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Hiking and Healing with Horses

Throughout the year, Four Seasons’ child and adolescent grief program, Compass, offers one-day fun outings centered around connecting grief with daily life and connecting with others. These meet-ups provide the opportunity for grieving children and their families to connect with other families who are also grieving the loss of someone they love. In November, the Compass meet-up took participants to the Nurture + Nature Farm & Retreat Center for a healing hike with their “Healing Herd of Horses” of the Special Liberty Project.

Amy E.- Adult, Child, and Adolescent Grief Coordinator- shares the impact of Compass’ Hiking and Healing with Horses meet-up for grieving children, adolescents, and their families.

“Hiking and Healing with Horses” was a day of profound connections, heartfelt conversations, and transformative moments. Each child was matched with their own horse. We spent time building a relationship with the horses through a mindful grooming session. Did you know that horses have incredible hearing with the ability to hear the heartbeat of a human from four feet away? Horses synchronize their heartbeats with other horses in their herd to sense danger more quickly. The healing power of a mindful grooming session helped our grieving families to slow down, be present, and acknowledge their grief, in whatever form or shape it offered itself. The horses mirrored our emotions, held our pain, and offered us a sense of peace and understanding.

We engaged in a mindful trail walk, as the horses guided us, gently reminding us to embrace each step of the path itself as well as the grief journey, with intention and grace. At the trailhead, families were invited to choose a gem and place the gem onto a tree with a wish for themselves in their grief (pictured below). They were also provided with bio-degradable paper to write something they wanted to bury and let go of. We returned to the farm, and families were invited to paint a rock for the gratitude rock garden with something they are grateful for in their grief.

We also participated in designing a horseshoe in memory of our loved ones and in honor of our grief, as a horseshoe represents good luck and protection as we continue to navigate life after loss. The connection and energy that flowed between the horses and grieving families was extraordinary. It was a reminder that even in our darkest moments, there is always light and love to be found. We celebrated the strength and resilience of these families, who have faced adversity with unwavering courage. We extend our deepest gratitude to the “Healing Herd of Horses” for their incredible partnership and the love they shared as they brought comfort and support to those who need it most.  

Sunday, November 5, the day of the event, was what would have been the 4th birthday of one of our loved ones who had died; he was a son and a brother. We closed the day with the lighting of a candle in his honor. A truly touching and powerful moment. The family was so grateful to have this experience and “something to do” on his birthday and in honor of his life and death.

Do you know a child who could benefit from Compass?

Contact us today at Compass@FourSeasonsCFL.org or 828.692.6178