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Live Your Gift: the power of equine-guided retreats

Updated: Jun 4

"Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculpture to reveal it." -Michelangelo

My partner's nervous smile flashed at me from across Zip’s withers. The smell of horse and grass, the southern comfort of Ezra’s voice, the intensity of spring weather, these were the waves that filled my senses on that exquisite day in May. The day we launched our Live Your Gift series of retreats.


This was another moment along the equine-guided path where the Divine sculpture carved me into BEING, changing me in ways as permanent and artful as the chisel crafts in marble. Today it was my way of moving through the world that would be chipped away. What remains is my sculpted heart.


The exercise was simple. Focus attention at your heart chakra, become rooted there, and when ready reach out from your heart to touch the horse. If the horse moves out of the way, you’ve lost your center. Stop, breathe, try again. If the horse remains still, enjoying the feeling of connection heart to heart, advance the exercise by reaching across to your human partner on the opposite side of the horse. Three hearts, threaded together by love, yet absolutely centered in themselves. Sounds like an easy task for a lifelong yogi. I mean, c’mon, I’ve been at this since birth, right?


Nope. Zip refused to stand still. Each time we attempted the exercise, Zip rejected us flatly. I know this horse, he and I have been working together for many months now. We’ve worked with dozens of clients and co-facilitated enormous breakthroughs for people. Zip thrives standing stoically still in the name of love and healing for those in need. What was going on? Why wouldn’t he stand still long enough to receive love from my heart, let alone allow me to reach across to my partner?


My partner and I had to try more times than I can count. I felt frustrated, embarrassed, and impatient. Somehow though, just before the exercise was complete, we managed to keep Zip still by our own ability to center in our hearts. That feeling, the deep and profound sense of centeredness, was something that I had craved my whole life. I’m an empath who is easily affected by the feelings of others. The years had taught me to manage this somewhat, but the struggle to know which feelings are mine and which belong to another still plagued me. In five short minutes, a horse taught me how to live in my own heart space and how to move from there into an authentic connection with another being. Those five minutes have changed my life, again.


Here’s a simple heart centering practice that I use as a reminder of what Zip taught me that day:

Days working with horses, with trainers, and clients have steadily chiseled away at the woman I once was. The old me lived in conflict, a cacophony of inner voices and personas vying for my attention.


The swift and ceaseless tools of equine-guided transformation have broken off parts I thought belonged to me, parts that defined me, parts that bound me into a woman living in conflict. What remains is the emerging sculpture of my true Self. She is boundless, beautiful, wise, and true. She feels deeply and knows what is hers. She speaks freely because she knows how to speak from her heart. She empowers others by giving them responsibility for themselves. She is imperfect, humble, compassionate, and honest with her feelings. She knows that what comes is hers, what leaves is not, and what matters is how she shows up. She’s still learning, but with the horse, she learns fast and lives free.


She can be you too. The horse leads you with chisel in hand, inviting you to carve away all that you are not, revealing all that you truly are. Spark to spark, soul to soul, the horse is your spiritual partner on the journey of life. Where once she carried you to master the world, now she carries you toward Self mastery.


This spiritual partnership, horse and human, is not found only here at Herd Spirit. A small, but growing collective of practitioners can be found around the world doing similar work. Whether the horse and human partnership takes a therapeutic route, a life-coaching road, a relationship-based riding expression, or some other flavor, it’s proliferating.


This is your invitation. Horses are here, ready to partner with you on your path of life. The partnership will change you in ways you cannot yet imagine. Come to our next retreat and find out for yourself.


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