How Close is Close Enough?

Licensed DEI® Trainer and Equine Assisted Coach Practitioner, Pia Ault, MS, reflects on her recent workshop:


Co-Creation and Connection happened in abundance in last week’s “Let Go and Be Enough” horse-guided workshop in Dubai.

When working with horses, we believe “pressure motivates but release teaches,” and six women applied this concept when actively moving and directing a 1000 lb animal around an arena.

To get to that point in the workshop, we eased into meeting the horses, as it can be daunting to come face to face with a such a powerful sentient being, let alone move it around at liberty.

It never ceases to amaze me how often women doubt and limit themselves, feel inadequate, apologize for themselves and allow others to violate their boundaries, physically and mentally. Setting boundaries and honoring them can bring on shame, anger, guilt, fear – emotions that make us wonder if we’re doing the right thing by saying “no” to others or by protecting ourselves.

We talked about the different emotions, what each looks like at different levels of intensity, and how to regulate them with practices such as grounding and rejuvenation.  We also worked with spatial proximity, how to set and honor boundaries and how to use our energy, while the horses showed us “just how close is close enough?”

The women came to my workshop with their own challenges: loss of a parent, loss of a relationship, loss of a job, bullying and harassment in the workplace, distrust, self doubt … and each received their own “Aha” moments from Lola and Oliver, my wonderful four-legged co-coaches, through carefully guided exercises and practices around emotional regulation, body language and intent.

I am especially amazed at how the six women championed each other and provided a safe space for sharing, creating, honoring, empathizing and letting go – to BE ENOUGH!