Can a horse help you to heal? Anna Gassib provides us with a fascinating interview about the healing programs she facilitates through the healing wisdom of horses. She is the proprietor of the Bergen Equestrian Center, located in Leonia, NJ, where she provides a series of non-riding equine treatment programs focused on prevention, education, healing and assisted recover guided by qualified professionals. Sessions benefit individuals and families dealing with life challenges that may include anxiety, isolation, addiction, loss of a loved one, phobias or those suffering from the symptoms of PTSD.
According to Anna, the grace of a horse enriches the body, mind and spirit, resulting in true healing. Listen to a fascinating conversation between Anna, Irene and Stephanie as they discuss how a horse chooses the person he or she will heal, which includes an explanation about the chakra system (also called energy centers) in a horse and how those centers correspond to the chakras in human beings to facilitate healing.
Show links: www.bergenequestrian.com
Contact Info: firstname.lastname@example.org, (201)336-3370
IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL HEAR ABOUT THINGS LIKE:
- How horses can act as natural reiki healers
- How horses can help deal with trauma and recover from addition
- How horses can feel what’s happening within you
- How Anna started with this career
- Why horses cannot lie and will never judge
- Why humans have a deep connection with horses
SOME QUESTIONS STEPH AND IRENE ASKS CAROLYN:
- What is A Stable Life?
- Does the horse choose the person to be healed?
- How many sessions does this healing method require?
- What happens if clients are ashamed of their addictions?
- Can you share an inspiring story of healing?
- Aside from horses, are there other animals who can perform healing?
Listen to the podcast here
Anna Gassib – Horses + Healing with Bergen Equestrian Center
We are still going strong here this fall. Irene, are you there with me again?
I’m excited. We have been talking to such wonderful people who are making a difference on the planet.
It’s been a fun series so far. It’s eye-opening. These interviewees that we have been chatting with have a lot of good perspectives into a world that we are tiptoeing in. You tried to dump me in, but I’m tipping my toes in.
I’m the spiritual one. I threw her into the deep end of the swimming pool with this. I’m getting fantastic feedback on our show. People love the information they are getting and the worlds we are opening up for them they never knew about.
Let’s open that up. If people have questions out there and comments or feedback to send to us, or if they know someone, or you guys out there in this world know someone that you would love to introduce us to, or have us interview or have an incredibly inspiring story to tell, let us know. We would love to chat with you guys. They could email you, Irene. You could send them to me. You are always the chipper.
They can go to your newest website, which is IreneWeinberg.com. They can find all our information there. You guys know how to find us if you want to, but we would love to hear from you. If you guys are and you want to give us a shout-out, let us know. We were talking about doing some Facebook Lives and going on-site to show you some of these live, which will take a whole aspect of this spirituality to a whole other level to witness.
I want to introduce our newest guest. This guest is interesting. We had talked about this on a couple of episodes with Lee VanZyl, and she’s one of our mediums who does galleries. She mentioned this whole new spiritual healing. It’s a healing with horses. We were intrigued to hear about how this is happening and how these horses help that we had to bring them on. We have Anna here. Anna, are you there?
I’m here. I’m excited.
Thanks for joining us. We are intrigued to hear about this technique that you guys are hosting here over in Jersey. We will let you introduce it. Give us a little insight as to what you guys are doing. I know you are called the Bergen Equestrian Center.
I’m the Founder and Executive Director of A Stable Life, and we are located at Bergen Equestrian Center, which I’m also the Director of. We are located in Leonia, New Jersey, and that’s in Bergen County. We are about five minutes from the George Washington Bridge.
I’m in Queens, but I like to shoot over the GW. It’s easy to get there.
Stephanie, I can already visualize a fantastic day for you and me there.
I used to ride horses when I was younger. We had a buckskin quarter horse. His name was Sundance. I have had horses in my life. This takes me back to my childhood a little bit. I’m curious to hear and remember because horses are soothing. They are great with kids. That’s what I loved about them. You don’t ride these horses. These are here to help you. It’s like a therapy. I will let you jump in and take over. Tell us a little bit about A Stable Life.
At A Stable Life at a Bergen Equestrian Center, we provide a variety of non-riding equestrian treatment programs for victims of trauma and those who are experiencing grief that often results or manifests itself in the form of addictions. There are many different types of addictions, like overeating, substance use, and smoking.
Horses and I provide a safe, sacred environment that helps them find a healthy way to ease the pain and have their trauma and grief left in the dirt right here on the arena floor. Horses are natural healers. When you have the session with us, you have two facilitators of the session. One of them is the equine part of it. That’s the horse. The other one is the human. We directed.
Horses are natural reiki healers. Reiki is the way the body stores energy. The way we, as humans, store trauma is we store it in different centers in our body. Horses are always attuned to serenity because that’s where they live. They are simplistic. Their design is all about safety and survival because they are prey animals. Their biological design is all about reading the energy or the energy field. Out on the desert plains or mountains, they have to know, is that lion going to attack me, or is it chilling out in the sun?
They need to be able to read that energy at a glance. Reading us is child’s play to them. They are naturally inclined to do it. They have chakra centers like we do. They have energy centers, but more importantly, their energy centers are huge. They are 1,200 pounds. Their energy centers are a lot bigger than ours. You have that personal space or energy that surrounds you.
People call it different things. People call it an aura. People say, “That’s my purple circle. That’s my energy. Don’t get in there.” For Horses, it’s much bigger because they are bigger. They are natural at reading someone’s energy and clearing it out. They know how to get rid of what doesn’t serve them, limiting beliefs and all that energy that doesn’t serve them. They don’t know how to lie. They are always in their truth. Their gift to us is to bring us back to our truth because only through our truth can we begin to heal.
When people come to your center and they do the work with a horse, they walk out of your center, and a lot of their issues are healed.
I tell people to be ready to leave it in the dirt because you are never going to go through that again. You are not going to experience it again. You are going to leave it here, and it’s going to be gone.
What if a person has an addiction, Anna? They walk in and leave their addiction behind.
Their addiction and what they are addicted to is the byproduct of what’s going on. That’s why I say get to their truth. What’s the truth? What’s the pain? What is addiction? Addiction is easing some pain. It’s a disease that we are manifesting. It is from trauma, grief, and anxiety. It’s a byproduct.
Does the horse choose the person who’s going to be healed? How does that work?
That’s an interesting part of our work. The horse always knows who’s coming into the session. When I go into a session, they always know who the client is. We do it individually and in groups. When we are in a group setting, the horse chooses what part of you. You may not be aware of what part of you is in need of healing or which energy chakra is out of alignment. You may say, “I’m thinking about this and it’s upsetting.” They may come right up to your solar plexus. That’s when I will say, “Where are you powerless in your life? What’s going on here? Where are you feeling that in your life?”
These are group settings. I’m trying to paint a picture here to people out there if they want to do this. I did lose my father. I’m going to use myself as an example here. I have an addiction to smoking. I don’t smoke, but I’m using that as an example. The horse will pick you up. You walk in a group of people. The horse gravitates to you, and they come up to you.
What generally happens is we are in a group setting. Everybody is there in the group setting for healing. It may not all be the same, but they are there for healing. What I would do is take one person up one by one. I may use many different horses for it, or I may use a couple of horses for one person. When we do group stuff, that’s more activity-based. It would be more of limiting beliefs that we would work within a group. It would be to build something and have the horse go through it.
You, as a former rider, know that the horse has to have that trust, and you will understand this. Those out there who have been on a horse will understand this as well. If you get on a horse and you have tremendous anxiety, the horse knows. They can feel it through the arteries in your legs. They can feel your blood pumping. They can feel a fly on their back.
It’s all about survival. They have to twitch that fly or mosquito off. Why? They carry disease. They can feel that mosquito or the fly getting a little blood. They can certainly feel your heart pumping. They can certainly feel what anxiety and what’s going on in your energy centers. They can feel it loud and clear. It speaks volumes when you have a 1,200-pound animal in front of you telling you what your truth is and where you are feeling it.
Is this why when I was about six years old, I got on a horse, and the horse headed for a barn? It almost decapitated me.
Did you have any anxiety?
It was the only time I was ever on a horse. I got frightened because the horse took off and went to the barn.
It could be, and we cannot put this aside. They are animals of prey. If they think that there’s something to be afraid of, their only defense mechanism is to kick or run. They are animals of flight. They are going to get themselves out of there. They have nothing to do with things that do not serve them. There are two categories. A horse will size up a person or a thing and put them into. Things that will eat me and things that won’t.
How did you get into this, Anna?
I have been into horses and different healings for many years. I’m a high empath. I can pick up what’s going on with other people. For many years, I didn’t know what that was all about. I was an executive in the financial industry for several years. I sat in boardrooms for several years. I would feel the energy in the room and say, “This is not right. Something is not right.” It was when I started working with horses several years ago that I started to say, “That’s not my energy. That’s somebody else’s.” I know how I’m feeling.
Horses naturally give you that gift. They bring you front and center immediately. You are faced with a 1,200-pound animal. You are front and center. You have to be. I started feeling, “That’s not mine. That’s theirs.” I started to develop my empathic abilities to where I could read the energy in a room, but not as beautifully as a horse can. Their mass is much bigger than mine. It’s working with that energy that you can say, “Something is going on here. I’m feeling something.” The horse is giving me my confirmation that you are feeling that. It’s right here.
I’m a certified life coach and a business coach. I have been that for many years throughout my corporate life. They direct me to the questions that need to be asked and the healing that needs to be done. You could be smiling on the outside but terrified on the inside. If you are not congruent with what’s going on, they will tell me because they cannot lie. They don’t know how to lie. They don’t carry the stuff that humans carry. Ninety-seven percent of the human beings that I have met carry some unfinished business, whether it’s from their past or limiting beliefs that they had to swallow. They don’t even realize it, but they carry the baggage.
It sounds like the horses remove the mask because a lot of people are wearing a mask. They are putting out a certain image or visual to the world, but deep down, they have a lot of feelings they don’t want people to know about or secrets.
Horses do not lie, especially to themselves.
How do these people walk out of here? People with addictions are leaving them there. Is it a one-time therapy session? Is it where you have to keep coming back to the horses to keep yourself healed? Does it take many times to remove that addiction?
The addiction or the disease will always be with you. You are finding healthier ways to manage it. It’s like having heart disease. You can have heart disease, but you are not going to leave it here. What you will leave here is what’s blocking you from taking your heart medication every day and what’s drawing you to do that. What is smoking? Smoking is easing something. It’s giving you something that you don’t have. There are healthier ways to do that. Horses will point that out and say, “What else can I do? Where else can I find the relief and the ease that I’m seeking? That’s what I’m seeking. I’m seeking ease.
If they leave the form, it’s going to be easier for someone to apply the modalities to stop smoking because what’s been blocking them from doing that is no longer there.
I hold sessions here, generally on Mondays. I do a lot of groups on Monday and Wednesday. The group of women that I was working with was a group of therapists who work in the recovery field. One of the therapists was quitting smoking the whole time she was here. They were here about two and a half hours after the session was over. I went over to her and said, “Did you feel like having a cigarette?” She said, “I didn’t think about it the whole time I was here. I didn’t think about it once.” Take that feeling with you and bring yourself back to it anytime you need it. Bring yourself back to that feeling. That’s what is able to get them through to the next session.
To go back to your question, how many sessions? We usually recommend 6 sessions and continued behavior change for 21 days. That’s where you make the change. After 21 days, it’s a habit. If the behavior changes and you say to me, “I want to get in shape. What’s the action plan?” The horse will tell me whether or not you are in your truth. If you are not in your truth and you are not congruent on what’s going on, the horse will tell me. With their behavior, they will tell me. They will ratchet out in a second.
Some of these people have addictions. You were doing them in groups. What if they are ashamed of their addictions? What if it is overeating or binging? They may not want to admit that. You walk them up individually to the horse, but is that still something they have to come to their truth? Do they have to admit that to you and them and focus on that to be able to remove it?
When we have recovery groups, they are all here for the same reason. All of that mask is gone.
If a person has a personality disorder, like narcissism or borderline personality, do the horses help with that?
We do have quite a few people that are that have been diagnosed. We recommend at first that they do this as the adjunct work. We do have an LCSW on staff. We have a clinician on staff. We do recommend that they do this as an adjunct. I’m not promoting this either way, whatever your psychotherapist or your psychiatrist recommends, but a lot of times, they do end up as this is their primary. They go back to this psychiatrist once a month.
Maybe the horse gets them to acknowledge that they have a problem. They are in denial.
We are stigma and judgment-free because a horse doesn’t care what you have done. A horse doesn’t care about that nonsense. They have no judgment of you. They want to know who’s showing up in front of them. With all you had to do to feed your addiction, they don’t care that. That’s not part of who they are. They are always in their truth. Who’s coming? They have no judgment at all on you. We can honestly say that this is a stigma-free and judgment-free area.
That brings a different level of trust. When we say a safe, sacred environment, we mean that. It brings a whole different level to it. There’s nobody here that’s going to say, “This one has an eating disorder.” This is what’s missing from a lot of group-type therapies. It certainly has its place, but that’s what’s missing because you have the human aspect of it in there.
All humans are subject to judgment. We can say all we want that we don’t judge. We were brought up with certain judgments. We were raised with, “Don’t cross the street on that light,” or, “Don’t touch the hot pan on the stove.” Those are judgments, and certain things are not good for us. It was to keep us safe, but we do have certain judgments that were put in place before we were eight years old. They now have become part of our beliefs. Horses don’t have that. They strip away all of that nonsense.
Can you give a specific story without giving anyone away? Give us an inside view of one of these inspiring stories you have watched firsthand and seen someone transform in front of you.
There are many of them. My inspiring stories happen every time I walk in the ring with somebody. There is one of the young ladies. She’s been coming weekly for the last several weeks. She struggled with running away from home. It’s not because of trauma but because people were family members, and outside influences were putting pressure on her to do something with her life. She was in that transitional place. She thought or viewed that as nagging at her.
The horse was constantly lifting her clothing, shoes, and pants. I said to her, “What’s that all about for you? What’s going on there?” She said, “The horse won’t leave me alone.” I said, “Where’s that happening in your life?” She said, “My mom and dad do that to me all the time.” I said, “What’s that all about?” The horse gave her his heart. I said, “What does that symbolize to you?” She said, “I know they don’t mean anything bad by it.” I said, “Yeah, but now the horse is giving you his heart. What does that symbolize to you, all of that nagging?”
She called it nagging. I used her words right back to her. I said, “What is that nagging all about? The horse is aligning his heart shocker with yours. What’s that all about?” She said, “I guess I associate the nagging with love, don’t I?” I said, “I don’t know. Do you? That’s all you. What is that all about.” When she left here, her shoulders were different. Her face was softer. She walked a little prouder because she said, “Yeah, that’s not love the message behind it is.”
She associated the nagging with her boyfriend and friends started doing it. She was associated that with love. The horse gave me that clear information. The horse couldn’t have been clearer. If the horse had opposing thumbs, I would have written it out on a piece of paper as a diagnosis for me. These are natural gifts that they have and that they give us. It’s whether or not we are listening and picking up on it. It’s a healing, amazing experience to watch people walk out here feeling lighter and differently about themselves.
How do people get ahold of you, Anna?
Our website is www.BergenEquestrian.com, and our email address is BergenEquestrianCenter@gmail.com. My telephone number is (201) 336-3370. That’s the main office. They would ask for me or they would ask to make an appointment with me.
I want to ask you, do you have a tip for joy? How do people find joy in their lives?
The quickest way to joy is through your truth. Stand in your truth, and you will find your joy. That’s because everybody has access to happiness.
I’m looking at your website, Anna, and you said you do groups usually on Mondays and Wednesdays nights.
All day Monday and all day Wednesday. We do groups. We can do them any day, but those are the days we put aside for them. We can do it for individuals by appointment.
When you are saying the horses are these big masses and stuff, are there other animals that you have seen, or do horses work the best? Do cows do this because they are big and docile too? I’m new to this. I’m curious about what people can find or what the trend is and how well this is working even around the world.
If you think about it, horses have been with us since the beginning of time. Think about back in with the Romans and the Trojans. They rode horses into war, recreation, and to plow our fields and horses. We have discovered new territories with horses. Everything has been done with horses. They have been with us the whole time. They are in tune with us.
Other animals can do it. Dogs do carry a little bit of worry and concern. Cats can do it to some extent. For the cows, I can’t speak to that because I have not worked with cows as much. I know donkeys or anything in the equest species I have worked with, and I have worked with mini horses. I have worked with donkeys and anything in the equest species I have worked with. They seem to be in tune with humans.
When you see therapy dogs, we have a lot of those in New York. People keep them for company. I feel like we have forgotten how comforting the animals can be. We loved it. That’s still how my grandparents were. They spent all day in the stables and brushing the horses. It was calming to be around them. That’s why we loved to ride them and go for rides.
We steal a little bit of their serenity. Even in grooming or in being present with them, we feed off of their serenity. It’s such a marvelous thing.
I’m fascinated. I would love to come out and see this firsthand.
I would love to invite you out.
I think we are going to have a date with you, Anna. Leonia is not so far from either one of us.
I don’t know where you are located, but we are only half an hour from Queens.
I’m in West Orange.
It’s only a half hour from West Orange.
I’d love to invite you here.
I’d love to learn more and try to see how this works. Irene lost her husband, and I lost my dad. This has been a whole new lightning experience for me to understand everything, and see it from a different perspective. It’s one thing to hear Irene’s story of loss, but until you lose somebody, you don’t comprehend a lot of it. You see a lot of these and how it can help. I’m fascinated by how great this healing is and how it can bring a sense of calm and peace to your life. This adds a whole new component to it with the horses.
It’s wonderful to provide people with the information. Suffering is optional. We have grief and trauma. We are affected by life, but you don’t have to carry it with you always. There are ways you can heal it and move on to the next chapter of your life.
That’s what horses give us. They teach us that we are not our trauma or grief. That’s a byproduct. That’s not who we are. We are pure positive energy, love, and serenity. That’s who we are. We are not the trauma. It’s an amazing experience that we share with horses.
In a way, they are connecting with our souls.
When we have horses that are sick and that are dying, horses understand that. It’s not something that they dwell on. It’s not that, “I miss my friend.” They have moved on to the next journey. They say their goodbyes. We have to release them in order for them to complete their path. You can see it. That’s what they do because they have a dynamic in their herd dynamics. They will release the departing soul to move on to their next journey.
In many ways, they are much wiser than we human beings.
They tell me that every day.
We are good at complicating our lives way beyond what we need. It’s nice to have this reality check to bring it back to what you are supposed to be and happy and get rid of the trauma that we carry for no reason. We plague ourselves with it.
In a lot of my research in traumatology, part of me thinks that we are almost guilted by society or whatever beliefs and backgrounds. We are almost guilted into carrying it. It’s not necessary. Happiness and joy is the only mandatory thing that we have to do. That’s it.
The horse helps you get in touch with your truth, and once you are in touch with it, by removing whatever energetic blocks you have or whatever your problem is, you are able to allow that into your life.
The horses come from a place where you are not broken. You don’t need to be fixed. You have to move some stuff out of the way. That’s what they come from with their healing. You are not broken. You don’t need to be fixed, which differs a lot from the psychotherapy aspect of it. Talk therapy is different than what we do.
Thanks for taking some time. I don’t want to take up your whole evening, but I appreciate you giving us a little bit more insight into these horses. I’m sure this isn’t the end of our journey with you. We will be around for sure.
We also hold equine meditation classes twice a month. You can check our events for that. We sit in a paddock. The horses are at liberty. They are free. They can choose to join or not. We sit on hay bales and meditate. It’s amazing how many horses will come over and start interacting with people as they are meditating because that’s when you are at a place of serenity. That’s when they join up with you.
Stephanie, you and I have to do that.
You are good at meditating. I will be sitting there doing my to-do list. I’m trying to perfect my meditation, but it’s not great.
I can guarantee that will not happen. Our next one is on October 30th, 2017. We are having horses along with Tibetan bulls, and I can guarantee that will not happen. You will not be doing your to-do list. You will be front and center with the horses.
Do you have a newsletter when people sign on the website that you send people to let them know what events are coming up, if someone wants to go to you for that meditation, or if they have to go to the site?
They have to go to the website, but they can go, send us an email, and ask to be on the contact list for meditations or events in that manner. We can send them out so they don’t have to go onto the site.
I’m looking at your events. You add us to your list, and I will add you to mine. I’d like to know about these because I’m going to try to get out there. I’m looking at all these now to see what’s coming up.
I like to say that because we are introducing all of these different modalities to people. Your modality is right for many people who feel other modalities are not right for them and vice versa. This is a wonderful option and opportunity for a lot of people.
I hope that you guys come, and I’d be happy to let you explore it and feel it.
Keep us posted on your upcoming events, and we will help spread the word to see who’s out there and wants to come by with us. Thanks for sharing. We are going to wrap it up. Until next time. Thanks, ladies.
- Anna Gassib’s Websites: Bergen Equestrian Center, A Stable Life
- Anna Gassib’s Email
- Check out Grief and Rebirth Episode 3: Medium Psychic Lee VanZyl