Sally Utton is a Trust Technique® Practitioner who works with all types of animals and is a BHS Accredited Senior Coach. Sally takes us on her journey with her beautiful mare Grace and gives us some insight into her healing and calming world with animals.
Do you believe that Grace was sent to you for a reason?
Yes absolutely. I believe she came along to challenge all my beliefs about myself and how I interact with others and the world around me. The human race has taken a turn in the wrong direction, we have become disconnected not only from the natural world, but others and even ourselves.
While the natural world and all living beings know how to function in harmony and how to come back into balance intuitively, we have separated ourselves from that, believing that we have more knowledge, more power and as a result are constantly unbalancing the nature of the planet.
We all have a “Grace” in our lives, someone or something who is guiding us back to ourselves if we are open to receive their wisdom. Some of them hover around in the background and hope they will get noticed and others make sure they are noticed!
How did the Trust Technique® change your life and how can you describe it to our readers?
Well I already had a meditation practice that was bringing more presence and awareness to my life, and I started that practice because I had realised that I needed those qualities if I was going to be able to be a better horse person.
People who are really good with animals, and I don’t mean those that can get animals to do what they want, but those who animals want to be with and want to co-operate with, have a certain feeling about them. They are peaceful, compassionate and non-confrontational and are interested in mutual benefit, not what they can take out of the relationship.
So when I discovered the Trust Technique®, combining a mindfulness practice with working with animals it was clearly a direction I was drawn to take.
A meditation/mindfulness practice is easy but despite it’s benefits, it can be difficult to find the time, focus and commitment required, even for a few minutes a day, when the world in general is so focused on making progress, achieving something and getting things done, despite the price paid regarding our own health and well-being and those around us.
Knowing that this practice can benefit an animal in your life who may be demonstrating their own issues through what we perceive as difficult behaviours is a really good motivator to find that commitment and the side effect is that it benefits us as well.
In summary, we learn to create a peaceful environment by focusing on being present and aware of our own thinking. We then notice the effect that the change in feeling has on the animal we are practicing with, they will demonstrate their own feelings through the behaviour they show us. We learn to be more observant, to be better listeners and to understand what we can change in order to help them cope in the “human world”.
The more peaceful you feel, the more space you create in your mind, the more you intuitively begin to connect with your animal (and yourself), the more insights you have into what you need to do to help them in that moment.
We are simply promoting peace of mind for both the human and the animal, this changes their perspectives and therefore the behaviour of both, promotes healing of emotional wounds and is complementary to physical healing by reducing the stress hormones in the body which inhibit the healing process.
Would it be fair to say that the Trust Technique® – or being present – is something we should practice at all times and not solely with our animals?
Yes – the present moment is the only place that exists in reality. The past is a memory and the future only exists in our imagination, we can only be in those places while we are thinking, and all the time we are thinking we are not experiencing life as it really is, right now in this moment. Physically we are always present, but the mind can be anywhere at all, this is why we can feel so disconnected, because we are!
When we speak of communication with horses (or other animals), are we referring to dialogue or other practices, and how important is understanding in this process?
I do not consider myself an animal communicator in the sense that most people would understand it, but we can all find a way of communicating with others who do not speak our language.
The first step is to learn to listen, then we have some understanding of what they may be communicating to us through behaviour, body language and emotions. Anyone can do that. In addition, some people may receive pictures, hear words or just “know” what an animal is trying to communicate. The more present you are and the more quiet space you have in your mind the more room there is to receive these insights.
Would you describe yourself to be a horse whisperer?
No – I don’t consider that I have a special gift. We all have these innate qualities, but because we are so involved with our thinking minds we have lost the ability to tap into them. Once we can quieten our busy minds and allow an animal’s opinion to be more important than our own agenda, then change can begin to take place. That is the beauty of the Trust Technique®, anyone can learn it and once you get started it is amazing where it can take you.
What services do you offer your clients?
I teach the Trust Technique® one to one in person or via video call. I work with all animals, not only horses. The basics can be learned in one session, but as with any skill, time, practice and commitment are required if you want it to work for you – it isn’t a magic wand! Follow up sessions can be taken as required to support the process and to help with specific issues that may arise.
I would recommend at least 2 sessions to begin with, one to learn the basics, and a second one following a couple of weeks of practice to fill in any gaps, thereafter whatever is required to keep you on track.
How effective is your work when carried out remotely?
I work remotely via video call, and although it is always good to be in person instead of in front of a computer, it is just as effective. Once you get started you completely forget about the miles between you, and it doesn’t matter where in the world you are.
Has your spirituality evolved with your work and can you quantify?
Yes, definitely. People have different views on what spirituality means, and for the purposes of the Trust Technique® it can be as simple as a peace of mind, which means it can also work for anyone who doesn’t consider themselves spiritual.
Personally it goes beyond that. Peace of mind is the essential first step to creating the space to understand ourselves and others and to trust in our intuition and inner knowing. There is also a greater sense that we are all made of the same physical components and share the same life force.
Fundamentally we are all of the same energy, at the same time individual and as one. With that understanding we are all of the same value, and can only succeed if we work together and not in competition with one another. I’m not saying I’ve got this nailed, I am human after all, but change takes place with presence and awareness.