After a traumatic divorce and cross country move with my children seven years ago, I’ve been on a conscious journey to find my center again. I thought I’d done most of the work I needed to do. I’d left my job, my home, my religion, my friends, my closest family and moved with my three kids 3,000 miles away. I’d done some work with other coaches and healers along the way.

I had no idea there was profound change still waiting for me to tap into.

I have had both a fear and deep desire to work with horses in recent years. I’d read about Equine Therapy with children who had disabilities and emotional challenges. It looked really cool. But these are big animals – the smallest one on Amy’s ranch I now know, was 1,000 pounds. Wisdom, the one I went in the ring with first was 2,000 pounds. Scary.

There was also – Curiosity. Desire. And still, Fear.

My first day at the ranch, Amy taught a small group of us an exercise in listening to our hearts and setting goals. We took turns going into the pen with a horse of our choice and using a boundary setting device to move the horse around the ring, twice walking, then trotting, then turning him around and doing the same thing in the opposite direction. The first two women did the task easily. Then it was my turn.

My heart pounded as I walked into the ring.

Would I be able to get this 2,000-pound creature to do as I asked or would I be a failure in front of the group? If two other women could do it, so could I, right? How hard could it be?

Somehow I knew that for me the exercise would be different.

Amy taught us earlier in the day that horses could read our hearts. They understood when we were being authentic and when we were pretending or denying our feelings. When I walked into that ring with Wisdom, I believe he could sense right away my heart wasn’t connected to the exercise I’d been asked to complete with him. I picked up the boundary setting device, but all I felt were tears welling up in the corners of my eyes.

I didn’t want to fail at my task, I was a good girl and I always did what I was expected to do.

But my heart was heavy from a grief I’d been holding onto for months. As much as I tried, I couldn’t get Wisdom to move. He simply wouldn’t budge. There were no circles around the ring, forget trotting. Amy asked me what was going on. I said all I want to do is cry”. “Go ahead”, she said. “Wisdom can take it.”

The next thing I knew I was standing next to this gorgeous white stead, sobbing. He didn’t flinch, I let it go, all of it, and he stood there, like a rock as I poured out my sadness and pain for five minutes, then ten.

His presence opened the floodgates to a grief I didn’t realize was blocking my ability to connect with him, or anyone else for that matter.

I learned that day that a horse will not let me be anything other than who I am. And who I am is OK, not scary or insufficient.

After that group workshop, I signed up to work with Amy one-on-one. I wanted more of what Amy and the horses had to teach me.

I wanted to find my way back home to my heart.

In one of our more recent days on the ranch, Amy had three horses in the ring. I’d worked with the horses a few times now, even getting a chance to brush and groom Wisdom. She gave me the boundary setting device and said “just go in there an have fun.” Hmmmm. Fun? What was fun for me? I really didn’t know the answer to that question.

I started wondering what other people did for fun, or even what the horses might find fun. Maybe they’d like to run – maybe that would be fun for them. I tried to get them to move. They barely looked at me. I guess running wasn’t in their program for the morning. Hmmm. What else is fun?

I walked around the ring a little bit, feeling into my body and my heart.

I stopped projecting what I thought was fun from another’s perspective.

What did I want to do in there? I experimented with some sound with my voice – sort of an Indian “ya ya ya ya ya” cry. The horses didn’t look up at me or show any interest or curiosity. Hmmm. I felt invisible.

I stopped and tuned in again. What did I want in this moment? It was only then I realized I wanted to connect with Wisdom, the horse I’d poured my heart and soul out to my first time at the ranch. I walked over to him cautiously.

Again, I think he knew my heart earlier and better than I did.

He seemed to say “what took you so long?” as I came over and started rubbing him. “I’ve missed you”, I told him. “I’ve missed you.”

We stood with each other for what simultaneously felt like both minutes and hours, as I stroked him and whispered to him. He nuzzled me back. Then he dropped his head so I could scratch him behind his ears. He let me put my hand on his chest and feel his heartbeat.

I lost all sense of time as I stood with him, filled with curiosity to know his soul the way he knew mine. As I stood with him, I set an intention to get close to the other horses in the ring also. In less than a minute, the other two horses started to come over to us and I was surrounded by three of these powerful and majestic creatures. I was not afraid, even though there was over 4,000 pounds of horses around me. I felt joy like I’d hadn’t felt in a long time. My fun, my happiness, was found in connection with another.

That morning was magical for me. I learned to get still. I learned that my joy is found in connecting with another.

I learned that when I am clear and authentic in my desire, I can manifest my intention. I felt part of something so much greater than myself that morning.

I don’t think I’ll ever forget the feelings of tenderness and powerful presence I felt with Wisdom, Dutch, and Junior that day. These horses are magical.

And they brought me back to where I belong, right back to my own heart.

There have been numerous other encounters with these horses that moved me and helped me grow, these are just two that really stand out in my mind. I’m learning assertiveness and leadership skills as well as how to get in touch with my needs and desires. Wisdom Ridge Ranch is a magical place. Amy is as gifted at reading people as her horses. The combination of them together – superb!

Thank you, Amy, Wisdom and all the gang!
Love, Christina
Amy Buck, former tech exec turned coach, guide, equine facilitator and a ranch owner with grit translates nature’s life lessons into heart-centered leadership practices.
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