Entering A Prison Of Light

On the 12th of October in Milan, Italy, a day for us all to remember for a very long time was in the making. The night before, after receiving some information as to why the majority of these men were in prison, due to my own inner fears of not being able to be present without judgment, I woke up in a panic at 4am thinking that I really should not go. I did go and I would not be who I am today if I didn’t. Here is a small expression of a day in a prison made of light and its profound healing it brought to us all.

People had been asking me for a long time before my visit ‘Why was I going to a prison?!’ For me it was very simple –

I believe we all have a responsibility in this life to help each other in whatever way we can.

IMG_0005I went into this place knowing nothing of who these men were, their pasts or their futures and only was told statically what most of them were in here for but I did not know individually. I had to go in with an open heart and let go of any judgments or perceptions of who I thought these men were. If you can look beyond your own ego it is easier to look beyond the ego in others and here is where we can see the truth of each others pain. I ended up spending 8 hours there with this extremely wonderful group of inmates, program leaders and their horses.

True horse power – as we moved through the circle, the horses would voluntarily offer their presence to those who were needing it.

I began the day simply by allowing each of us to introduce ourselves, what we were doing in the past and what we loved in life. Every single one of the inmates said something referring to the horses as the thing they loved in life.

One of the inmates is going blind and has a strong connection to a special horse who is also blind. Another has chosen to move forward with horses in his life as he leaves the prison soon and will work as a barefoot farrier. Another is healing his pain by crying through every letter he writes to his wife. They each had a story to share and each of us – program coordinators included – all had a moment to open our voices and reach out to each other. The seminar itself was received by the inmates with eyes wide open and full of questions eagerly wanting to understand more. Francesca was amazing in the way she was able to translate so meaningfully between the two languages and not only translate in words but their message carried from their hearts.

IMG_0081The stables itself was built by inmates, supervised and designed by the remarkable President of the program, Claudio (pictured left) who had them built entirely from recycled materials. As we walked through the stalls we laughed at the irony of how big they had made the boxes (enough to fit 2 or three horses) and that the horses had more freedom in a prison then they did in most stables on the outside.

One of the Stallions on this day came to life quite dramatically. At first this magnificent creature stood proud and tall, walking towards me when I arrived, showing himself to me in all his glory. I was quite taken by him as his presence was just beautiful to look at. During the seminar towards the end when the inner conflict was surfacing and being expressed by many of the inmates (only innerly and energetically, not physically visible to most), he began to fight over the fence to the other stallion.  I was told later that since his arrival this poor man would only stand with his head to the wall and would not interact with the other stallion or any people. Today was the first day he had ever come alive like that, they were quite surprised by his behavior. The shifting that was happening on this day for all of us was happening for him too, its not only the horses helping the prisoners to heal, its the prisoners helping horses heal too. Many of these horses came from abused situations and it is a place of hope for them as well.

At the end of the day they presented Francesca, Rosanna and I with plants from the nursery grown within the prison.IMG_0086 This nursery has become quite well known for their special herb plants that sell in demand at the stalls for outsiders also sold by the inmates – another chance for them to heal by interacting with others. I unfortunately was not able to take this beautiful present home with me back to Indonesia, so I left it for them as a reminder of our day together but I secretly took a flower home with me.

IMG_0077For me it was a concrete realisation that our hope for healing and growth on the planet as a whole, begins with forgiveness, non-judgment and the hearts of those that are most closed off in this world. With our freewill as a strong part of our Souls experience, it is extremely hard to force change or growth upon anyone that is not inertly ready for it. This is why I believe, most of those that have attracted the experience of being held responsible for their actions are already open to hearing a way forward towards inner and outer change of themselves and their lives.

With a remarkable woman – Francesca. Here we were allowing each person to open my book, Ride for Life to any page and pick a quote that Francesca would then translate for them. They were very precise messages to what each one was needing to hear!

On the morning after my return to my home in Bali, I went on my bicycle to do my usual errands and I was mugged. He came past me on a  motorbike 3 times and then took my bag out of my front basket. I have a high radar for negativity and knew he had bad intentions the first moment he went past. I had to laugh upon realizing that I could feel more respect, love, trust and safety while I was amongst the inmates in a prison.

This is putting into perspective the power of transformation that is happening in this prison and many other places. If it were not for the work that these men were already doing within themselves here within these walls, their human guides and these special horses, they would not have been able to have received what I had to say with such openness and eagerness to learn and grow from their past. Something which every human in this world will at many stages of their life, need to face whether in a prison or not.

We cannot fight darkness but we can turn on the light.

For me it is close to impossible not to see life from the larger perspective of things and how things are working and IIMG_0040 truly believe each Soul comes here with an individual purpose of growth and experience. With this understanding, it is only together with each other, nature and animals, that we can experience and learn and only together is how we can heal and transform. Regardless of method, place, country or program, if there is the desire to heal and grow present in a person then a way how will come to them.

Yes horses reflect the light in us but they also reflect the darkness and ego in us, which can be seen in whole industries of abuse, greed and slaughter. In the end it will be up to us to choose what we do next when the awareness of the truth of who we are is reflected to us by these divine creatures in a world so full of fear. Much of the horse world has connected to that light but most of the horse world is smothered with people driven by their egos and living in fear. The horses are always there, present, waiting, simply waiting for the next person who is ready to transform their ego and their darkness, heal their pain and help them turn on their inner light.

IMG_0058From self-healing, inner reflection, empowerment and a chance for a new future when they leave, this is a remarkable place and group of people working hard towards inner and outer change. Whoever those men were when they went in, they were not those men I met on that day. Every single one of them showed me more trust, respect, compassion and protection than I rarely meet in the outside world. It was a very difficult day energy wise, I went home extremely drained but even now when I think about that day or look at the pictures I well up in tears missing these souls.

I came to help them heal but they gave me a truly wondrous gift – they healed me.


Here stands a group of Souls who all did a big days worth of healing, shifting and making their world and each others, a better place to be. Behind me on my right is the president – Claudio Villa, on my direct right is – Francesca Manca and on my direct left, front is – Rosanna Mosca.

Photos were taken by the prison and all inmates gave permission to share. This day and its aftereffect will be important awareness for the program to be supported not only there but in other prisons throughout Europe.

May their stories spread light on the pain in this world.


Left – Claudio Villa – President of ASOM – Associazione Salto Oltre il Muro. He is the person behind the whole “primary education” for the inmates on horse and stable handling in the prison. Also the stable has been built from scratch and all with recycled materials under his technical supervision. If you want to take a look at the work in progress you can look in the albums of cavallincarcere “lavori in corso – la scuderia si allarga” on their Facebook page.


Francesca Manca is a biologist and reflexologist. Apart from taking care of the horses in the prison with reflexology, her role is supporting the link with the outside world inviting outside citizens for a day in prison and organizing Horse Coaching seminars. On these days the inmates are present with their knowledge to help the “outsiders” who often haven’t seen or touched a horse ever how to handle them and more importantly, it is an opportunity to mend their past and their negative actions through interaction with the outside world. *Francesca’s beautiful smile here is while I was explaining to her that during his time to explain his past and loves in Italian which I could not understand, I was sensing a very strong bright light within him and Francesca already knew that this special man is soon to leave and make his way forward into the horse world with a very special connection and understanding of horses.


Rosanna Mosca – is an educator in equestrian activities and has worked for a very long time with autistic children (not with hippotherapy but creating a deep and emotional relationship between horse and child). She is part of the staff, although she is based in another part of Italy. Rosanna and Francesca are studying in France by Catherine Senn the “Art of Voice with the horse” in order to import a new, non competitive discipline, called Equility, (already known and practised in France and Belgium) based on the education of the horse on a pedagocic (and not ethologic) base, using exclusively the voice and its different modulations. The intention is to introduce this discipline in the prison starting to train the inmates that could possible go outside on permit and show at public events. Rosanna is responsible for all the equestrian activities of UISP Lombardia. UISP – Unione Nazionale Sport Per Tutti is a nation wide association for the promotion of sport on a non competitive basis and it promotes all kind of disciplines making them accessible to all. Rosanna has a very important role for the equestrian part in the region Lombardia (Milan is in this region).


The hilariously wonderful programs Police Officer who is also in charge of making everyone a true Italian coffee!
The hilariously wonderful programs Police Officer who is also in charge of making everyone a true Italian coffee! He too participated in our circle of expression.

4 thoughts on “Entering A Prison Of Light

  1. Hi Catherine, just got your newsletter and I am so happy for you that you went there. It’s been on your mind for so long. What a huge step in the direction of your dreams !! Love you, Jannah xxx

    Von meinem iPad gesendet


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hehehe Yes! and would you believe on the same trip I finally took my seminar to Germany, all thanks to the invite from Wolfgang and I did it unbelievably in German. I am writing about that one too! I love you too Jannah, thank you xoxoxo


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