How Horses Taught Me About Who I Am

December 3, 2008 at 3:31 pm 8 comments

I had a profound experience a couple of weeks ago and I wanted to share it with you. I attended Brooke Castillo and Koelle Simpson’s How to be Heard workshop. Basking in the warm Phoenix sun and spending time with close friends would’ve been enough of a treat, but I got so much more than that.

The horses were our teachers…

They are herd animals that need a strong leadership structure to survive in the wild. Horses couldn’t care less about what you say; they pick up on your energy and what you do with it. There’s no BS’ing your way into leading the horses. Our job was to get a horse to “join up” with us—to earn the right to be its leader.

Have you ever heard the expression, “How you do anything is how you do everything?” My biggest personal bugaboo* is that I can become wracked with self doubt. I worry about being good enough and doing it right. I got to see that play out right in front of me. I may look calm in this picture,

but I am having a self-doubt moment and my nervous energy was fluttering up around my shoulders. This horse was not interested in following me with that fluttery energy.  

What I learned is that when I’m busy doubting myself, I can’t connect with others, pick up on their cues or truly be there for them. This horse was giving me all kinds of signs that he was ready to be lead, but I was too busy in my own mind to see them.

Then I remembered who I am. I am not insecure. I am not disconnected. My energy becomes calm and strong, I feel like I’m in my body. I see this horse. It’s time to lead. She’s up for it. Because I’m up for it.

I don’t need to make her follow me with a rope or force. As long as I act (be) like a leader, she’ll follow.

The horses showed me that my true nature is strong, calm, joyful, supportive and assertive. Self doubt does not serve me and blocks me from making my full contribution to the world.

What are you doing that doesn’t serve you? Who would you be if you allowed yourself to be un-limited by your own beliefs?

These kinds of questions are easy to skip over and dismiss as foo-foo–I invite you to take a minute and really think about it. Something cool could happen.


* I didn’t even realize how apt a word “bugaboo” was, check out the definition–“an imaginary object of fear.”


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The Spin-Out You’ll Never Have It All Together

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Judith K. MacMillan  |  December 3, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    Just like Mom always says, remember who YOU are!

  • 2. Bridgette Boudreau  |  December 3, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    My biggest fan–thanks mom.

  • 3. Randi  |  December 3, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    Great story, Bridget! Reminds me of the book “All the Pretty Horses” about a very young, but supremely self-confident and gifted wild horse breaker.

  • 4. inner180  |  December 3, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    This is an amazing post. I got to work with the horses for a few hours. It wasn’t enough. After reading this, I want to do more.
    Thanks for your clear, thoughtful, transparent piece on this.

  • 5. Valerie  |  December 4, 2008 at 5:39 am

    What a wonder-full experience, eh? Well, I think your first horse needed glasses, cause all I saw all day was strong, calm, joyful, supportive and assertive!! Just goes to show how “hidden” our self-doubts can be, how we ALL have them, and how powerful the horses are to pick up on…everything. Thanks for sharing so beautifully!

  • 6. Annette  |  December 4, 2008 at 8:22 am

    Horses can teach us many many things. To take the time and really look at how they respond is quite the experience, is it not??
    Good for you, and great to see you connecting!!

  • 7. Bouds  |  December 4, 2008 at 10:03 am

    I was so impressed with your experience, that I sent it to three of our key employees!

  • 8. Christine  |  April 24, 2009 at 11:40 am

    Bridgette – what a great portrayal of your leadership experience. After reading this, I’m very excited about the upcoming California trip. Thanks for sharing. Christine


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