Karen Head, owner of Equinection, relies on the wisdom of horses as a source of inspiration for her clients.
Alumna Karen Head conducts workshops at her North Carolina ranch, where she facilitates clients’ “self-discovery through the peace, power, and wisdom of the horse.”
When Karen Head holds a workshop on her 112-acre ranch in Green Mountain, North Carolina, she knows participants are about to discover something important about themselves. That’s because Head GSE’81 has a practice in equine-facilitated learning, or EFL, in which people develop greater self-awareness by interacting with a horse.
Head, a horsewoman since she was 5, discovered EFL by attending a weekend workshop in 2000 and continued to study, qualifying as an advanced EFL facilitator five years later. She opened Equinection in 2003, offering programs in leadership development, women’s issues, and support for health care professionals.
Equinection is featured in the May/June issue of Best Friends magazine. Thank you to Janice Arenofsky for the lovely article.
Exerpt: Geared to small groups of recovered addicts, those in the helping professions (e.g. medicine, social work), dis-empowered women and adults seeking personal development and leadership skills, Equinection uses horses to reconnect people with their strengths, intuition and innate wisdom. “Horses are prey animals,” Karen says, explaining the equine sensitivity to body language and emotions, “Because they also are herd animals, it’s their nature to establish strong relationships and boundaries.” Speaking from personal experience, Karen says horses can boost self-awareness and self-respect.
Our Helping Professionals Day was featured in the Yancey Journal on May 2, 2012.
“After many years of teaching, Karen Head knows that people in the helping professions sometimes need a reminder to nuture themselves. The founder of Green Mountain based Equinection hopes to make it easy for these professionals to renew their spirits by offering Helping Professionals Day on Saturday, May 5th and Thursday, June 14th.
The 10am to 5pm retreat is held at her tranquil 112-acre equine facilitated learning center in Green Mountain. The program is designed for, but not limited to teachers, therapists, physicians, nurses, hospice volunteers and caregivers.”
Sophie magazine editor Jean Ann Taylor came back to visit us and wrote this article in the May 2008 issue.
“After my first visit to Equinection last March, I knew I would go back again someday. There is something there that draws you in and gently holds you. Maybe it’s the quiet peacefulness; there’s no traffic noise, no TV, no Facebook. Maybe it’s the mountains or the horses, or the birds that sing their sweet songs. Maybe it’s the sound of the creek or the openess of the valley. Whatever it is, the unforgettable feeling of contentment and serenity along with a desire to learn more about myself drew me back to Equinection.”
An editorial from Sophie magazine editor, Jean Ann Taylor…
“I’ve always loved horses, and I ride every time I get a chance. There is something that connects me to the earth, to humanity, and to myself when I’m horseback riding. However, I’ve never had an experience quite like the one I had with Karen Head at Equinection where you learn about yourself through the interaction with horses.
That day was nothing short of magical. It started with a walk along the beautiful trail down to the gazebo. Karen and I talked about her life and how she got started in this business. We had an instant connection as we found that we are both dancers, quilters, and love horses.
Karen spent a lot of time explaining our personal energy fields and how important it is to acknowledge and recognize how we feel in the present moment. As we went through exercises together in preparation of interacting with the horses, it was amazing to me how accurate she was. During an exercise where I walked toward Karen, I could truly feel her personal boundaries and knew when it was time to stop and take a step back.”
Written by Sue Wasserman Tuesday, May 22 2012
(originally appeared here on womanetics.com)
It’s impossible to ignore the message when a 1,500 pound horse turns and walks away. Perhaps you’ve never considered the possibility, but Karen Head relies on this premise to craft programs at Equinection, the organization she founded to help people remember their inner strength, insight and wisdom through engaging with the incredible spirit of the horse.
She fell in love with horses as a 5-year-old when she was given her first pony. It became Head’s responsibility to take guests riding at her family’s conference center.
She explains, “I grew close to many of the conferees who ranged from doctors and politicians to members of the Department of Defense and the NAACP. It didn’t seem odd to me that a child and an amazing group of professionals could become friends because the connection came from the heart and our horses.”
Like most teens, she had her share of struggles but always regained her balance with her horses. “The social structure in junior and senior high school was daunting and often demeaning, but from the back of the horse I was beautiful, talented and in tune with the world. I always felt successful with horses no matter what endeavor I chose.”
Over the years, Head earned a master’s degree focused on experiential arts education, worked on a cattle ranch, served as a theater director, earned an Emmy for her work on a documentary film and raised a family. When she learned about Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL), she knew she had found her calling and began her studies at the Epona Center in Arizona, which offers educational programs that employ horses in teaching people skills such as leadership and personal empowerment. After becoming an advanced facilitator and earning national certification, Head shifted her focus toward learning the art of teaching and facilitation at Nierika Sol, an organization committed to helping individuals heighten their awareness and move well beyond self-limiting obstacles in all areas of life.