This is a story of a girl who loved horses from the moment she saw her first one. Dolls were only used to ride on her play horses. Hi Ho Silver meant more than the masked avenger. I was born a caregiver, full of compassion for animals and people. I became my sister and brother’s second mother and was often in charge of them.
My riding career started at about age 5 and grew from there. At first, my Mom and I would rent a horse and I would ride with her. Eventually, I was able to ride alone and then started taking lessons. My first teacher was Mrs. Derby from England. Can’t get any better than that! I had many teachers growing up, some better than others. I always learned from them. I took what worked for me and shelved the rest. When I turned 12yo my parents bought a 236 acres farm and I was off to become a horse trainer. I got my first half Arabian that summer and fell madly in love! We did Western, Huntseat, trail riding, camping, open shows and 4-H together. And by 14 I was teaching people to ride. I became part of a team of horsewomen who managed a stable for a golf course business at the age of 18. We worked from 5 am until 9 or 10 every night. There were 80 horses on the property, and about 20 of them belonged to the farm. We taught Western, Huntseat, jumping, and Dressage riding, ran a tack shop, and did rental trail rides. It was a busy and fulfilling life.
After I married and had children I slowed way down and mostly rode my own horses for a few years. I started teaching again when my children entered school and I had more time. Along the road I raised a raccoon, and a couple of mink, dogs, and cats. I became a 4-H leader and my kids were very involved in it too. I’ve been a veterinary assistant, a children’s librarian, I owned and ran 2 childcare centers and was an early childhood teacher for 25 years.
In 1997, my second husband and I built a farm on his 20 empty acres. Now there is a barn, an indoor arena, many horse shelters, chickens, and cats, and our Swiss Chalet home. In our 23 years here, we have had a llama and goats, and dogs, but they all have crossed the rainbow bridge. I’ve missed having a dog and so there may be a new dog may be in our future.
Now I have been teaching for 53 years. My style has evolved and my understanding of the horse has grown and changed. We now offer a special needs riding program and have volunteer student teachers to help out with lessons.
My journey into Equine Gestalt Coaching feels like where I’ve been going my whole life. Learning, loving, helping people find a path to peace and wholeness. I graduate in July 2021. And a new path opens up to help even more people to find their way in the world.
Gestalt and the Equine Gestalt Coaching Method
Gestalt is a psychotherapy model. It is based on the idea that each of us is whole and capable. Trauma — both major and minor — can cause fractures in our wholeness. It can also convince us that we are not capable. The goal of Gestalt coaching is to heal any fractures and restore us back to a place where we have access to our whole beingness. In that space, we will find our capability and strength. Gestalt is an experiential therapy, meaning it’s not just talking about our trauma — it’s doing things that will allow us, with compassion and in a safe, loving space, to remove the affect the trauma has held on our bodies, minds, and souls.
Horses are natural healers. They willingly offer us support, encouragement and wisdom that help us through the Gestalt process. They help us arrive at That Zen way of being with joy and ease.