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Horses as healers: Day of the Wise Woman – Wisdom of the Horse

Equus coach Chris Burnett with “Blue.” Val Lemings

By Nancy Jennings

Chris Burnett wants you to find yourself in the heart of a horse. Her one-day event – “Day of the Wise Woman/Wisdom of the Horse” takes place on Saturday, Sept. 29, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Oregon Garden Resort. Lunch will be provided. Inside of the J. Frank Schmidt Jr. Pavilion, participants will have a chance to learn from a panel of presenters/coaches ways they can tap into their internal “wise woman” by understanding their own intuitive power, experience the healing power of Chinese Medicine drumming, experience Equus Coaching® with horses onsite and hear an inspirational keynote message from leadership coach Lou Radja.

With 40 years of experience in the equine world, Burnett, 64, is excited to share her knowledge with others. “Interacting with a trained coach and a horse in a one-on-one setting can be a powerful and enlightening experience for a coaching client,” the Molalla resident said.

This event was born out of Burnett’s desire to add her voice to the current women’s empowerment movement going on in this country. “I was thinking of how I could do that and incorporate the healing power of horses in a way that made sense,” she said. She added that this event is also open to men. “We are all
a combination of masculine and
feminine energy.”

“I put together a steering committee of friends and colleagues. We created an agenda that includes speakers who are all coaches, leaders and healers that I have known that utilize intuition and the ways of nature to bring us back to our center. It’s easy to lose ourselves in our fast-paced, digitized world. Horses bring us back to our center, our true selves in a safe non-judgmental way. The afternoon is all about the horses and includes a demonstration of Equus Coaching® and work at ‘Liberty’ (think of one-on-one dancing with a horse set to music) done by Linda Wagner of Wild Horse Mountain Farms in Sherwood.”

On a personal note, Burnett and her husband, Mark, moved to Molalla from Illinois in 2013. They own the Markum Inn restaurant near Scotts Mills. The couple have no children, but they dote on their furry companions. “All of my children have four legs,” she grinned. Her horses “Whiskey,” “Diego” and “Blue” share a large stable with frequent visits from dogs, “Tyson” and “Bonita.”

She grew up in Illinois and has always loved horses. “I think they were my first conscious thought,” she said, adding that receiving an unexpected gift when she was 12 solidified her passion for all things horses. “A grey Irish Hunter named ‘Danny’ was given to me from an art teacher whose family no longer rode. She wanted him to have a purpose.” Her parents approved. One caveat was that the horse had to remain at his home farm nearby, and she visited often, drawn to him like a magnet.   

Her field of study upon entering college was set. She earned her B.S. degree in Equestrian Studies from William Woods College in Fulton, Missouri. She received her training and certification as an Equus Coach from California-based Koelle Institute for Equus Coaching®. The requirements consisted of a combination of online classes and trips to Arizona for intensive hands-on training with Institute instructors “for four or five days at a time.” In addition, she needed to complete online courses and coaching sessions with clients for a specific number of hours within a set deadline.

Burnett said this specialized type of coaching is a relatively new practice, being introduced in 2010. To understand the therapeutic benefits, one must look at the nature of the horse itself – and it becomes apparent how the majestic animal can become a “healer.”

“As prey animals, they are very aware of everything for their own safety. They have an extraordinary sense of smell, hearing and the energy around them – including our heart-rate and respiration. They are also masters of reading our body language, including our facial expressions and posture. They are constantly evaluating their environment for threats. But if there is none, they just go back to grazing. If something is not as it appears that causes them concern, it could be a predator in hiding. That’s why they are so good at identifying when we are not being authentic. They’re a perfect mirror to what’s going on in our internal dialogue, what stories we tell ourselves that are either not true or just no longer serve us and why they are such a valuable source of feedback when we’re coaching someone,” she explained.

Other presenters at Day of the Wise Woman/ Wisdom of the Horse include: health advocate, author, and Silverton resident Amy Gigena; Amy Venezia, intuitive coach; CT Holman, Chinese Medicine practitioner; and Lou Radja, a nationally recognized inspirational speaker – who will present the closing keynote “Live, Love and Lead by Design.” In addition to Burnett herself, other participating Equus Coaches will be Linda Riedman; and Willow Vetch, Master Facilitator Equus Coach, from Australia. There will also be vendors with artisan products including art, jewelry, leather goods and more.

Register online at heartofthehorsecoach.com by clicking on “events.” You can register online or by mail. All participants are eligible for a prize drawing at the end of the event, but you must be present
to win.

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