Article by Pat Pfaller
I had been working as a humane investigator for a horse rescue organization for a couple of years when I was paired up with Linda for an investigation. She was a new investigator but I quickly realized that she knew way more about horses than I did, there wasn’t much that I could teach her other than how to do an investigation! Once, I picked her up at her barn on the way to a call. I pulled up to a barn that was like no other barn I had ever seen, big and beautiful, and I loved it! After that we didn’t do any more investigations together, she certainly didn’t need supervising around horses and barns.
Over the next couple of years, I attended events at Soulful Prairies and watched as the cabin and the arena barn went up, fencing was installed and her horses were brought in, followed by the house being built. About 2 years ago, after Linda completed her training for Equine Gestalt counseling, she asked if I was interested in doing sessions with her and the horses. Linda already knew a little about the difficulties I was going through after losing my daughter Sara at age 16 to a rare genetic disease. We started, at first on the phone, where I pretty much laid in bed and cried through it. I loved how she would repeat back to me what she heard me saying and pushed me to explore where my feelings were really coming from. I told her my fears, how I felt about myself, my deepest darkest secrets. I worried that she would decide I wasn’t good enough to still be friends, that she would think less of me. People, in general, do not really want to hear how you’re doing, even when they ask, so I had developed a pretty good mask over the years to hide behind. She said I was wrong to think that, that my ability to really dig deep and be honest made her like me more. The sessions evolved into my coming to the barn and working with a horse. Sometimes in the arena, sometimes out in the open field with all the horses grazing around us, and the sun shining down on us.
Linda really listens, she truly cares. She asks the right questions to make you think, and find the answers inside of yourself. She has called me on a couple things when I tried to weasel my way out, and she made me go inside and feel the hurt so I can address it. Sometimes we start out doing something, and I’m thinking in my head “this is kind of silly” and then when I let myself go and dive into the feelings, it really works! I have been working mostly with Cody. He has been amazing! He has stood right next to me, with his heart, as I leaned on him as if to say “I’m here for you” when I was going through a really rough emotional session in a small group. Between him and Linda’s hand on my back, I felt so supported and loved and respected. One time in a larger group setting, again at a difficult time for me which was my daughter’s birthday, Cody stood behind my chair, his head right over my head, occasionally leaning down to rub his chin on my head or breathe deeply and warmly into my ear, as if to say, “I’m here, I gotcha! We’ll get through this together.”
Linda has created her dream place, where humans and animals all are welcome and loved. A place of peace, of self-discovery, a place of learning, of giving back to the community, a place where you can safely traverse any situation without judgment, but mostly a place of serenity, acceptance, and love. I always leave feeling emotionally drained after a session, but also happier, lighter and surer of what I am doing and how I want to move forward. Soulful Prairies and Linda are one and the same, and I am so thankful to have them both in my life.