Updated: May 28, 2021
When Two Come Together: Making Life Better For Others
A written interview with Jenn Pagone of Whispering White Horse Stables
Cordelia's registered name is: I'm the Tollbridge Tootie. She is a 5yr. black 14hh mare by Lunesdale I'm the Man out of Stonecreek Isis.
FPC: How and why did you and Cordelia pick each other?
I was looking to add another horse to my trauma focused equine engaged psychotherapy program here at Whispering White Horse Stables, located in Marengo, Illinois. I knew that I wanted a pony and I started searching on Facebook boards. While I wasn’t in a hurry to find another horse I knew that when I saw the right one I would know. I put my intentions out into the universe that I needed a pony who would be engaging, have a distinctive voice, and be young enough to grow with my program and be trained with Natural Lifemanship principles. An ad for “I’m the Tollbridge Tootie” caught my eye as it listed a 2 year old Fell Pony mare for sale near my area. As soon as I saw her picture I had a feeling she was the one. I have had this certain feeling in my gut when I have met each of my horses… and she was no exception. I took the 45 minute drive to see her and when I arrived I walked past a few other horses and there she was. She lifted her head and looked at me like “there you are!”. I walked up to her and looked her in her eyes and she lowered her head. The initial connection we shared “clicked’ into place. She was the one. I didn’t choose her for her beauty, I didn’t choose her because she was a fancy Fell. I chose her because of her aliveness and her presence. She just happened to be one of the most beautiful horses I have ever seen. Perhaps she picked me because my only agenda was to get to know her and learn from her, and see where she fit into my program. I offered her an opportunity to live a life of interaction, attunement and connection.
FPC: Tell us about the work or activities you and Cordelia do together.
Cordelia is part of my therapy program and her job is beautifully simplistic and incredibly complex at the same time. Using the Internal Family Systems model and Natural Lifemanship principles, she helps others connect with themselves while they are connecting with her. The model that I have developed (Equid-Nexus), infuses internal and external attachment work to help people heal their traumas in real time. A person heals through identifying what parts of themselves are holding emotional pain from past attachment ruptures. When these parts are identified the person can help them release this pain of their burdens by increasing their internal attunement to themselves, and change their interpersonal patterns by being present and focused on their growing relationship with Cordelia. Cordelia’s Natural Lifemanship training is ongoing. We work on our relationship and connection through attachment and detachment, and as a result we are building up her brain in an organized manner with strong cross brain connections. Cordelia also assists my clients while I am using Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR). She is currently being trained under saddle with the long-term goal of being able to assist clients doing mounted EMDR work.
FPC: Tell us whatever you want the Fell Pony Community to know about you and/or your relationship with Cordelia.
In 2011, I came into the horse world as a psychotherapist, not as a lifelong horse person. I managed a program for women with trauma and eating disorders and equine assisted psychotherapy was part of their program. I was amazed at the transformative power of partnering horses with therapy. Now this is my daily life. My private practice office is located in my equestrian building, and I get to work with my horses every day. My herd consists of 7 horses and all of them are very unique (of course!). It has been an honor to have acquired Cordelia at a young age and watch her grow. I would love to connect with others from the Fell Pony Community to assist me in my continued personal and professional growth as a horsewoman.
FPC: What impresses you most about Cordelia?
Cordelia is quite a character and she never fails to impress me with her curiosity. Curiosity is one of my values as a therapist. She holds her curiosity fearlessly with clients. She does not seem to be “scared away” by big emotions; rather, she is able to tolerate them and hold the space for the client to express them appropriately. Cordelia also has boundaries when it comes to a request that she is not ready for. She continues to work on building trust and being able to ask requests in her relationships with clients.
FPC: What is your biggest challenge with Cordelia?
My biggest challenge with Cordelia is getting her to move forward during training. She is currently being trained under saddle and it has been a slow process. I would love to connect with other Fell owners to pick their brains about training this particular breed.
FPC: What future event, interest or activity do you hope to do with Cordelia?
Personally, I would love to be able to ride her and build our connection from the saddle. Professionally, mounted EMDR work is also my goal for my clients.
You can find out more about Jenn's program at https://pagonepsychologicalservices.com/
You can get info. on Natural Lifemanship here: https://naturallifemanship.com/