Park City Lodging talks with owner Alejandra Lara
Park City is deservedly renowned for its many and varied events and activities. To the long list of more familiar options, Park City Horse Experience adds a unique and often profound experience. Owner Alejandra Lara shares her vision with us.
Park City Lodging: What is Park City Horse Experience?
Alejandra Lara: I’ve been working at National Ability Center for 11 years, conducting Equine Assisted Learning programs. The NAC serves individuals with cognitive, behavioral or physical disabilities. Most of the 5,000 participants I have worked with so far were military, and drawing on the success and enjoyment I witnessed, three years ago I decided to expand and create an opportunity for everyone to engage with horses. I started Park City Horse Experience at High Star Ranch in Kamas, a beautiful, natural location with both indoor and outdoor facilities for interacting with the horses.
PCL: Understanding that it isn’t a typical trail ride or a horse show, what happens during a horse experience?
AL: It’s a way of learning more about ourselves, in order to grow and maybe work through some challenging life situations. Horses mirror our internal state. They help us get aligned and congruent what we’re feeling in our bodies; they reflect that in how they relate to us.
For example, a person may come to one of our programs with the persona of “Things are great!” but really they’re feeling sad or angry. They come into the corral with the horse, and the horse reacts by not wanting to connect. Because of their prey nature, horses have developed survival skills, to be very attuned to their environment, including us. They change their breathing pattern to us. If we’re holding our breath, they think we’re anticipating the predator, and they mirror that. We breathe deep and the horse does, too. Our facilitators guide the connection, with awareness of the breath or body sensations, to recognize the internal state as it is. When that happens, the horse connects.
PCL: That’s really fascinating! What programs would you recommend for first time experience?
AL: Our Family Horse Adventure is great for families, for example moms and daughters or dads and sons, or everyone all together. It’s great for all ages and abilities, and the program would be exclusive for just your family. It’s two hours of fun activities where everyone learns to communicate and work together with the horses towards a goal. We can add riding to the experience, too.
Corporate groups also benefit from working with the horses to reach alignment as a team, to work through effective communication skills and in having a unique unparalleled team building experience. Park City Horse Experience can serve small and large groups from a couple of hours to multi day retreats.
The Horse Experience is great for an individual, a couple or a small group that doesn’t want to do a typical spa day, for example. It’s an open-hearted experience, life coaching, if you will. We learn about ourselves from the non-judgmental horse. It’s 90 minutes where you can come with a goal, or we can assess how you’re reacting to the horse and vice versa and customize the experience. Recently we had a client who came with a goal to overcome a fear of horses. Through the experience we discovered she was actually carrying fear from other events in her life. Working with the horse she was able to overcome not only her fear of horses, but also to release and get beyond other fears she was experiencing.
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