horse gracious wild

In Memory: Caruso’s Puer Spirit

There is one character in my book Gracious Wild that I didn’t have enough pages to share about. That is the small, sweet chestnut Arabian horse named “Caruso”. The only mention he gets in the book is a brief telling of our least glamorous moment together when he tripped and I came off of him. Then in the epilogue, I touch on the heartache of saying goodbye to my friend. I am coming back around full circle to remember my time with…

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horses shamanism legend purity of heart

The Legend of Purity of Heart

As a child I harbored secret fantasies about horses. Standing in the Colorado State Fair stable with the gigantic nose of a Budweiser Clydesdale cradled in my small hands was pure bliss. There was a precious brief moment where I could just enter, enter into the experience of equine. Nothing came between us.  The gentle gelding’s eyes smiled at me. I still remember the touch of his velveteen white muzzle and the round edges of his nostrils. Then everything becomes…

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cherokee horse stacey couch

Love Her is What I Still Do

Publishing a memoir has paradoxically pushed my personal life more inward as if somehow I can counteract the effect of my innermost thoughts being so public by making my current motivations hidden. It is challenging to meet people for the first time and know they’ve had access to some of the most raw moments of my life. I hold my realtime vulnerabilities closer. They are more precious to me now. On the other hand, I know it is my candor, my…

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hope hardship horses

Hope in the Face of Hardship

Those of you that own a troubled horse may know a particular type of isolation I am familiar with, the type of loneliness that comes when an expert looks down their nose at you and says, “this is too much horse for you” or the kind of despair that comes from finishing yet another clinic in humiliation because your horse was the most explosive, fearful, defiant, you name it beast there and everyone knew it. I can’t tell you how…

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Mustang Mare Horse

On Immediate Results and Real Consequences

Do you ever have the experience of immediate response from your environment? Do you know what it feels like have something shift so quickly that you’re overwhelmed with the results? In the course of the last 24 hours my reality has been completely shattered and then repaired to its beautiful self. Some of you may know of the challenges I’ve faced with my 17 year old bay mustang mare. She used to be absolutely terrified of humans, and nothing in…

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lil bit horse shamanism

Little Bits at a Time

In our Journey Circle today we talked about how trauma can be repeated throughout our lives. For example, I broke my left femur when I was 11 years old and I can’t say how many times I’ve re-injured my left knee or hip since then. Today, I shared how I see these kinds of patterns repeated in the lives of rescue horses. No matter how many owners the horses have in their lives, the story is the same. Some horses…

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animal communication

Do They Speak English?

Being in the world of animal welfare as a shamanic practitioner I commonly get asked the question, “Can you talk to the horse and help him understand?” From a shamanic point of view, the animals do not speak our language. Historically, it was the job of the shaman to learn how to speak the language of the land, the animals, the elements, and the ancestors. The shaman communed with these spirits and surrendered to their cosmic view, so she could…

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healing animal communication

The Healing That’s Offered

The piece on “Do They Speak English?” leaves the reader with a new question: “If the shaman cannot help a horse understand what can they do?” Domestic animals live in a world full of human agenda. Before the time of domestication, animals operated solely on their own will. Now we force them into trailers and kennels. We demand they be quiet when asked. We expect them to give solace and comfort to our tired souls. In all of this work,…

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horse leadership

On Leadership

I find it an interesting synchronicity that at this time in my life I find my perspective of leadership turned on its head. In the over 2 years I’ve known my mustang mare she has been the lead mare of her shifting herd of 15-18 mares. She has shouldered the role so gracefully that life in the pasture has been ordered but playfully choatic, friendly with a sound level of ownership. She rarely, if ever, exerts her power over the…

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