Owning Our Dominance

I have a big dominant mare in my field.

A 12 year old Spotted Draft mare whose presence can be as intimidating as her size.

She came into my herd in April of 2019 and immediately became the lead mare.

The other horses quickly established that this mare was not one who should be messed and so this mare in a very short time became lead.

I gave this mare the name Aponi, blackfoot for butterfly. This big and dominant mare was rescued from the wildfires and I felt her medicine held the space of transformation.

What I have learned from this mare since her arrival here is to look at my own places of wounding around how I hold my dominance and presence.

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As women, we are often criticized and made wrong for holding a strong presence or opinion.

We are given horrible labels when we are too strong in opinion and presence.

Often, we walk around afraid of our impact and of standing in the fullness of who we are. Dominance is viewed as a negative.

A different perspective of dominance.

This mare has given me a lesson around what it means to be in your fullness. It is called the ownership of power. It is not bad; it is a gift and an incredibly powerful space to hold.

When Aponi stepped in the lead mare role, she was accepted in that and it created a deeper calm in the herd.

A strong leader in a herd of horses means a strong herd.  Leadership is meant to be held in authentic power and presence.  

When we disown the spaces of our own dominance we create cracks in a foundation and the spaces we hold which makes it easier for disharmony to come in.

I know this lesson well because it is one I have faced in my own world.

In my own life, I have been afraid of holding the dominance and strength of my leadership.  I am an accommodator. I want everyone to be happy and am at times afraid of rocking the boat.

I have been so afraid of others hurting me that I have given my power away compromising my own integrity and the integrity of the spaces I hold in my life and in my business.

I have been afraid of holding a strong line and of allowing myself to take up the full power of who I am in the world, because of the fear of what others may think.

The detriment of operating that way has impacted my health and well being, relationships with others in my life, the boundaries around my business, and my income.

This mare has shown me what powerful leadership and holding our dominance can do for the collective. Instead of it being harming, it often brings a harmony and a strength to the environment.

When I am strong and solid in my direction, leadership, and in my boundaries, there is calm in my world.  There is a clear knowing of myself and others are also aware of how I hold my spaces. There is minimal disturbances to my internal and external environment.

When I am fearful of being in my presence, my foundations crack and that is where chaos ensues.

Owning our dominance is not about dominating anything. It is about being in our power, having clear intention, directing our energy with clarity and having acceptance and ownership of who we become.

Owning my dominance doesn’t mean I am a dictator absent of heart or compassion for others, but failing in listening to where I am being asked to be in my full power often creates more wounding both to myself and those in my environment.

What if we gave ourselves as women a deeper permission?

To look at our dominance and call to rise into strong leadership as a gift to the spaces we hold. Appreciating that when we do this, we create a greater certainty and harmony in our world.

It is also another reminder that existing from a place of giving our power away to others does not hold our integrity or theirs.  

When we are operating from a place of pleasing others, or taking in the judgement of others of being too big, or too strong, we are placing their word above our own truth.  There is no integrity in that way of being.

What if you allowed yourself to witness the strength in who you are as a gift, a promise and a way of honoring yourself?

What if you saw it as a positive and that the benefits of being in your strength and owning your full presence paves the way for others to do the same.

This big powerful mare was not ashamed nor ostracized from the herd for her dominance. She was embraced and respected for it.

Without ego, horses understand the value and the importance of strong leader and where dominance is looked at as a way of maintaining a way of harmony, not chaos or negativity.

As women, there is nothing more transformative or healing for us to take ownership of our power.

Let this be a place of permission of letting that place inside of you that is wanting to roar in her strength to be heard.

Witnessing Where We Create Mess...And Expanding Ourselves As Human Beings

As human beings, we are going to create mess.

As leaders, creators, and guides, we need to understand where we create it so we can tend to it and grow from what it teaches us.

I created mess this week.

In the default setting of my comfort zone and getting consumed with life, I was met with a glaring insight of where I create mess.

As a leader, as a guide, as a human, one of the most impactful things I have learned how to do is understand my strengths and my weaknesses and how to overcome and apply them.

What happened to me this week was this...

I had multiple contrasting experiences come up in my world, where it was messy and where some energies of the people around me started to collide.

Feelings were hurt, toes were stepped on, boundaries were trampled and I had to witness where I was a part in creating it.

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My weakness…

As a human, as a leader of a business and as a facilitator of others, I tend to root into my softness and nurturing. It is an easy place for me to be.

When I am in that space sometimes I can be expansive without boundaries, floating in my creative bubble. I don’t create certainty in my boundaries and I use a soft hand to lead and to guide.

There are times where this energy is deeply effective and also essential to moving myself, my visions, and the people in my world forward.  It is a powerful medicine for my clients and has served me well.

And there are times and moments in my spaces where what is being asked for is a firmer hand, a more assertive energy, and a clarity of what the boundaries around the containers are.

Expanding our range…

We are not one dimensional as human beings and we have a default setting that is easy for us to rely on and come back to.

My soft nurturer is a default. I love who I am in that space. It is easy for me. It feels loving and kind.

That aspect of myself is one I lean in towards the most, in how I hold my clients and my spaces and where I tend to my own visions.

And it is not all of who I am.

Years ago, when I attended a leadership retreat, they spoke to us about range and developing it in our leadership.

I was typed in that space as a fierce and intense energy, which is a true aspect of myself but it was one that I was not comfortable with.

It was a landscape and essence that I had baggage and fear around. I didn’t want to hurt others. I was scared of it and so I trodden around it, denying its presence in my world.

What I have learned in the years I have had guiding others on their journey, building a business, running a business, and teaching and leading people is this...

I cannot just stay in my comfort zone of my range. I can’t stay soft all the time because it doesn’t always serve the space, nor myself or the people that are in it.

I was reminded of this again this week when I found myself face to face with the messes I created in the leadership of my containers. I had to look at how do I recover from this, or right this ship, and tend to the messes and fires that are going on around me?

I looked to my range and tapped into another aspect of my nature that was required to lead my spaces and create clarity within my communications.

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Finding our range…

I like to play with archetypes and also lean into the medicine of my herd to find the range and empowerment of an embodiment within myself that is more challenging for me to tap into and go to.

When I go out to my horses and I am finding a loss as to how to address a certain challenge in my life, often what I do is go out with intention with an ask of which horse is going to step forward to help me connect to an aspect of myself that I need to tap into to move my spaces ahead.

As they respond so intuitively to intention, I will often get my answer with who steps into my space and how they step into it.

I used this intention as well when working with my clients in aiding them to find and connect to the range they hold within themselves but often can’t connect to.

A few years ago, one client of mine, did an exercise with me where she had 4 horses step forward for her. Each horse, we spoke about who that horse represented in herself, what aspect of her nature. There was an enforcer, observer, adventurer, and the calm and grounded leader. To this day, she still uses this exercise and connection to the energies of these horses to tune into to know who she needs to be and what energy she needs to apply to successfully move herself, her business, and her visions ahead.

If you don’t have access to a herd like me, I like to use the embodiment of archetypes. I have a nurturer, a warrior, a wise woman, identified as part of the aspects of myself that I tune into to move my life and myself ahead.

This helps me move beyond my own discomfort and baggage of asserting or using different energies to tap into the medicine and strength of the range of who I am as a human to best serve my visions, my business, my relationships, and my clients.

When we stay in our comfort zone, or in a one dimensional palace of being, we are not able to successfully meet or respond to what is happening in our world.

When we are not able to adapt and call upon different parts of ourselves, we risk making a mess in our world. Failure to tend to and lead the places in our spaces is asking us to show up in a different way.

I have to listen to this range to best serve my clients, knowing when a gentle loving space or a fierce call out is needed to empower their transformation. If I stayed in what felt comfortable to me, I would be failing their growth and keeping them small.

In my business, I have to call upon different parts of myself to lead that space forward, otherwise I would have packed it in a long time ago. My introverted and more sensitive nature of who I am doesn’t always want to show up and share with the world. If I allowed myself to stay there and in the comfort of being hidden, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

In my relationships, both personal and professional, when I stay passive or soft, or when I am not able to respond to what is being required of me to engage in what my relationships are asking for, I have created an environment where there has been miscommunication, hurt and lack of knowing of boundaries and spaces.  

When I listen and give courage to who do I need to be in relationship with this, I can connect and create authentic spaces with the people in my world that feels empowering, life giving, and where we are able to work in synergy in what we are creating together.

This is an impactful teaching for us to hold for ourselves. It is one I was reminded of this week that I am offering to you in my community where it resonates.

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If it lands for you...

Take some time to be present to where are you perhaps making a mess in your world because of your failure to allow yourself to expand in your range as a human being, a guide, or a leader.

Where are you disempowering the service of what you bring by staying in your comfort zone?

Where can you connect to different places within yourself that will allow you to recover and create a different space in what you are holding within yourself and your world?

What part of you is wanting to step forward to lead you that you have potentially not allowing to do so?

I also recorded a video this weekend to speak about this if you would like to watch it please follow the link below…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3hSy528fq0&t=52s

You have a wealth and depth of mastery within you, if you allow yourself to tap into it. This is perhaps the invitation to explore that.

Love your coach and guide,
Hillary

Reflections of A Horse Retreat: Leaning into Softness

It’s a beautiful sunny morning. The space feels clear and light as I enter into the field with a woman who has come for her second horse retreat at our space.

The intention...to listen and to be open to what is coming.

Last time, when she was here, we spoke about the power of letting go, of not holding too rigid to our expectations of what we are trying to make happen in our world.

She left and felt the shift in her environment, in particular, in her relationships and then came back.

Horses are mirrors. They provide us with a reflection of what our energy is doing and what we are needing to see that perhaps isn't obvious to us.

In their prey nature, horses are highly sensitive to what comes into their environment, reacting to it through their behaviour and interactions with us and in their space.

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Today with this woman who came to spend time with the horses, the reflection brought about this intention of softness.

When we are soft, we are receptive, we are open and we are allowing of what is wanting to come into our world.

When we are being soft, we let go of the rigidity of how we are holding our world, ourselves and the interactions with it.

I sat in the field with this woman while my lead mare came over with purpose. She walked over to where we were sitting and put her head next to my client’s face. She then walked over beside my lead gelding and lay down.

Deliberate mirroring on her part to emphasize the message we were receiving from the rest of the herd.

A mare in her feminine energy, laying down to rest and gather herself in the space of the herd is a softening. It is yin and was an invitation for my client to step into the embodiment of what this space was inviting her into.

Sometimes, we get a mirror for ourselves that we were not expecting or thinking was a part of what we were being invited into.

And always with the horses there is a purity of being witnessed in exactly what we needed to see and gives us the clarity of what is missing in our lives, what embodiment we need to seek out to be in connection and in success of attainment of what we are wanting to change in our lives.

If this resonates for you…

Sometimes, we stumble across something that is meant as a message to us as well.

It is an opportunity for us to be open to what is seeking us in connection to something that we ourselves are experiencing struggle with.

Our tendency as humans is to push, to force, to control, instead of allowing, letting go and being.

Our rigidity and control chases answers from us.

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Grace, allowance, softness creates the space so the answers can seek us out.

To embody softness means we exercise a practice being open, find space in our day to relax, to be still, to be and imagine what it would mean to be soft in our energy.

For me, softness is an invitation to be noticing my holding patterns, breathing into where things are feeling rigid, noticing my pattern of wanting to control and instead flowing with what is happening.

It means taking time in my day to be intentional about relaxing, being still, and opening up.

When we are available in this space we are loosening our resistance to what life is offering us.

An invitation to softness is an invitation to acceptance, receiving and being available for what is to come.

Think about where this lands for you and where the application of it can be present in your world.

And if this moves you to be curious about what our horse retreats are about, follow this link to learn more about our private retreat experiences, which are waiting to be custom curated for you today.

Private and Custom Retreats




Rescue Horses Reunited

A year and a half ago, I came home after weekend away to a story about a horse that was rescued from the British Columbia wildfire in need of a home.

He was a big, grey Percheron who had been seized from the fire with his herdmate. He was now looking for his forever home.

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Immediately, I felt a connection to this horse and his story and we gave him a home.

I named this big, beautiful, grey horse, Malachi and welcomed him into our herd.

Malachi’s journey here was bittersweet. He found a forever home but was separated from his herdmate, Poppy.

As fate would have it, these two horses would one day be reunited here.

A little back story…

I grew up with a love and passion for horses. After spending a few years in the horse breeding industry, I discovered a darker side to the equine industry that spurred a mission and purpose for me and these amazing animals.

What many people don’t know is many, many horses get discarded, sent to slaughter after they are no longer deemed useful.

Years ago, when I began my journey to one day having my own property, a piece of it was to be able to give homes to horses that were in need.

The majority of our herd that calls our retreat center home are “rescues,” horses that were in need of a home, and a second purpose because they were not deemed rideable.

For most horses, if they are not able to be ridden, they are not seen as valuable or worth being supported so they are often sent to slaughter or to be euthanized.

The work I do with horses here is about introducing people to a different way of being in relationship with horses, and being introduced to them as a teacher and a guide for us to create greater self awareness of our impact, ourselves, and how we are operating in the world.

The horses that come here are able to step into having another purpose and find a home that supports their own healing along with the incredible positive effect they have on those who come to experience their wisdom.

In March of this year, we got an email from the woman who adopted Poppy asking if we could give her a home and reunite her with her herdmate Malachi at our center.

When Malachi and Poppy were seized during the 2017 wildfires, Poppy was taken on by a woman in the Lower Mainland who (with her veterinarian and farrier) was able to provide individual care to Poppy to help her recover. As an effort to provide the best outcome for Poppy, after her long journey to recovery, she reached out me knowing that it would be a beautiful ending for these two horses to be reunited once more.

When I meet a horse for the first time, I like to give them a medicine name, something that will capture the essence of who they are and what they bring to the new purpose they will now step into at our center.

Sometimes I get a name that pops into my head, or a symbolism when I see a horse. Poppy is a beautiful, spotted draft mare that instantly evoked a connection to Native American tradition with her paint color. I gave her the new name Aponi, meaning butterfly in Native American, their symbol of transformation.

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I believe this mare in her journey is a beautiful symbolism of the transformation we meet in life. Sometimes we go through challenging times that are often difficult for us to understand, not knowing that the road to transformation often leads to a positive ending.

For Malachi, he has always carried a sense of loss around him, not fully bonding with our herd and always running to the fence when another horse has arrived. I believe perhaps he has been waiting for this reunion and to be back with his herdmate once again.

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In connection to Poppy, now Aponi, arriving at our center, I am creating an opportunity for sponsoring this mare in her new home and purpose here with us.

Sponsorship of the horses allows me to continue giving homes to horses in need and supporting them having a forever home and doing meaningful work in the world.

For those in our community who often feel connected to our horses and wonder what they can do to support the mission, sponsorship is a perfect opportunity to do so.

Aponi’s arrival at our center allows me to continue to share about the mission of our space with these horses and introduce more people to connecting with horses in a new way.

I have created sponsorship opportunities for all of our horses, and for those who are called to sponsoring Aponi here at our retreat space, here are some ways you can do that:

Sponsorship includes supporting the horses feed and care that encompasses, hay, vet care and farrier.

Options:

1 Month Sponsorship:  $250 CDN

The 1 month sponsorship comes with pictures and videos of Aponi in her new environment and check-ins of how she is doing at the ranch.

3 Month Sponsorship: $750 CDN

The 3 month sponsorship includes an equine guided session (in person or virtual) pictures and videos of Aponi and an in-person visit if you live locally.


6 Month Sponsorship:  $1500 CDN

The 6 month sponsorship includes an equine guided coaching session (in person or virtual), pictures and videos, a 2 night stay in one of our cabins and opportunity to come and meet Aponi in person.  

If none of these options are available to you right now but you would still like to contribute to Aponi’s arrival here, you can customize a sponsorship with this link and choose the amount you would like to contribute.

If you are curious about learning more about our herd and sponsoring another one of our horses, you can follow this link.

I look forward to being able to reunite these two horses and allowing Aponi to step into her new role as equine teacher with our programs.  I look forward to being able to share her medicine and teachings more deeply with you as she begins her new role in our herd.

The Medicine of Self Care

Self Care.

For some of us, when we hear this word, we brush our hands to the side and think it is not important.

For some of us, we might think this is a foreign concept not one that we empower or understand.

This week, during a private horse retreat I led out of our beautiful retreat center, a man---coach, leader, TED talk speaker---came and spend 3 days with us.

He was seeking clarity on his purpose, a quest for a vision, a call to be with horses.

He was not a horse man. He didn’t grow up with horses. He was a man seeking clarity and his intuition said to come here.

Often what happens in these retreats is that people come with one agenda and another one emerges.

For this man, from the first day what became a theme was the theme of self care.

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When we don’t recharge ourselves, we run on exhaust fumes.

We are constantly depleted, unable to give to ourselves, our dreams, our responsibilities, our businesses and our families.

We are not in service of anything in these places.

The horses mirrored for this man during his retreat the essence of care. The herd lay down, stood silently, and created a space for him to recharge.

Horses understand the necessity for self care and the indulgence of listening to when we need rest, or to eat, or to pause. As prey animals, if they do not tend to their energy, they will not have anything left if a predator comes by. For them, it is essential to their survival. It is for us as well.

Stress, depression, exhaustion, worry are all and can be parts of our daily lives that we have come to simply just accept as part of life. But we don’t have to do that, and truthfully, it doesn’t serve us when we do.

We spoke about how to integrate this into his life. He shared with me that he realized this retreat was for this purpose, to have space, time to care for himself.

The clarity that was found was this...

Until he created space to tend to his needs, nourish his body, mind and soul, the clarity he was seeking couldn’t come to him.

Self care is not a frivolous act. It is not something we cannot afford.

Self care is an essential ingredient to our well being, worthy of being listened to and being integrated into our lives.

Self care promotes wellness. It gives us energy; it recharges us.

Self care needs to be a part of our day and tended to. It needs to meet our needs holistically, from our spirit to our body.

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There is a great article on Psychology Today that gives ideas to ways we can hold our self care as an example.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/click-here-happiness/201812/self-care-12-ways-take-better-care-yourself

The Chopra Center also wrote a great article breaking down all elements of self care you can read below.

https://chopra.com/articles/how-to-make-self-care-a-priority

What I find important is for us to listen to what self care looks like to us, to be fluid with it, taking time to ask how it wants to be held instead of assuming, or imposing what it is.

For me, self care is a way of being. It is a mindful way of being in relationship with my whole self. It is listening to my body needs, to my mind, emotions and to my spirit, having daily check ins, listening to my rhythms, creating space for all pieces of myself to be tended to.

I asked this man on his last day to sit with how it was going to look like to integrate self care into his world, and to remember the purpose behind it.

It is our mind and our beliefs that keep us from tending to ourselves, telling us stories that we don’t have time, or we can't afford it or that it will take away from our responsibilities. But we have to challenge those beliefs because they are simply not true.

Self care empowers your process. It allows you to have energy for your responsibilities. It doesn’t have to take all day; it can be intermittent moments that blend in your day, 10 minutes. But we have to realize that we can’t afford not to.

I encourage anyone who is reading this to really listen to where this is hitting home. Depletion, hustle, being unwell is not a badge of honor we can afford to wear.

Self care can be moments in your day, and giving yourself a few days every quarter to recharge. Our retreats are perfect for honoring that time for reflection if it calls to you. (Read about our retreats here.)

Listen to what you are being asked to hold for yourself and make it priority. A simple shift in how we hold ourselves and our care can go a long way.  

And if you are curious to hear about this man’s account of his time here, you can watch his testimonial below, and also get to meet our dog, Luca who inserted himself into this video.

 
 
 

If this resonates for you, feel free to share it, or comment. I love hearing from our community.

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