of her other than to just be a horse, she began to realise I was not going to try and control, dominate or harm her and so she began to soften and relax. Once I had started my practitioner training six months later, things shifted a lot quicker and trust deepened, her confidence developed and true peacefulness was felt between us with the help of mindfulness and communication.

Our closeness continues to grow as I learn more from her each day – how to be close without any neediness and with complete and utter regard for her on a very deep feeling level. I’ve learned how to accept healing from her as she has from me, and we share feelings which we then both release in a very profound way. She has shown me some huge trauma in her life by communication as if I was watching a film of her life – and thanks to deepening my ability to hold a compassionate, still space, ground myself and release these feelings, Missy then felt able to trust me to witness this trauma which in turn enabled her to release it at a deep cellular level of her being.  

Some animals are so ready to let go of past trauma that they do so instantly in one session even if I’ve never met them before.
And then there are those that take a little longer… five and a half years and then some!!

Missy had lost a LOT in her life, and it took her a long time to allow other horses and humans near her – physically and emotionally.

Last August saw the start of her new found assertiveness – claiming shelter space and hay for the first time since I’d known her! It was so great to see this shift.

19397009_10155584445672625_6548722040652386961_nA couple of months ago she began to bond with Spirit and they both allowed themselves to feel vulnerability and closeness in a way that neither of the had been able to for a long time. The moment they lay down next to each other was so heart-warming and monumental.



Everything about her had noticeably softened as she became the first to greet visitors, instead of being the most wary and secluded of the herd.

She has gradually allowed people and horses closer in to her personal space, trusting that they will listen and respect her when she subtly lets us all know that we are close enough.

Last night, Missy allowed Thunder to slowly mutual groom her…. this was the first time she has allowed any horse this physically close since her dear Eddie passed over in March last year. Such a huge, heart-bursting joy to witness!




This morning at our open morning, she and Thunder came up to the fence to greet our visitors and once again showed off their gentle mutual grooming prowess up close and personal!



Towards the end of the morning Missy then allowed Blue to share this newfound pleasure too. There was absolutely nothing tentative about this mutual grooming session!

19400023_10155584436312625_5284628561340017819_n 19399265_10155584437537625_3597491436513837913_n  19399816_10155584439052625_5217142765563616475_n   So very, very special.  Thank you Missy for being in my life and teaching me so much.


What a difference a year makes!

What a difference a year makes!

What a difference a year makes!!!


This time last year, our dearest beautiful pony Blue Moon came to live with us. She had been rescued from a hugely traumatic situation and I let go of any expectation that this lovely soul would ever be able to trust humans. From what she’d been through in her short life, it wouldn’t be at all surprising if this was her decision! This first picture is after just a few weeks of her living with us, when she very first begun to trust us enough to approach and eat some hay near me! Before this day, about 200 yards away was plenty close enough for her. It was an incredibly rewarding moment and I still remember how my heart was burst open by how close she tentatively came. Charlotte and I sat with her, using mindfulness, patience and deep peace, and eventually she allowed us closer, til I could rest my hand on the ground near to where she was eating.

Such a huge privilege.



18698515_10155472681292625_497136080619153603_nAfter just six weeks she was trusting me to gently give her a good scratch and then even chose to put her head into a headcollar so she could happily and peacefully come for a walk up the lane with us! After a week or so more she was allowing me to pick up her feet so they could be cared for. So fast, so incredible and such huge trust from her in me. 18664297_10155472692487625_5589762755350341622_n



This is complete testament to the way of connecting that I practice … creating a peaceful, trusting environment with no expectations, enabling us all – humans and non-human animals alike – to completely release past trauma and fear and to replace this with deep peace, uncconditional love, confidence and trust … all in their own sweet time. <3



Blue widened her circle of trust to include my daughter Charlotte, my son Will and my partner David. We all help peaceful, mindful space for her to get to know us in her own time.






Eventually her trust in humanity increased, she was able to let go of her fear and release her past trauma.  Blue now enjoys the peaceful company of many lovely people who come and spend time with the herd at retreats, learning how to connect with animals in this beautiful way.






Over the last year our bond has deepened even more as she and the other horses fully trust that I – and everyone that I invite into their space – will completely regard and respect them in every single way. She and the rest of the herd live as near a natural horse life as possible, having freedom of choice in as much of their life as we can manage. This means not using them in any way and regarding them fully in every moment.

Today David and I enjoyed the peace of the herd snoozing in the hot morning sun at 7am. Birdsong filled the air and a deep sense of unconditional love and deep peace was completely tangible.
These moments of Blue and Shotun allowing me to keep watch as they sleep will live in my heart forever.




I have the very best life that I could ever possibly imagine! I am so lucky, so blessed, and so privileged to be trusted by this herd of incredibly beautiful souls.


Take my hand, sweet sister. You are not alone on this dark night.

Take my hand, sweet sister. You are not alone on this dark night.

Take my hand, sweet sister. You are not alone on this dark night.

I know this life has brought you to your knees. I see the shadows of doubt and fear etched on your precious face. I see your strong shoulders bowing under the weight of the whole world’s pain. I see the dried blood on your soft hands from clawing your way out of all places you did not belong.

It is time to Rise.

Come with me to the water’s edge and look into your own radiant eyes. For it is there you shall see your blazing truth: You are too beautiful to be hidden. You are too powerful to stay small. You are so much more than the life that contains you.

Set down your sword, sister. You are a warrior, but your power does not lie in weapons. Your true strength lies in the mysteries hidden beneath your sumptuous skin. It swells in your shining moon-belly, cascades over the mountains of your honeyed hips, and pulsates through your thunderstorm-heart.

Let us journey through the desolate lowlands of sorrow to the epic wall you built around that heart so long ago. See the wall now covered in the moss of sadness and the vine of regret. Allow yourself to take it down brick by brick with trembling hands.

Let your sacred tears cascade like a waterfall upon all the wounds that your own sword has inflicted. Listen as your heart beats stronger and more insistent with every tear drop, in perfect time with the rhythm of life: Love. Love. Love.

With a free heart, watch the land come alive again. First wild flowers will burst forth, and then whole jungles full of rainbow-feathered birds and roaring beasts. Do not be afraid, darling one. They are all here for you.

Travel to all the forgotten places. Dance naked beneath the shining starlight of your intuition. Rediscover the ancient mysteries drawn on the walls of your womb and the wisdom of the ever-changing scarlet tides of your blood. Step boldly into the long-suppressed fires of sacred anger, allowing yourself to be engulfed and transformed by the raging flames.

Tiptoe carefully into the darkest shadows of yourself to behold the savage dragons and the tender little girl they protect. See every muddy, bloody, wild part of yourself, and embrace it all. Your messiness is your magnificence. Your humanness is radiant beauty in motion. You are a powerful, magical creatress.

Know your lover deep in your heart. Feel their integrity, strength and courage, so that when you see them — for the first time or the hundredth — you may recognize their true divinity.

Remember the devotion of your sisters and the endless lifetimes we have gathered together. Let us always make circles and dance with Maiden Earth below us, the red tent holding us, and Grandmother Moon above.

Surrender to your own sacredness. Let your sword stay fallen and your walls continue to crumble. When the world brings you to your knees again, when you can barely see through the darkness, know this: You are love. It radiates through every cell of your being. Let it shine out onto everything and everyone you touch. And Rise..

Author: Catherine McInnes-Wright

Image may contain: one or more people, outdoor and nature

Trust can be hard, and so often we suffer in silence…

Trust can be hard, and so often we suffer in silence…

IMG_20170218_152330Watching from the car when I first arrived, much too early for my appointment, I saw Jacqui walk into a field of horses and stand for a few moments while they ambled towards her. She sat on the ground when they got nearer and one by one each one yawned and again, one by one their heads lowered in a completely relaxed state, they then lay down in a stretched out state of utter trusting relaxation. What was this all about? Slowly Jacqui got up and left them all dozing in the warm spring sun.

These horses have come through the darkest of situations. Beings who had given up hope. When a being feels there is no hope and is resigned to the life assigned to them it is so often visible in their eyes, their bearing and their fear of trusting in any other being.
It is the same for human beings as it is for animals and they frequently recognise it in one another.  This is particularly so for the noble and beautiful horse family. Their willingness to acquiesce to the will of their human masters is usually through domination and sometimes that has been known to have been accompanied by aggression of the most terrible kind.
For many human beings a state of depression, leading to deepest despair, is like a living hell. It can be caused by many things but as with the animal family, the result is the same – trust is hard, if not impossible to find in such cases.
We suffer in silence.

Jacqui recognises this need for trust in order to be able to heal, and has set up a healing space for horses and people which is incredible in its atmosphere of peace and tranquility. Trust exudes from the creatures in her care.  To see her with them is like watching a magical interaction that amazes, especially when you realise that most of these horses have been rescued from the most dire of situations. One, a racehorse so damaged by her treatment that she could not bear to be touched. Another, tied up and abandoned, neglected, uncared for, unfed and dying. A foal, taken from its mother and abandoned on a road, hardly weaned when it was found and taken in.  Another found wedged in a ditch and had to be craned out in a terrified state and completely unmanageable. The stories of her rescued and rehabilitated friends are horrific in their cruelty.
“It takes a different time for each horse” Jacqui explained. In spite of the fact that their instinct tells them that this woman’s gentleness is not going to hurt them, they have learnt from experience that humans can do harm to them. It takes time for them to trust.

Working with a mindful way of being and unconditional love is something Jacqui has done with and for her human clients for years and the discovery that it works miracles with animals as well has literally been a life saver for her animal clients too.

15622295_10154959107132625_5285960028905984368_n“It’s my greatest pleasure to rest and relax with our herd. The way they teach us to truly be in the moment and accept everything is wonderfully healing for both them and us,” Jacqui shared with me.  “My aim is to share this way of being so that our relationship with animals can change to one of unconditional love, rather than using them or needing them to fix something within us.”

Not just people with animals in their lives can benefit though. It’s already been so helpful for people with depression and anxiety, people who have been abused and lacking in confidence and trust. “I have a theory that people with dementia could also be helped” she told me. The possibilities seem endless.  A child who was diagnosed with extreme ASD and had not been able to sit still, pay attention to anything, whose life was an endless struggle, had been captivated by the reaction of a dog which, itself, helped by the trust of this mindful work had responded to the child. Within one short walk together with his new companion, Jacqui was able to help him to be still, listen to the sound of his own feet on the gravel path, notice the difference between gravel and grass, hear the bird song around him. His longtime carers said “We were astounded, we had never seen this teenage boy attentive to anything before”.

Her work with dogs and horses living with people at the end of their tether to the extent that Jacqui is the last resort before euthanasia, is remarkable.  Of course their people by this time need support and healing as well as the animals in their care, but love and trust is found and lives are saved which is a blessing for everyone.

DSC_0827Here is such good work done, such healing manifested and such peace available to people like the restless child, the depressed adult, with all people looking for a new quietened way of living that I wished I could shout from the barn rooftop “Come here! Put your troubles away for long enough to see how life could be for you.”   The lovely couple, Jacqui and her partner David, who run this haven of tranquility have only so many hours to spare and those who can spend time here are fortunate indeed to be able to enjoy what I enjoyed on that glorious spring day.

written by Carly Allen.

See Jacqui’s website for more about this way of being.

Advanced practitioner level workshops are offered, if you would like to share this way of being with others.  Together we can make a difference.



Why go on a “Mindfulness with Animals Retreat”?

Why go on a “Mindfulness with Animals Retreat”?





12095998_10153596019930853_7418422425715352711_nSometimes we need to just press pause on our lives! It’s very refreshing to step back from the busy-ness of every day life. A great way to achieve this is to go on a Mindfulness with Animals Retreat. This time away from our normal routine is far more than a workshop or weekend break. It’s a time to reflect and transform, so that we may return to our daily life refreshed, remembering our soul connection and embracing a new way of being, with a new skill.  A Mindfulness with Animals Retreat gives us time for healing, reflection and guided meditations so that we may go deep within and spend time quietly with ourselves.

10252068_10152584412350853_2148939678757539649_nA retreat with us will offer you mindfulness, deep peace, re-membering how to connect with our intuitive knowing and a wonderful re-connection with everything around us. Our retreats take place in stunning countryside, staying in beautiful cottages or yurts, with delicious animal friendly food, so that our senses may be reawakened to the sights and sounds of nature. When we spend time mindfully, we can more easily hear our intuition when it quietly whispers to us. We are also able to notice when a bird sings far away, deeply breathe in the smell of the earth, flowers or grass, enjoy the sun or a soft breeze on our skin and give each step our mindful attention, expanding our awareness more than we usually are able to do.

latest view 15 06 In addition to all this, we are able to re-member intuitive ways of re-connecting and communicating  with each other, with other animals and with nature.  Through learning Mindfulness, Animal Communication and Animal Healing, we are able to look at the world through completely new eyes.  Hopefully, when we return home, we can take a this time alone back with us and create regular time for mindfulness, incorporating new ways of being with others – humans and non-human animals alike.

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(Thank you to  Country Ways in North Devon for the stunning photos of one of our retreat venues.)

Happy Chinese New Year!

Happy Chinese New Year!

All of us at Mindfulness with Animals – Jacqui, Ollie, Missy and Eddie – wish you a very Happy Year of the Red Fire Monkey!!

The Chinese New Year of the Fire Monkey will start on February 8, 2016 – the second New Moon after the Solstice. Following 12 months of the dignified and surefooted Goat, the New Year of the Red Monkey is going shake, rattle and roll!


We are already feeling that here in the UK with crazy, wild storms blowing more than a few cobwebs away!



This is just how little Ollie looked today trying to get out into the garden! The pesky monkey kicked off the New Year for me at 1am by blowing the crown cover off of my yurt, leaving my beautiful tranquil healing space exposed to the heavy rain which then drenched everything! I had to laugh … or else I’d cry. At least I started off the New Year laughing with the monkey… let’s hope that humour continues!!

So what do the Chinese astronomers have to say we are about to leap into?

“The Monkey increases communication, humour and wit, helping us get through stressful times with grace and ease.”

Hmm, well humour definitely does help!

“A particularly auspicious time for new inventions, the Year of the Monkey is for taking risks and being rebellious, a year where agile, inventive minds, sheer guts and bravado will win out. Now is the time of courage, action, anarchy, and true devotion to even the wildest of schemes, a time to start new endeavours, for they are destined to succeed under Monkey’s influence. But a word to the wise: those who can hang on for the wild ride, outsmart the confidence-trickster, and bluff their way through will come out unscathed. Those who are dull or slow witted, and can’t handle the stress will come unglued.

On the individual level, do go ahead with your life. Move forward, make strides, and stretch out for what may lay ahead. The Year Of The Monkey 2016 is a time for business considered as risky, and here the seeds of unplanned success lays. Run with ideas, embrace the inventive, and don’t look back.”

Yay! that sounds like a perfect time to be running with all the wild and crazy ideas I have for sharing retreats with you guys… Kenya, Cape Town, Portugal … and closer to home Scotland, Devon and Sussex.  They are going to be FUN!

“Expect a lot of life changing inventions to be released. The key to success this year is education. This is not meant as mere college or graduate school but to take up courses that matter for your everyday life, not just for your career or status. Don’t be too shy to take up exciting sounding courses at your bookshop or join those financial groups to help manage your money or start up a small business. The monkey is all about being creative and innovative with what you have.”

PERFECT!!! So if it appeals to you to learn a whole new and exciting way of connecting with animals, helping rescue animals to release their past trauma, helping your pets to understand what the hell you are on about :) :) and helping YOU to be the person you want to be in love, work and life in general, then do book yourself a 1:1 consultation or come along to some of the great workshops, clinics and retreats I’m planning … the way you see and experience the world will be forever changed … I’m loving what I am learning and sharing!

“The Year of the Monkey 2016 is a good year to break free and take calculated risks as there is nothing more powerful or rewarding than following your heart’s desire. The energies are supporting these changes.”

So perhaps a trip round the world, helping to rehabilitate all those sanctuary animals so desperately needing our help, like bears, elephants, lions?!!   Really, all this is possible with your new found skills of animal healing and communication. It’s definitely what inspired me to start this training a few years ago.  Closer to home, the thousands of wonderful rescue dogs and cats are equally helped with this beautiful, gentle way of effecting a lasting change.

“Mr. Monkey can be menacing as he can easily overthrow old conventions that no longer work. This could mean toppling of old empires or iron fisted bosses. So just remember, bosses that have been taking advantage of this economic down turn may soon learn to regret it. All things find their balance eventually.”

Wishing you all a very fulfilling, abundant year with good health, wealth and the wisdom to enjoy it all to the max! Most of all, I wish you contentment and love.  Be happy, and help all those we share our beautiful planet with to be happy too.

And don’t forget that leaving that ‘monkey-mind’ behind and being mindful and peaceful is the best way to achieve all that!



Thank you to for your predictions!



What happens during a consultation to help animals?

What happens during a consultation to help animals?

It’s easy to notice how animals respond to our emotional state and vice versa at times of great emotional upset. Recognising this, and the way that animals communicate with each other – on a feeling level – we can begin to realise that all our thoughts and feelings impact on our animals hugely – they pick up on absolutely everything. Often we are not even aware that a feeling, thought or smell can trigger a past memory for us because it happens on a deep subconscious level, however that memory will bring up a feeling that will be affecting the animals around you. Often these feelings around us are too overwhelming for the animals in our lives, so they cope by either shutting down on their feelings or by displaying unwanted behaviour.

Sometimes, especially if a rescue animal, this behaviour is nothing to do with our own feelings, but still we can assist them to reach a place of deep healing and release, and enable them to lead happy, confident and peaceful lives.

During a consultation, I guide you to gently and compassionately release any subconscious ‘triggers’ you may have, if relevant, and teach you how to take your thoughts and feelings to a very still and peaceful ‘being’ state.  I then guide you to share this with the animals around you – working completely at their pace and with complete mindful regard.  This is simpler than you may imagine, and I can help anyone to do this. Really!


It is then possible to help an animal to be very peaceful and calm, and you can develop a lovely trusting relationship together on a completely new level to what has been previously experienced. In this very peaceful state, we can help our animal friends to really listen and understand what is being shown to them, experience situations without fear, and increase their confidence in many situations.

This is all done without the need for any desensitising / flooding or any pressure/release techniques … just pure peacefulness, regard and complete understanding.  It’s very beautiful to witness and be a part of.

Additionally of course it impacts us too, as we are suddenly aware of small, previously unnoticed signs that animals are giving us about a situation and their feelings towards it. This level of true mindful regard is so greatly appreciated by animals, and consequently our relationship becomes even more understanding and deeply trusting.


Taking this peaceful state to an even deeper level, we can help animals to reach a deep healing state where they are then able to release past trauma, abuse and fear which is held in the body at a deep cellular level. During a consultation I teach you how to create and hold this space for your animal friends, which really is a huge privilege and a very moving experience.

By using these methods we are able to enter and interact in the world of true animal intelligence. We then quickly realise that there is never a need for control, dominance, pressure, raised voices or actually any frustration. This is excellent for assisting in all situations, be they behavioural, emotional or physical. It is a wonderfully compassionate way to connect with animals and benefits both them and us beyond words.


Of course it’s not just a wonderful way of helping animals who have behavioural problems … being able to connect and understand our trusted companions and animal friends, as well as undomesticated wild animals, on this deep level is very special. This method of slowing our thinking down and being completely on their wavelength is wonderful for everyone with a love for animals.


If you would like to book a consultation to experience this very special connection between you and the animals in your life, give Jacqui a call on 07946 869454 or email  I look forward to hearing from you. 


Would you like to join me and the horses for a day of mindfulness and connection?

Would you like to join me and the horses for a day of mindfulness and connection?

A couple of weeks ago, we hosted our first Mindfulness with Animals retreat.  Here’s what some of the participants had to say about their day…



DSC_0284“It has been a great honour for me to have the opportunity to connect at that level of awareness with the horses under the guidance of Jacqui. Her gentle way to lead us to empty our mind and be in the “present moment” aware of everything that is and letting go of expectation to find stillness and peace, shared both by humans and animals was truly an amazing experience.

DSC_0281l found easy to follow the instructions and tips that Jaqui shared generously. Since l have had plenty opportunities to practice. And it works like magic! I am very grateful to have taken part in this workshop in a beautiful location where the land, animals and humans can benefit from each other. Thanks to Jacqui, to the lovely small group of like minded people and to the horses for having manifested a wonderful day!”   Patula, Brighton, Oct 2015




“I attended one of Jacqui’s workshops in October and could say it was one of my best decisions. Jacqui is a genuinely beautiful person and soul.She can connect with animals, and people as well, straight away. To watch her work with horses was amazing and just to see how the horses became calm in her presence was magical. I really enjoy working with her and the beautiful herd that belongs to her friend. That day I made a connection with the herd myself and was able to talk to them and feel them. It was unbelievable. I loved it and will definitely work with Jacqui in future again.” Lenka, Forest Row. October 2015



“Thank you very much Jacqui for yesterday’s experience.  I felt very grounded when I was with the horses and it must have made the clearing stronger.  The healing carried on through the night. I feel fearless and clear in my head.” AnneMarie, Surrey. October 2015




“I came to the retreat with no real experience of being around horses but a love of animals and a desire for a deeper connection. My previous encounters with horses – one in childhood when I had been thrown and one in later years when I had been on the receiving end of a kick – had left me wary. After learning more about Mindfulness with Animals in a small, friendly, multi-national group we were able to practise amongst a herd of beautiful horses. With the aid of Jacqui’s gentle and reassuring presence, I was able to let go of my initial nervousness and relax into the wonder of being close to these magnificent creatures. Early on I was able to witness a horse releasing with continued yawns next to one of the participants – it was very moving. Later in the afternoon after a talk from Jacqui about healing I found, to my surprise, that I was able to connect with one of the horses and pick up on its emotional and physical state. At the end of the day, it was very heart-warming to feel the gratitude of the horses as we were preparing to leave. Jacqui is very passionate about what she does and it was a wonderful reminder of how simple it is for us to connect to all of life when we drop back into our be-ingness and that animals are particularly receptive to this. I would highly recommend the retreat – it was a beautiful experience.” Marian Geddes, London. October 2015


If you’d like to book on to a forthcoming Mindfulness with Animals retreat, please email me so that I can let you know as soon as the next dates are arranged.

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How horses help people with dementia…

How horses help people with dementia…

This  interesting research is very positive news for anyone with dementia, or anyone caring for friends and family with dementia.



I love taking my horses for walks around the many beautiful bridleways adjoining their fields. The views are spectacular, and the gentle mindful walking is a wonderful way to connect with these very special animals.



The combination of my Reiki and Mindfulness with Animals work puts me in an ideal position to offer help to people who would like to come and spend time with my horses, receiving this wonderful blend of mindfulness, outdoor exercise and intuitive horse healing.

No previous horse experience is necessary, and no riding is involved.  All levels of ability, confidence and fitness are welcome, as I will tailor a one to one session especially for you and your requirements.



Sessions include an introduction to “Mindfulness with Animals”, meeting your gentle horse companion in a quiet, mindful way to develop your confidence and relationship together and a walk either in enclosed meadows, on quiet private lanes or in beautiful woodland (depending upon your requirements).

Half an hour (£25) or one hour (£40).