Heart Centered Horsemanship FAQs

  • How is Carla’s approach different from other horse professionals?

Carla views horses as sentient beings and, as such, advocates the student/horse relationship be based on respect and kindness, never force. Her instruction flows from that connection and thus allows for an intuitive approach that not only respects both horse and student but encourages a self-paced and compassionate learning environment. The result is a rewarding experience for both horse and student.

  • What does a typical HCH session look like?

Because of Carla’s organic approach to teaching, no two sessions are alike. As Carla’s work is based on relationship building it is important for students to know themselves as deeply as they do their equine partner. Each lesson begins with an observation period where students check out their own emotional state and then tune in to how their horse is feeling. This awareness sets the foundation for what follows.

Historically, it was common to see the horse, rather than rider, as the source of problems between the two. HCH sessions are founded on the philosophy that people and horses are equal participants: how one or the other feels can directly affect the session. If, for example, a student is feeling nervous or frustrated, and not acknowledging these feelings, that is, presenting a false front, the horse may become anxious themselves. Any work in calming the horse down will not be fully effective until the student takes care of their own feelings in a healthy manner. Horses are highly sensitive to our internal states, especially if we are not honest about them. When we are mindful of our feelings, and take care of those feeling in a respectful way, i.e. express them by talking them out, we deepen the relationship and increase the potential of having a harmonious session.

In every activity students are given choices in how they want the learning lesson to proceed with full knowledge that things can change for either the horse or person and that is okay. This teaches flexibility and decision making skills that are not only effective in the arena but in school, work and family dynamics.

  • How would my child benefit from an HCH session?

    • A feeling of connection and confidence in horsemanship translates into healthy relationships and self-esteem in social activities outside the arena

    • Increased self-confidence in partnering with and developing a harmonious relationship with an 1100lb sentient being.

    • Being in a learning environment that accepts the student for who they are as a unique person and supports their way of learning.

    • The ability to do a self check-in. This supports students as they move through challenges inside the arena, at school and within family dynamics; a valued skill throughout their lives.

    • Improved decision making skills. Students learn to discern and make choices based on their observations and, through this, develop a greater sense of self-trust. When they trust themselves they are better able to set boundaries and believe in their own strengths and abilities.

    • Experiential compassion for all beings including oneself.

  • What happens if the weather is unpleasant?

Sessions continue through the winter months and are seldom cancelled due to weather. Lots of experiential learning occurs within the barn itself and can be both creative and fun. Developing a relationship with a horse takes time and consistency and a willingness to be there regardless of cool temperatures and rain. This includes stable management, grooming, developing observation skills and, most importantly, spending time with the horse in quiet companionship.

  • What if my child or I am afraid of riding?

Carla’s approach is to meet each student where they are at. There are no agendas or required achievements during sessions. All HCH sessions are centered on developing a relationship with the horse that moves at the student’s pace. This may include spending a few additional sessions just in observation and discussion of the herd. Carla works with fear as she works with all presenting issues, with compassionate understanding and open-hearted support.

  • What is the cancellation policy?

No-shows or appointments not cancelled within 24 hours of the set session time will be billed in full. This cancellation fee must be paid in full before the next session is scheduled. If you arrive late for a session the session will be billed at the full rate and will end at the originally scheduled time.

  • Are there age restrictions?

Carla works with children as young as six and adults as old as 65. An intake form will determine each student’s individual intentions including what they would like to learn and experience.

  • Can Carla teach more than one student at a time?

Carla often teaches more than one student. However, for safety reasons, only one student rides at a time. Many families of one or more siblings have chosen this route. Group programs (five or more students) can be selected through the online schedule . Custom programs are also popular with schools, youth groups and professional organizations.

  • How many sessions do you have to commit to?

Weekly sessions are by far the most popular choice for parents and students. For relationship development, commitment, ongoing learning and skill development this format is the most beneficial. That aside, having regular structured time in nature, connecting with animals and away from expectations is great for the soul.