Once a week, The Swell Collective features a tribe member living the tribe values out loud. BE GOOD. DO GOOD. SEE GOOD. SHARE GOOD.
Occupation: Riding Instructor, Horse Trainer
Organization or Company Name / State(s), Country of Operation:
CCE Horsemanship / California, USA
What change in the world would you like to see through the work you’re doing?
I would love to see more people show compassion and empathy towards animals and their fellow beings. Being around horses all day long, it is without a doubt in my mind that they feel every range of emotion that we humans are capable of feeling. I’ve seen a horse experience happiness, sadness, anger, depression, accomplishment, pride, and I have heartbreakingly witnessed a horse grieve over the loss of a loved companion. I would hope through my line of work, I might inspire a different perspective as to how animals think or feel, or that indeed, they do think and feel.
Briefly describe the journey that brought you to the work you are doing today.
I’ve always had a deep love of anything equine. I started riding when I was nine years old, and since then, riding has always been my happy place. I’ve been blessed in meeting many amazing people and horses along the way. Throughout this journey, I would say the most impacting event is when I met a very inspirational women named Julie Krone. She completely opened my soul to a new perception on how my horse thinks and feels.
Until that experience, I had never attempted to view the world from my horse’s eyes, or consider her emotions, I had never been taught to. Instead, I had been taught to show her who the boss is, to not let her “get away” with anything, to hit and yank on her, and that it was always her fault. That realization was life changing enough to spark a passion to do right by everything wrong that was taught to me and done to the horses; enough to make my life’s journey focused on making this world a better place for horses and humans by providing compassionate education that puts the human/horse relationship first.
What or who inspires you? Why?
Anyone who stays true to his or her beliefs and morals whilst chasing their dreams inspire me. Temptation to compromise ones character to achieve success is sadly too common in today’s society. In my opinion, staying true to your core convictions takes a large amount of bravery. I admire anyone who has stood firm in their beliefs, yet never closed their minds to possibilities or opportunities to grow, these are the kind people I love to learn from and try to surround myself with.
What is your greatest personal or professional challenge at the moment? How are you working to overcome it?
Anxiety is my nemesis. I worry about minute things that may seem silly to most, but to me it is real. I can get so lost in my worry process that I end up worrying about the day when I have nothing to worry about, what do I worry about then? The one thing in my life that has made all of the anxiety, despair, and dreadful worry disappear is rather simple: horses.
I don’t know what it really means to meditate, I have tried many times, but the closest I think I have come to such, is when I am working or riding a horse. Horses suck me into the present and bring me a sense peace and stillness. Better than any therapy or soul numbing pharmaceutical drug out there in my opinion.
What advice would you give your 18 year old self?
You are kind, loving, beautiful, intelligent, and capable of being powerful. There are forces in this world that will try to strip you of these qualities, but there are others that will help you build a foundation off these qualities – learn the difference. Be strong, be patient, and remain solid in your core convictions. Open your mind to possibilities; it’s okay to grow, even though it sometimes hurts, just remember that it is okay. Do not mistake natural talent for hard earned skill. And always follow your intuition; it is your life’s compass.
What is most rewarding about the work that you do?
I have the pleasure of working with both horses and people, so there are many rewarding aspects in my line of work. With horses, my favorite is watching a shy, unconfident horse trust for the first time, or in the unfortunate cases, watching them learn to trust again. My other favorite is the moment before I get on a horse for his first ride, when he relaxes his body and lowers his head as if to say,” I love you and I trust you.”
With people my favorite is being able to facilitate someone’s first encounter with a horse. I am addicted to the mesmerizing look they get. I know the look all too well, it happens at the very instance the horse gets into your soul, and all you can think about is you and the horse. It’s a look of pure contentment, anything you might have had in the back of your mind vanishes, a break from reality so to speak.
Anything else you’d like us to know or share with our fellow Swell mates?
Thank you very much for this great opportunity! I had a fun time writing answers for these questions.