Dancing With Horses

This article is written by Wendy Rappaport, who is a Green Belt certified Nia teacher in Rhode Island. Deidre Sharp is owner of Horse Play, a non-profit horse rescue and sanctuary in Sunderstown, RI.

One morning one of my students brought a friend to class. After class she was so happy with her experience she just came out and said, “Would you do this with the horses?”

Well, I knew Deidre had something to do with horses and a farm where she took care of them, but that was the last comment I was expecting to hear that Monday morning. With no fear in my heart I immediately answered, “YES, how ‘bout this Saturday!”

It’s almost like someone else was answering for me as I have absolutely no experience with horses at all. The thing is I have been interested in making a stronger connection to the animal world. So there you have it….When the student is ready the teacher will come!

On Saturday I arrived early to check out this new outdoor studio venue! Deidre was busy with her horses, caring for them and working with their individual personalities and issues. Her volunteers who were the class participants started to appear, either coming away from one of their duties or just arriving for the Nia class. I was overwhelmed with the beauty and the immense presence of these gorgeous animals. I felt like I kind of knew them already – like we were meant to meet.

We all walked out to the field where the horses are allowed to roam freely most of the day. The horses were together, about ten of them, eating a "snack" which Deidre thought would be a good idea before class.

Well, again with no fear in my heart and only love for these beautiful creatures, I set up my ipod on the most level spot, told everyone to take off their shoes if they were game, and proceeded to to do the classic Nia routine, Agolo.

The horses were the greatest! They went from completely disinterested to IN MY FACE. Then there were the ones who could care less and the one or two who hung out in the middle of the class the whole time! My favorite point was when there was a chorus line of them standing right in front of me while I was teaching.

It was a terrific first experience and I’ve been back already to do a second class! And, by the way, the human students loved it as well.

As Deidre has stated there is so much we can learn from the horses and they from us.