Q: Who runs these workshops?
QuantumJoys Animal Assisted Inspiration workshops are the creation of Marti McGinnis. She got her start with equine guided educational pursuits while living in Lexington, Kentucky the “Horse Capitol of the World”. An animal lover her whole life it wasn’t until she was in her forties that she partnered with her very first equine companion. She is currently in discussions with others interested in becoming a part of this movement.
Q: Where do the workshops take place?
Currently they are all scheduled in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico but we will take this ‘show on the road’ to wherever interest is high and equines and participants are available.
Q: What training has Marti Had?
Marti has been certified through Level 2 with EAGALA the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association and was the art director for their magazine for four years.
She also reads and studies everything she finds on the topics of equine assisted therapy, coaching and learning including books by:
and many, many more.
For the art aspects of these workshops, see her resume on her art site (www.happyart.com) for a list of noted awards, shows and other professional consideration. She also taught children and adults at the prestigious Evanston Art Center on Chicago’s North Shore.
Q: I’ve never been around horses much, will I get anything out of this work?
Matter of fact people who come with absolutely no equine experience are among those who find the greatest opportunities for discovery! You come with no preconceived ideas about what to expect or how to interact with the horses which frees you up to listen to what they communicate in ways those who have a lot of experience with horses have to work harder to let go and hear like you!
However experienced horse-people has as much to gain as it is rare for them to spend time with horses as true equals which this work most certainly highlights. Even for those who believe they have all the answers, moments often present them with a unique challenges that offer opportunities for breaking through old preconceptions and thought patterns..
Q: What is this work about?
This work creates opportunities for people to reconnect with aspects of the natural world that may be missing from their ordinary lives. Workshops highlights are the time spent with equines.
Horses are among the most mythic and celebrated of all creatures wherever their lives have intersected with man’s. They are venerated as both strong and gentle, bold and kind concurrently. They are beautiful, graceful and downright earthy too. They are an honest, unedited representation of their mindset at every moment. This combination of beauty and honesty allows them to become meaningful messengers to people open to receiving them. Workshop games and activities are designed to maximize your opportunity for assigning meaning to the horses you’re with metaphorically and address challenges as a team encountering illuminating information as you reach, or don’t reach, goals.
When assigned a metaphoric identity, the actions and reactions of the equines can help bring to the surface thoughts, opinions, narratives and any of the other internal accoutrements we build into our lives that help us cope, or not cope, with ongoing challenges. Sometimes the illuminations experienced bring brand new insights and set in motion novel solutions to sticky personal challenges. Sometimes these breakthroughs don’t feel good, sometimes they do, but they’re always loaded with important information. Call them breakthroughs if you will.
After each activity we process your experiences as much as you’re comfortable with sharing with the group. You’re encouraged to draw parallels between your experiences in the round pen and your life beyond the workshop.
We call this the alchemy of animal assisted inspiration. Others refer to this as equine guided experiential learning.
Q: Are the equine specially trained for this work?
Nope, not at all. They’re just naturally great at being in themselves in the moment and because they’re so beautiful, graceful and powerful there’s something about working with them in this way that is fun both for them and the people they’re helping. Just about any horse has what it takes to be an excellent coach or therapist. The only ones who might not be well suited for this work might be those who have had to become very afraid of humankind. But even they can blossom when given a reasonable chance and many horses rescued from slaughter-bound trucks have gone on to have splendid careers in this way.
Q: What does the name QuantumJoys mean?
Marti continues to read extensively on the topics of connection particularly as described by modern quantum physics and the more expansive of the spiritual minds of our day.
In quantum physics there are circumstances that point to concepts like the non-linear quality of space and time, the potential for multiple co-existing universes and the amazingly insignificance of proximity. She has written and illustrated a well reviewed book on Amazon.com called HapiLani: The Natural History of a Dream Land wherein she makes the case for the potential for dreams to be real, actual places.
She has experienced a parade of life enhancing experiences where what’s colloquially thought of as ‘reality’ didn’t play a predictable role in how events unfolded – quantum events. Events with life changing repercussions. Here’s an interesting recap of an instance when Marti’s mother sent a strong clear message to Marti about her move to San Miguel.
QuantumJoys are those “Aha!” moments that seem to come from out of the ether when we open ourselves to listening to the beings in our presence with a loving intensity.
She listens to the interviews On Being‘s Krista Tippett has with some of the most amazing spiritualists of our day and enjoys how these brilliant people find new ways to discover and create joy even under all of life’s current troubling propensities.
With horses; with animals in general – down to the tiniest creatures, Marti has found inherent wisdom through their heart-connection. She finds an optimistic, persistent joy in how animals live their lives despite the challenges they may face many of which come from humans ourselves.
So QuantumJoys are those “Aha!” moments that seem to come from out of the ether when we open ourselves to listening to the beings in our presence with a loving intensity. Marti invents activities meant to allow those to happen.
Quantum = the hard to explain, but inherently knowable connectivity
Joys = The brilliant sparkling moments of bliss that bubble up when new truths are made available.
Q: Horses are so BIG! Will I be safe?
They are big, aren’t they? Even the little ones! Yes, you will be safe. These workshops are carefully designed by an experienced horse-person to maximize your safety while at the same time providing you with optimal opportunities to learn from the equines themselves.
- You will have some opportunities to be with a partner horse using a lead, but you will be clearly instructed on how to hold that lead safely. You will be instructed and reminded if necessary to NEVER let any of the lead wrap around any part of your body.
- You’ll be instructed to LET GO if your horse becomes too strong for you or otherwise appears to be headed away from you in a manner you’re uncomfortable with.
- When you’re working in the small arena with a horse or horses ‘at liberty’ meaning they have no halters nor leads attached to them, the equines will be completely free to move away from you if you’re making them uncomfortable for some reason. This alone will keep you safe, but it can also be used as a part of your activities once you unlock the key to figuring out how they respond to your unique queues. This will make more sense when you get started.
- You’ll be reminded to stay at a safe distance from the rear quarters of the horses no matter the circumstances.
- You’ll be monitored when alone in the arena with a horse for your own protection as well as to help guide you through the activity in a way that allows for maximum personal discovery.
Q: I’m a private person, do I have to share even if I don’t want to?
One word answer: Nope.
Keep yourself emotionally safe in whatever ways make sense for you. If this means buttoning up an emotion that wants to bubble out, feel free to do so without judgement of any kind. By the same token, should you decide to let loose with whatever emotion wants to surface, know that this is not only allowed, but encouraged, again completely without judgement. Everyone will agree to keep a circle of confidentiality throughout and after our time together.
So, yes, deep issues can surface during this work, but so can upbeat, light, joyous ones! We keep tissue handy for tears of grief or tears of joy or those tears that sneak out when you laugh a bunch.
Q: Is this therapy?
No. However, it is therapeutic, but as Marti is not a trained counselor or therapist she will keep your process within the realm of guided inspiration while encouraging you to take notes of issues that arise for which you’d like to seek more exploration with a professional trained in this way after the workshop.
At times Marti may collaborate with a trained counselor or therapist and these sessions may well delve into deeper issues, but these events will be clearly identified as such.
Q: What can I expect during my workshop?
This link takes you to a page that clearly outlines the day’s events. Note, activities will be tailored to the workshop theme or to the pre-arranged specifically identified needs of your group.
Q: I have dietary restrictions, can I eat the food?
Probably. The day’s menu will highlight fresh, organic or all-natural local (when possible) vegetarian foods. There will be sufficient options for those who are gluten-free and/or vegan as well. If for some reason your diet is super restrictive, please contact Marti well in advance so your needs will be taken care of as best we can.
Q: I have some physical limitations, will I be able to participate?
In all likelihood with advance notice and discussion, your needs can be addressed in a seamless manner that frees you up to participate as much as you are comfortable doing so. Key here will be advance and frank discussion.