The Equine Experience
One emotionally revealing activity at Miraval is the Equine Experience. With the help of best-selling author and psychotherapist Wyatt Webb, the women get to interact with horses on an emotional level. The goal is to get the horse to lift its leg so they can clean its hoof—but it is harder than it sounds. The horse senses how a person is feeling, and will only raise its leg when it feels comfortable.
"I created this almost 15 years ago, and it's based on the premise of how we do one thing is pretty much how we do everything," Wyatt says. "You will end up treating these horses how you've learned to treat people."
The first time Oprah tried the Equine Experience on a previous trip, she says she had some trouble getting the horse to cooperate at first. "[I thought], 'I know how to talk to people. I'm assertive. I'm calm. I know how to get things done. This horse should be lifting its leg,'" Oprah says. "Then you're embarrassed that you weren't able to do it, because I thought I was going to be able to walk in there and be my assertive self and do it."
Eventually, Oprah succeeded after she realized horses don't care what you have to say—it's all about how you feel. "Horses are like living lie detectors," says Martha Beck, who works with horses often. "If you're not really authentic with yourself, a horse is afraid of you and they can tell your heart rate, your adrenaline rate—all of those go up when you're not being completely authentic."