Out of other options and ideas, I ultimately decided to put my trust in her. And I let go. I let go of my goals and aspirations and expectations. I stopped caring what other people thought, or what they said. I relinquished control. I stopped reading training books and following other trainers' systems. I quieted my mind and started LISTENING – to my horse. And that's when our healing began.
Still, after healing physically from the accident I was eager to return to the barn and spend time with the horses again. Unfortunately, at the time, I couldn’t imagine it was possible to love or enjoy horses without riding them. So I pushed myself to get back in the saddle far too soon. I “tucked away my fear” and pressed on with lessons, earning lavish accolades from both instructors and peers for exhibiting such bravery. But riding was never the same for me. Before the accident it had been an outlet for connection and freedom; afterwards it left me feeling disconnected and tense. The profound loss of joyful interactions with horses is what eventually led me on what I can only describe as a long and desperate search to recover “that magical connection with horses”.
This quest first led me to Parelli Natural Horsemanship (PNH) in the late 1990’s. PNH confirmed for me that there was a different way to be with horses and taught me how to train them (and myself) to be calmer, more confident and safer. But eventually, despite significant progressive accomplishment in the PNH program, I found myself feeling once again that something was still missing.
Next I spent several years exploring clicker training. I hoped that positive reinforcement would shape the types of relationships I dreamed about having with horses. Clicker training enabled me to nurture even greater levels of confidence, trust and “try” in my horses and broadened my awareness of their incredible intelligence. But then another unfortunate turn of events rocked my world.
I learned the basics of horse care and riding at Girl Scout summer camp. I later honed those skills in college through the St. Andrews University (NC) equestrian program. It was there, during my senior year in college, that my parents’ worst fears became reality. A horrific riding accident left me with a broken neck, a severely bruised body and - as I would later find out - a shattered confidence.
Allowing Tempo the freedom and opportunity to speak her mind and to teach ME instead of believing it was my job to always teach her turned out to be the “secret sauce” for creating the relationships I’ve always dreamed of having with horses. It also opened my eyes to how dedicated horses are to healing what's been damaged in themselves, physically and emotionally. Even more than that, they sincerely want to help us heal too!
So, what qualifies me to guide YOU on your own "grand adventure of the soul"? It's simple. I remain a humble lifelong student of the horse, and of what it means to be human. I willingly share my own life-experiences. I connect people more intuitively and energetically with horses. I interpret their body language at a highly nuanced level so you can receive the wisdom of horses in your own life. And most of all, I acknowledge that we are all one, that we all (horses and humans alike) need to be empowered to share our gifts, and that we all, always, have more to learn about ourselves - and from one another.
In 2009, my delightful yearling filly Tempo (who I raised and trained from birth) became increasingly aggressive while undergoing extended treatment for, and rehabilitating from, a serious injury. After she finally received a clean bill of health I spent several years trying every training technique I had ever learned to “correct” or “reverse” her very scary and very dangerous behaviors… to no avail.
But because I knew this horse from birth, I knew she was not aggressive by nature. I also knew she had never been mistreated or hurt by human hands. And yet she had seemingly grown to hate interacting with humans, including me. Tempo is especially dear to me for many reasons, but most of all for being the only horse in my life who was not afraid to tell me (in no uncertain terms) that my need to be in control (or more specifically my fear of NOT being in control) was the very thing that was keeping me from what I wanted most: an authentic and honest relationship with my horse. (You can learn more about my journey with Tempo by watching the highly acclaimed six-episode video series I created that's published on Youtube.)
A Personal Note from Kim
I’ve loved horses for as long as I can remember and I’ve never lost that feeling of being a horse crazy little girl! Growing up a “suburban kid”, my equine obsession led me to collect Breyer model horses, to read the Black Stallion series at least a dozen times and to name my bike “Midnight” so I could pretend we were galloping through the streets together.