How Horses Help Upstate Women Unwind and Find Self-Acceptance

by Monique L. Ravesloot

We’ve all craved nature at some point. Maybe shopping at Woodruff Road made us long for a hike at Caesars Head. Perhaps trying to find parking downtown left us dreaming of serene waterfalls. Hundreds of studies found proof of what our intuition already knows: spending time in nature reduces stress. Sometimes a quick walk suffices to unwind us, but if not, we could just turn to horses.

It is mid-morning in Piedmont, South Carolina. The ring-a-ling of the gate announces the arrival of Lauren, a client who has to come to spend time with the horses at EquineFlow, an Upstate center for horse-guided human development. Lauren parks her car and walks toward the pasture. A trail of tension seems to follow her; shoulders are tight and teeth are clenched.

Lauren enters the pasture. The horses raise their heads in acknowledgement and settle down to graze again. Lauren stands under an old red oak, quietly observing the tranquil scene. Cows splash in the pond and squirrels jump from tree to tree. Birds twitter while a horse rolls in dirt. A sense of natural balance flows from squirrel to bird, from horse to human. It doesn’t take long before shoulders relax, eyes soften and a deep, audible breath emerges. Lauren says softly, “Oh. I needed this,” and adds, “I wish I could do this all day. It reminds me that despite my rough day, I am okay.”

Being with horses is infinitely grounding. They neither judge us, nor try to fix us. Instead they respect our right to self-determination. Their acceptance of who we are allows us to stop resisting, and helps us find the lesson behind our anguish. So when life become overwhelming, we have the opportunity to simply follow our intuition, and surrender to the blissful tranquility of an unbridled herd of horses in their natural habitat.

Monique L. Ravesloot, CTLC-ES, is a certified transformational life coach, and founder of the EquineFlow Center for Horse Guided Human Development. She lives with partner Mark and son Finn at their urban horse farm in Piedmont. Visit her online at