My name is Marie Ingersoll and I aim to reach people who want help with various aspects of their lives.
I have worked helping people with mental health and addiction problems for nearly 20 years and have also taught horse riding and worked with horses all my life. Only in the last 5 years have I realised the benefits of bringing these worlds together and my horse Bow has helped me discover this as he has had various issues himself.
By trying to ‘fix’ him I have been fortunate enough to meet lots of inspirational people and have learned a great deal about myself, this is why I have called my business ‘Gift Horse’ as that is what Bow has been for me – and now for others.
Horses have special healing powers, they can help to ground you, to calm you and just being with them can make you feel better. They mirror human body language. They accept humans on face value and see beyond our baggage. They are non-judgemental and very accepting. They are large powerful animals with different personalities, just like us.
For us to work with these animals, we must learn about ourselves and how to regulate our thoughts, feelings and emotions.
If you approach a horse in a bad mood or angry, he will not want to be with you and could be perceived by us as ‘naughty’ or ‘awkward’. The horse lives in the moment, it sees what is really going on with us inside.
I may approach my horse with a smile on my face but if inside I am angry, this is what my horse will see and act accordingly. People can learn to control their anxiety or anger and become calmer. Those in recovery can examine their dysfunctional behaviour in a non-confrontational way by working with people and horses, it can help them to learn how to calm themselves, stop and review their thoughts or feelings and learn to come from a better place inside and to make genuine lasting changes. It helps people improve communication skills, increases confidence and self-esteem and improves low mood. You will learn about healthy boundaries and build trust.
I can sit in a room and teach someone how to do a breathing exercise to calm their busy mind. This is effective, but what horses can teach us is even more effective. I have experienced clients getting feedback from a horse: “I don’t want to be with you as you are stressed” (the horse walks away), then the client takes a look inside themselves, practices some breathing exercises, letting go of whatever is bothering them at that moment and tries again to engage the horse – and the horse will give immediate feedback of: “Hi what shall we do then?”.
The feedback from the horse is very powerful and has a deeper and more lasting effect than just practising calming exercises sitting in a room. This is one way horses can help us. You do not have to be a horse lover or fan but just an interest, or even if you come with some fear of them, they will still help you as that is in their nature.
I have worked with people with addiction problems for many years and have always been interested in what helps people change, I truly believe that as well as talking things through with me, finding motivation, making determinations to change aspects of your life, by working with the horses they will help you to practice new skills, let go of old negative emotions and move on with your life with renewed inspiration which lasts.
Within my sessions with clients I will use the skills that I have been trained in and have practised such as Motivational Interviewing, Solution Focused Therapy, Counselling Skills, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Transactional Analysis, Neuro Linguistic Programming and Mindfulness practices.
I will tailor make the sessions to suit you and support you to reach your goals. Your sessions with me may be just a few or ongoing but they will help you to reach your full potential and move on from negativity. I do not offer psychotherapy as I am not a trained psychotherapist but our sessions will definitely be therapeutic.
I will respect your individuality and confidentiality and work in a safe, structured way with you. The settings of our sessions will be mainly outside, with the horses; we may also walk and talk or there can also be talking sessions indoors, depending on your needs.
I have three horses myself all with very different personalities. I look forward to you meeting them and starting on your journey. Please contact me for further information and read the feedback provided by others who know and have worked with me.