Horses: Hope or Hopelessness?

Horses: Hope or Hopelessness?
Fingers grasp the cool doorknob; one boot hits the step, then the other. The door closes firmly behind me as I push back, ensuring it’s latched. 

A deep breath of cool fall air fills my lungs. I pause. I hear my kids inside playing with the sitter. A smile tugs at the corners of my lips, slowly making way for a big toothy grin. 

❤️‍🔥It’s time! My time! 

I bounce down the steps with the giddiness of a child and heave open the heavy tack room door to quickly grab my favourite blue halter and lead. 
As I walk out to the pasture, my gaze turns skyward as a flock of geese honk overhead, they’re flying low to the ground, and I know they’re heading to the water across the road. I close my eyes with the sun on my face and take another deep breath. 

❤️‍🔥Freedom. 

Ace isn’t far now. His head rises from the grass as his ears prick in my direction. Hey buddy. Warmth fills my heart, it quickly spreads through my whole body, and I feel like I’m walking in an orb of warm golden joyfulness. 

❤️‍🔥I’m home. 

Touching his neck, breathing deep into his shoulder and getting the biggest dopamine kick from his scent. 

❤️‍🔥This is tranquillity. 

Ace sidesteps over to the fence to let me slide onto his back. We casually walk away from the herd, listening to the leaves fall gently to the ground while others crunch under hoof. 

❤️‍🔥Deep inner calm. 

Sitting on Ace, I can’t believe I almost said no. 
I almost allowed guilt, shame, overwhelm and stress to keep me trapped, small, exhausted and defeated. 

❤️‍🔥
Proud. 

Good boy, Ace. A gentle, loving rub on his damp neck as we finish our ride. Gratitude fills my heart as I see how far we’ve come. 

❤️‍🔥
Connection. 

Believing in myself. Connecting to my heart to know what I need. Trusting my soul to lead the way. Feeling more trust and connection to my horse than ever before. 

❤️‍🔥
Partnership. 

With peace in my heart and a gentle smile on my face, I grasp that cool doorknob once more and know in my soul I made the right decision.

🙏
It's my heart's prayer that you get to feel fulfilled and at ease with your time with horses, overcoming your struggles.

Looking to connect with other horsewomen who are daring to  Rise Up & Ride
See you inside.


"I'll just get in the way."

"I'll just get in the way."
“I’ll just get in the way,” I kept thinking. 

But first, let me paint the scene for you.

If you’ve never been to a branding pen, it's somewhat chaotic. The pen is shaped like a bottle, and the calves are on the large end where six to eight horses slowly walk among the calves looking for a shot to rope both back feet. Once a calf’s heels are roped, it is pulled by the horse and rider to one of three or four Nordforks steaked to the ground; a group of three or four people on the ground work alongside each Nordfork. Someone will place this Nordfork along the calf's neck where it fits behind its head, keeping it secure while the horse and rider keep the rope taught, preventing the calf from kicking the ground crew while it is branded, vaccinated and castrated. Once finished, the Nordfork is removed, and the calf is pulled out of the branding pen through the narrow alley to be reunited with its mom. The alley is under guard by horse and rider or ground grew to ensure the calf doesn’t run back in. 


[both photo credit to Countrified Photography & Designs] 


From the sidelines watching the branding pen, there can be moments of flow and efficiency and then times of panic. When you rope a calf accidentally by one leg, head, or belly, it starts to beller and run wildly about while the rider tries to maintain control of the horse, calf, and the rope connecting the two. This scenario usually causes everyone to scatter, trying to avoid being trampled. 

I’m not an avid roper. After my rope horse sustained a bad injury and had two daughters, I have barely swung a rope over the past five years, but I longed to be a part of the fun. My husband kept asking if I wanted to give it a try, but I kept declining. 

I wasn’t worried about looking like an idiot, but I was concerned about being in the way. There were also many calves to get through, so with every throw I missed, I would prevent another horse and rider duo from catching, thus slowing down the day, I thought. 

Have you ever felt this way? 
Found yourself sitting on the sidelines just to stay out of the way?
 Let others have all the fun because you might just mess it up. 

Luckily, I’ve been working on my mindset for quite a bit, and while I didn’t work up the nerve to participate on the first day of branding, near the end of day two, I bravely asked my husband if he would ride alongside me to give me pointers on my roping and just advice in general. If you know me, asking for help isn’t easy– but it is something I’m working on, especially with my husband. 

Working through these feelings took time! For a while, I avoided them lying to myself by coming up with excuses. “Brad deserves to do this more than me.” “Brad will be angry if he has to watch the kids.” “People will get mad if I’m too slow.” “I’ll just get in the way.” 

Eventually, I had to feel my feelings to understand my fears and reasons for why I wasn’t participating, and then I had to validate them. My concern about being in the way, getting hurt or hurting someone else is highly valid! Having a healthy respect for safety doesn’t make me a coward. 

However, I am also capable and worthy of participating. I lacked confidence in myself and my abilities, selling myself short. I am just as important as everyone else in that pen; everyone was missing shots and encouraging others to take their time. My happiness matters just as much as theirs. 

I don’t want my kids to sit on the sidelines growing up. I don’t want my girls to sit back and out of the way, worried their team will lose if they participate. I want my daughters to bravely jump in even if they are the least talented in the group. I want them to know they are worth it. 

In the end, I roped two calves! Hearing my husband cheer me on made me grin ear to ear and feel proud that I was brave enough to try.  I am pleased that I am showing my girls how to be courageous. 

My happiness matters. I deserve to participate. My dreams are valid. I am worth it.

And so are you.


Rise Up & Ride, my friends,
Leanne


One of the biggest lies around identifying trauma.

One of the biggest lies around identifying trauma.

Would you say you’ve experienced trauma in your life? Most people would say no. 


If I were to ask those who said yes what those traumatic experiences were, they would most likely share things like a car accident, serious illness, near-death incident, war, losing a spouse or child, becoming an orphan, being sexually or physically abused. 


But what if trauma wasn't only these notable dramatic moments in time? 


The more I learn about trauma, the more I’ve come to understand that experiencing trauma isn’t about the dramatic event; it is about how you felt from an event. 


So what does this mean? If there have been moments in your life that you have ever felt abandoned, terrified, never heard, never valued, worthless, waste of time, then you have experienced trauma. 

When we experience trauma, we go into fight, flight, or freeze/shut down. We aren’t safe to express ourselves, or worse, told not to. When our nervous system enters this sympathetic state without being able to complete the cycle - process emotionally and mentally what’s happening and it is met with empathy and validation from another human - then those emotions become trapped inside our nervous system. 


For those of us who perhaps didn't realize what trauma included, we would most likely have thoughts like: “Oh jeez, my childhood was great! I really don’t have anything to complain about,” or “sure I was bullied, but it wasn’t that bad, they were just kids and didn’t know what they were doing after all.” This denial is a safety mechanism to keep that trauma locked away deep inside us to protect us from the pain. 


When we can start learning what trauma actually is, we can begin to free ourselves from it. If for your entire life, you were trying to tell yourself that what you went through wasn’t a big deal and to just get over it, those painful emotions stay trapped. What you felt was real! What you felt was painful and traumatic. 


Learning how to overcome my trauma has been the gateway to understanding myself. Trauma is the root of anger, frustration, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, suicide, self-harm, and more. All of a sudden, I’m not “messed up.” I’m simply emotionally and mentally wounded, and I need to heal. 


If you find yourself relating to this, I want to personally invite you into my Facebook community. Inside the guide section, I have a free 30-day transformation - Chomping at the Bit: Transition from Guilt to Freedom. This will help you get started on your healing journey. Click HERE to connect with others wanting their happiness, hope and freedom too. 


Learning to heal has transformed my life to find happiness, hope, and freedom! Becoming more whole has helped my anxiety and depression; it helps me be a better mom and prevent passing my trauma down; it’s immensely helping my marriage. 

If you would prefer to go through the 30-day Transformation off of Facebook, simply create your free Membership Login to access all of my materials HERE.

See you inside. 💜



How I overcame my suffocating thoughts and emotions.

How I overcame my suffocating thoughts and emotions.

Let’s be honest! You love the fact that you have children; you love your children! But then, on the other hand, you're also missing who you were before your kids. You're missing what you used to be able to do. You're missing the amount of time you'd used to spend with your horses. You're missing freedom. You're missing almost everything about your life pre-kids, and you don't know how to navigate all of those big, ugly emotions, and then the guilt that follows them, right, because the guilt is going to follow. I know that because I went through all of this.

Read more...

How to deal with not being where you feel you should be.

How to deal with not being where you feel you should be.
It’s so easy to be frustrated, hurt, sad, resentful or anxious about where we are in life.

“It shouldn’t be like this”
“Why is it so hard”
“My horse should be doing -“
“Why am I still scared”
“No one supports me”
“This isn’t what I thought my life would be like”

When we get stuck in what we think life -should be- we totally miss what life really is.

This is commonly the root of our frustration, anxiety, depression, resentment, and suffering.

Life is what it IS.

Learning to accept and love what ‘is’ allows you space to then make a plan with action steps to move in the direction you want; my friend, that is true freedom.

Let go of what you think life should be.
Let go of where you think you should be.
Let go of what you think your horse should be able to do.
Let go of what you think your marriage should be.
Let go of how you think your kids should be.

Live in this moment. Love now. Embrace now.

If you’re looking steps to help, check out the free 30 day challenge inside Back Into Horses After Babies in the guide section: “Chomping at the Bit.”


Until next time my friend 💜

Three steps to help your anxiety, depression or other overwhelming emotions.

Three steps to help your anxiety, depression or other overwhelming emotions.
Anxiety and depression are big, painful emotions that many people struggle with. Are you one of them? Perhaps you only deal with one or the other, or maybe you struggle with both regularly.


Sometimes, however, I think people only know that they feel gross, down, frustrated, stressed or sad. When we feel this way, we often don’t even want to really think about what we feel because we don’t want to get lost down that rabbit trail of figuring it out. I believe that is one of the biggest mistakes a person can make when they truly desire to improve their life and strive for happiness.


First off, do you know the difference between anxiety and depression? When I first thought of that question, I honestly had to stop and really think about it. I then decided to double-check with good ole Google to see if I had it straight.


These are common struggles for those with anxiety: (summarized in my words based on this article)
 - Often thought of as “worry-warts.” They are always fearful about something bad happening, right now as well as the future.
 - They often get stuck thinking about all the horrible things that could happen today, tomorrow, or ten years from now. Something is bound to go wrong, and they can’t stop thinking about it.
 - They don’t put themselves in any situations where they are scared that their anxiety will take over and humiliate them. This can result in a lot of self-isolation.
 - Getting fixated on the probability of death due to random circumstances, feelings or symptoms.


Depression rather shows itself as:
 - Feeling of sadness that you cannot shake or possibly even identify.
 - Feeling hopeless about a situation, or even your own abilities not being good enough.
 - When you feel like you are worthless and all your efforts in life are worthless.
 - You think of death often; your life is hopeless, you are worthless, and you are a burden on your loved ones.


The struggle with anxiety and depression is dealing with one of these alone is a huge struggle. But, commonly, one can create the other, so you find yourself fighting with both anxiety and depression.


While I’m not a therapist, and I always suggest seeking professional help (especially if you find yourself fixated on death or suicidal thoughts), I want to encourage you to try out these few practices that can be life-changing if used regularly.

     1. Deliberately sit with your feelings and try to identify them to the best of your ability. Depression, anxiety and overwhelm for a lot of people can be a symptom of an unmet need or an emotion that isn't being taken care of. Check out this feelings wheel chart I found that can help narrow down specifically what you are feeling.

     2. Once you’ve got a feeling, we will use worthless as an example, and I want you to remind yourself that you are not wrong or broken for feeling this way. Emotions are never right or wrong; they simply are what they are. Hating them or wishing you didn’t have them will not serve you; that will only start creating hatred and resentment toward your own faults.

     3. Now, I want you to envision yourself sitting at a table, and your worthless feeling is sitting beside you. What would you say to it? “Hey, worthlessness, I see you. I see you hurting and in so much pain. I love you, just as you are. I am here, I see you, I love you, and we will figure this out.”

Learning to identify and name our emotions allows us to see it for what it actually is. When we don’t know, and we stay stuck in the “I just feel horrible” road, we can’t love ourselves where we need to be loved.

Staying stuck in the unknown is the perfect recipe for continued depression, anxiety, resentment, frustration and anger. Love and empathy are the antidotes.


I, for one, have struggled with both depression and anxiety. They come and go, but the one thing that stays the same is that getting help from other people helps keep me happier and more emotionally healthy. If you would like to be surrounded by other like-minded wonderful people, you can find us in my Facebook Group by clicking the button.





How To Come Back Into Your Body During Moments of Fear or Anxiety

How To Come Back Into Your Body During Moments of Fear or Anxiety

Yesterday I hauled Ace and our new horse Greg to the arena. It was barrel practice night, and this was the first time going for all three of us. 


Ace has been really learning to let go of his anxiety and fears during rope nights with my hubby's help, so I personally hadn’t ridden him the last few times he was hauled. On the drive, I mentally prepared myself to be a relaxed and confident leader for Ace while listening to a podcast. (The Journey On Podcast with Warwick Schiller interviewing Jane Pike)


This podcast really explained things in a way I had never thought of before, and it helped a lot! I want to share a few of those with you now summarized in my words. 


  1. My body and mind are amazing. It created defence mechanisms to protect myself during stressful/scary/traumatizing situations when I literally couldn’t process it. I am thankful my body has this ability -- but I am now aware it's time to release these defence methods as they are no longer serving me. 


  1. When I feel anxiety, stress or fear, it's like internal energy becoming bigger than my body that I cannot hold it in anymore. I am learning to tune into what my body is telling me and respond before my emotions become bigger than my body, creating a fight/flight/freeze. This is my body trying to protect myself from danger - which again is a beautiful thing! Accepting that nothing is wrong with me is extremely important. 


  1. When I start to feel anxious, an easy method to help refocus my brain is to move my body: wiggle my toes in my boots, tap my thumb against each fingertip. Yesterday I also became aware of how I wanted my body to feel to Ace while riding. I envisioned my body being connected to him through my seat and thighs, like in Avatar minus the ponytail hehe. I wanted to feel soft, relaxed, gentle and curious about his own movements. This helped me ride so much softer I was shocked!


  1. Every single thing I learned about myself is exactly the same for my horse. When Ace reacts anxiously or fearfully, this is his natural response to keep him safe and protected. I don’t want this to disappear, or if a bear ever came for a visit, then he would be in trouble! I want to show him he can trust me and that I’ll keep him safe.

    1.  His anxiety can feel so big it's pouring out of his body, putting him into fight/flight/freeze; it is up to me to recognize when his cup of anxiety is getting too high and help him empty it before it overwhelms him. 

    2. Asking him for simple body movements can help him come back inside his body, getting his mind off his stress, but it's important to keep things very simple and basic, so it doesn’t become an additional stress source. 


There is nothing wrong with feeling fear or anxiety or stress, for either you or your horse! This is an instinct meant to keep us safe from harm. Learning to accept this is the first step to understanding and moving past our fears. Invite your fear to sit at a table beside yourself; what would you say to it? Invite your horse's fear to sit at your table; what would you tell it? Loving ourselves through these feelings is so important. 


Thank you, Jane, for the amazing reminder. 


These 7 exercises helped me get back in the saddle after having kids.

These 7 exercises helped me get back in the saddle after having kids.
Riding after having babies is a challenge! Not only are we completely different humans; our brains work differently, our bodies are different, our confidence might be less, but when it's hard to even get back into the saddle it can feel really embarrassing.

First off - don't let anyone, and I mean anyone shame you for your diminished strength, flexibility and grace. You have done an amazing thing carrying and delivering a baby; whether vaginally or c-section the toll on our bodies is massive. It is to be expected that your core, flexibility and glutes will be stiff, sore and weaker. Yes, some women can 'bounce back' without missing a beat, but my friends...this isn't the norm ok! So, stop comparing yourself to someone else, stop letting anyone shame you. Be proud for getting back out there my friend! 

After the birth of each of my daughters, I can still remember the scary feeling that I almost couldn't get on; then when I finally did manage to get in the saddle I felt sooooo top heavy! Any quick movements from my horse had me flopping around like a dummy this way and that. (Ok, that might be an exaggeration but that's what it felt like!)

I took a few exercise programs to start regaining strength in my body. I also went for walks to increase my stamina and focused on targeted muscles with each step. Tighten Glute with each step. Engage my core for 20 steps, relax for 10, engage my core for 20. Tighten the thigh each step. Walk on tip toes. This was a fantastic starting point and often had me startled by how much I would sweat and how much I could feel the effects afterwards. 

Once I felt stronger walking I knew I was ready to add in daily exercises. These 7 exercises helped me get back in the saddle after having kids. I loved how they were gentle, encouraged a flat tummy, but I could quickly feel them changing my body for the better!

If you'd like to see a short video where I show a few demos you can check that out here:




Here is a summary of the exercises that helped me the most!

1. Pelvic Tilt/Engage Core while laying on floor knees bent
2. While your core is engaged in doing the above exercise, bend side to side to touch your heels
3. Hip thrusts while laying on back with knees bent. The next step is when your core is raised add in a bent leg lift
4. Plank - start with short times, work your way up
5. Pushups - start with wall/ then hands-on bench knees floor, then standard "girl" pushups, then full pushups.
6. Squats - use a chair under your bum to assist you.
7. Step-ups onto a stable surface are also amazing and mimics getting on a horse a bit too. If using a chair lean it against a wall and make sure it's not tippy!! Falling off hurts trust me.
8. Bonus - Exercise ball sit: Engage your core and gently sway your hips side to side and front to back. Add in circles both ways. Perfect to do while watching your favourite TV show or while working at a desk.

Disclaimer! I am not a doctor or physical therapist...take this advice as just that,.... advice from a momma of two who struggled to ride/get on my horse after having babies.

Like what you heard? be sure to join  My Facebook Community

If you're looking for more one-on-one coaching to get you a stronger core, better flexibility and higher confidence, shoot me a message HERE


Uncontrollable Outbursts of Anger

Uncontrollable Outbursts of Anger
This morning I had an outburst of anger.

I had a fit...lost my temper...yelled...and accidentally dented my wall with a door handle.

I am embarrassed. I am ashamed. I feel guilty my children had to witness it.

Still feeling completely out of control I forced myself to sit and close my eyes while my children zoned out in front of the TV. I listened to a guided meditation knowing I needed to be talked off an invisible ledge in my mind bordering complete chaos.

Why am I so angry? Why do I feel completely out of control? Why am I so disconnected from myself?

My inner voice quietly responded, "you feel powerless. You feel like a ship at sea with no sails; the wind and the waves are tossing you around and there's nothing you can do. You're angry because you feel hopeless. You're angry because you feel powerless to protect yourself. You are angry because you're scared to be vulnerable. You're frustrated because this is a cycle that never seems to end."

During the meditation, I cried silent tears holding my youngest daughter who was oblivious to my inner turmoil. She had already forgiven me. I apologized anyway. God created these wonderful, young, impressionable tiny humans to forgive so easily. What a blessing!!

I commit to slowing down and examining my emotions more.

I commit to making myself a priority.

Know better...Do better.

I have tools I can implement to help myself. Do I still fail? Of course! This morning, I failed...but now I recommit, pick myself back up and do better.

Don't give up on yourself. We are all growing, learning, changing, and stumbling.
You've got this

. Recommit and start again. I'm not perfect...far from...but I know the tools I have work when I use them.

How often do we suffer in silence with our big emotions scared of being shamed by others? 

How often do we feel like anger is completely unacceptable...the biggest and nastiest of all? 

Anger is a sign something is wrong. Feeling anger means something much bigger and deeper is happening and it's time to reflect. Anger is a signal that we don't feel heard, that we feel powerless and hopeless. Anger protects us from the scary feelings of vulnerability. Anger protects us from all of those feelings because it makes us feel powerful. 

If you're like me...and you're wanting to work on these emotions, don't feel shame. Don't feel worthless or messed up. You're not alone. 

Let's end the stigma that anger is evil. Anger itself isn't the problem. Buried, misunderstood, and unvoiced feelings create anger. Anger is a symptom.

If you'd like to surround yourself with others who want to do better, I've created a safe space in . Anyone is welcome.


Asking For Support Shouldn't Be So Hard!

Asking For Support Shouldn't Be So Hard!

How come talking about the loneliness, guilt, resentment, anger and shame that comes with motherhood isn’t a thing?


How come when we try and reach out for help, we are told, “Yes, being a mom is hard, isn’t it,” or, “It’s just your hormones dear, it will all level out soon enough,” or my ultimate favourite, “don’t worry about that stuff, your babies are only babies once, sit back and soak it all in and just cheer up.” How isolating is that? We have just confessed we feel like we are drowning, and we are told to swim better.


Read more...

Do Everything, Do It Perfectly, Make It Look Easy: The Recipe For Unhappiness

Do Everything, Do It Perfectly, Make It Look Easy: The Recipe For Unhappiness

If I asked you to describe a ‘mom,’ what comes to mind? For me, Brene Brown explains it perfectly: mom’s do everything, do it perfectly, and make it look easy while doing it.


What about being a horsewoman? According to western movies, they make us tough, resilient, stubborn, firm and can do any job a man can do, but better.


Those are a lot of expectations. If you are like me, you are both a horsewoman and a mom. The weight of those expectations is exhausting. 


What’s worse is we don’t talk about these extreme expectations. These standards are unspoken by society, but they are implied. It’s not like after your first baby, a nurse comes in and says, “okay, now here’s what you need to do to be a good mom.” You don’t get a piece of paper when you become passionate about horses stating the requirements needed for you to be considered a good horsewoman. 


What’s sad about these unspoken standards is that we feel like failures when we inevitably can’t do it all. Those thoughts and feelings like we are failing, unworthy, less than, not enough, who am I to do that? They haunt all of us. These feelings are shame. We hide them away in hopes no one will ever see them; because if they did, we would indeed be judge and found unworthy.


Before we go further, let’s make sure we are all on the same page. Shame is the fear of disconnection, fear of being judged as unworthy and not good enough; to be cast out. Shame is “I feel awful because I am a bad person.” Guilt is “I feel awful because I did something bad.” 



As a mother of two amazing young daughters, living on a beautiful farm, with an outdoor arena as a front yard, who was I to complain? I should be the happiest person alive, shouldn’t I? But I missed myself before having children. I felt that I was a horrible mom for having these thoughts; I felt ashamed. I felt unworthy around my horses because my connection with them was almost nonexistent. I was angry, resentful, frustrated, and I felt alone. 


Luckily, thanks to my horse, I started going down a rabbit trail, trying to fix our connection. Instead, I found how much healing I needed. The shame I was carrying was eating away at my passion for life. I started to see the hope that I could indeed be happy and fulfilled as both a mother, wife and horsewoman. 


What I wish I had in those moments was someone to talk to. Someone, I felt safe enough to share my thoughts and struggles without being disconnected or judged.  I wish I had someone to help me realize that what I was dealing with was, in fact, shame and that there was a way through it. If you recognized a part of yourself as being stuck in shame, I’ve created a free booklet to help you start unpacking your thoughts to work towards finding your freedom from shame! If you’d like your copy sent directly to your inbox, you can get that here: Finding Your Freedom From Shame


Brene Brown is famous for her talks on shame; if you haven’t read or listened to her books or lectures on youtube, you need to. Almost everything I’ve learned regarding shame has been from her, so she gets all the core credits here. But what I’ve come to realize is in my darkest moments, it was shame that kept me there. Don’t let it keep you stuck. 


You are enough! You are worth it! 


Once, I was a fierce, independent, strong-willed, stubborn horse-crazy woman. Then I had kids.

Once, I was a fierce, independent, strong-willed, stubborn horse-crazy woman.   Then I had kids.

Once, I was a fierce, independent, strong-willed, stubborn horse-crazy woman.


Then I had kids. I felt like my world shifted so much I wasn’t recognizable. 


I was so proud to be a mom; I dearly and deeply love my daughters, but I also felt resentment, confusion, frustration, and anger within my life. As a result, I felt painful shame. The kind that made me too scared to reach out to anyone. What would they think of me? I felt like I was isolated and alone with these feelings; there was something wrong with me. No one else thinks like this! 


I was depressed, anxious, lost, alone, exhausted, with the endless knawing in my gut making me feel nauseous continuously. I was so angry with myself I literally pulled out some of my hair. It’s postpartum depression, I was told, but that was just part of it.


Then, one chilly spring day our greenbroke colt Ace eventually had enough of my overwhelming negative emotions and chaotic energy and tried to escape by rearing straight up and then bolting, dragging me through the arena sand. After my temper finally cooled down, all I felt was guilt and shame that he felt he had to escape me that badly. 


I decided I needed help knowing what to do to fix my horse. I soon found Warwick Schiller, and much to my surprise, I found I didn’t have a horse problem; I had a “me problem”. I learned that I had to heal myself first to be the leader my horse needed me to be.


For the first time, I saw a glimpse of peace. It was down this road of self-discovery if I was brave enough to take the journey. I was. I learned how to understand and navigate all the anger, resentment, anxiety, frustrations that I was drowning in. I started to feel lighter. To see the opportunity for hope; hope that I could be a wonderful mother and horsewoman. Hope that I could feel happy and fulfilled. Hope that I could be close with my husband. Hope that I would finally know who I was meant to be.


If this resonated with you, please know you’re not alone. My experiences brought me here. This is why I am doing what I do, because I know what all that feels like. I want to show you how I made it through. If you’re interested, please join me and other like-minded souls here.








How To Deal With Missing The Old You

How To Deal With Missing The Old You

Finding freedom feels impossible; independence? What’s that! This child needs me 24/7. Flexibility vanishes and is replaced by structure, nap times, play dates, sports, school and more. It’s exhausting to simply not go crazy and manage everything the family needs. You feel endless guilty for wanting a bit of the “old you” back when the decision to ride or not was entirely up to you, and it didn’t require endless planning and rescheduling to make happen.

Read more...

From Confident to Cautious - Part Two - Finding My Way Back Into Horses

From Confident to Cautious - Part Two - Finding My Way Back Into Horses

My second daughter was born almost two years to the day apart from her older sister. Talk about another colossal shock getting used to being the mom of two. I again struggled with postpartum depression; I was short-tempered, easily frustrated, and felt like I was getting lost in motherhood. 


(To read part one, you can find that here)

Come springtime, my daughters would occasionally nap simultaneously; this is when I would try and ride. We are very blessed to have an outdoor arena a hundred feet from our home, and wifi monitors gave me the ability to take advantage when the opportunity arose. Yet again, I felt pressured to start riding our youngster, Ace. I started doing some groundwork with him, and it felt like nothing much had changed in the past year; we still didn’t get along. I was getting increasingly frustrated with him, and I hate to admit I lost my temper numerous times. My fear of getting hurt only fuelled the fire. I had two little kids; I couldn’t afford to get hurt! But I was also stubborn and tried my best to push my fear aside. 


It didn’t take long to realize I just didn’t have the skill required to work with Ace. I was a scared ticking time-bomb, and funny enough, so was he. Combining us was a recipe for disaster. My husband and I decided to send him to a friend who also trained horses. He came unglued with her a time or two; hearing her replay his bucking escapade made me even more apprehensive at the thought of riding him when he got home turning my tummy into a ball of painful knots. 


I knew something had to change for Ace and me to find any resemblance of a partnership. While Ace was at the trainer, I started to look all over the internet for some insight on training methods that would work for him. What I ended up finding, however, was the farthest thing I was looking for. 


I started to see hints that I wasn’t listening to my horse. I would become defensive at this way of thinking; how am I supposed to be the leader if I’m not telling my horse what to do? He will walk all over me if I let him tell me what he wants; it didn’t make sense to me, and honestly, at the start, I thought it was ridiculous. I started to learn about stress indicators from Warwick Schiller, and while I thought it seemed a little crazy to let my horse have such an opinion on things, I was very intrigued with the idea of what he was doing. I kept watching his videos, and pretty soon, my skepticism started to dwindle. 


The more videos I watched, the more articles I read, every bit of evidence started to point to one main problem within our partnership. Me. My attitude, outlook on life, and buried trauma were negatively tainting everything I was touching. Talk about a kick to the ego. For so long, I thought the horse was the one with the problem, and I just had to learn how to train him. The reality was, however, I was the one that needed the training and the healing. 


When Ace returned, I was happy with his progress with my friend and trainer Breann Heatherington. I was still nervous, thinking my skills wouldn’t be adequate to prevent a blow-up or perhaps inadvertently cause one to happen. When we got home, I tried to do a lot of listening. I think Ace was a little shocked at how differently I was approaching our time together. Pretty soon, he started to communicate with me his concerns, worries, and even physical pain, as long as I was paying enough attention to see them. We were creating a deep bond doing everything in baby steps. I wasn’t in a rush anymore. 


A quote of unknown origins that completely changed my perspective was how we all, horses and humans alike, want to feel that we are "being seen, being heard, feeling felt, and getting gotten." When I stopped drowning in my own emotions, negative energies and trauma, I could finally open my eyes to see, hear, feel and get what Ace needed. 


Healing myself has been the most significant step to releasing anxiety, fear, worry and doubt. Without healing, moving forward would have been impossible. I encourage you to do the same. 


Like what you've read? Check out this video where I talk more about this. 


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Photo is my first barrel race back after the birth of my daughter.

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From Confident To Cautious...My Journey With Horses Alongside The Difficulties of Becoming A Mom

From Confident To Cautious...My Journey With Horses Alongside The Difficulties of Becoming A Mom

I was that girl who would ride any horse, anywhere. I didn't care if I knew I was likely to get bucked off; I was determined, brave, and thrived on the challenges of a difficult horse. Then, everything started to change...


I can remember it like yesterday. I felt the excitement of pregnancy, all the ideas, visions, and promises I made to myself before I had my first child. I’m not going to stop being me; I’m not going to let my baby needy, so I can’t go anywhere alone. I’m still going to ride a lot, not as much as now, but a few times a week will be easy. Our baby will go everywhere with us so that we don’t have to be isolated, restaurants, play days, coffee dates, travelling to see my parents or for holidays. There’s no way in hell my girl will sleep in our bed, this is my bed, and she will learn to sleep alone right away. We will be a family who still rides and rodeos! I never imagined it would be my last summer to rodeo.


I can’t help but laugh at my naivety. The second my first daughter was born, every preconceived notion I had, every plan, evaporated like the morning mist. Perhaps you can relate? We have this idea in our heads for how life will be like once we become a mother; I can guarantee we were all in for the shock of our lives. 

Read more...

SHOULD I BE A LEADER OR A PARTNER WITH MY HORSE?

SHOULD I BE A LEADER OR A PARTNER WITH MY HORSE?
Now that I am aware of my previous training methods' errors, it's becoming a little difficult to balance sometimes knowing what role I should be in. Previously, I was all leader, more so a dictator. What I wanted to happen happened; it didn’t matter much if the horse wanted to or not...Now that I don’t want to be a dictator, I also want to avoid becoming too passive with my horse so he is walking all over me physically, or that I am avoiding every situation that makes him nervous. It is a fine line that seems so complicated at the start. Then I realized... - click to read on. 
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HOW TO BUILD YOUR CONFIDENCE AND QUIET THAT NEGATIVE VOICE

HOW TO BUILD YOUR CONFIDENCE AND QUIET THAT NEGATIVE VOICE

How often do you hear that little voice inside your head natter on and on about how you have no business training your horse. You aren’t good enough; strong enough; knowledgeable enough; big enough, small enough, skilled enough. Hearing this voice, I like to call her Negative Nelly, sucks you down to the endless pit of disbelief, self-doubt, no confidence, anxiety, and even fear. 


In this blog, I want to address what I believe to be the biggest problem we all face that will sabotage your relationship with your horse. Your mind. 

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One thing I wish I had known that would have made healing and finding myself easier.

One thing I wish I had known that would have made healing and finding myself easier.

Have you ever heard something that gave you a bit of a revelation? One of those ah-ha moments where you went, “wow, I wish I figured this years ago!” I had that experience a few days ago. What he shared wasn’t a new thought, but the way he explained it caught my attention. I was driving, so I couldn’t write it down word for word or the gentleman’s name who said it, but here is my version of what he said. 


Our mind doesn’t care about time. All the thoughts and emotions throughout our lives are forever stored in our minds within an eternal filing cabinet. What becomes the challenge is how easily we can access a specific file. Some are filed so long ago and pushed right to the back that we cannot access the memory easily at all. Others are at the forefront, and we can quickly go back to that moment. Some are stored in the pleasant and happy files; others are put in the traumatic and terrible feeling files. 


This idea was a perfect explanation for ingrained, knee-jerk reactions I have. Some responses are pleasant, like rushing to see a loved one for a hug. Others are bad, like jumping to the defence and lashing back verbally if I feel vulnerable or attacked. These are reactions based on specific files created by particular memories and feelings. I might not understand why I am reacting that way because I cannot access that file. I buried it so deep in hopes of losing it, but in reality, that event in time changed me. That file I pushed to the back, hoping it would get lost only becomes ingrained in me; the emotions and feelings associated with it altered my DNA. 


Then I started to think about it like retraining a horse after a traumatic event. The event could be something huge like being in a significant accident or something that we view as minor; however, they perceived a very real scary threat. After a while, the horse might not remember how or why something awful happened. They only remember that when they did something (got in the trailer, got close to that shed, went through that door), that something terrible happened as a result. I think humans have the habit of assuming time should take care of these traumatic/scary events. Feeling that after a set amount of time, the horse should just “be over it by now.” Have you felt this way? In reality, we have to help them retrain their brain to release that bad memory. 


This thought process is no different when it applies to us. We react, think, feel, function and are-who-we-are because of every single thought and emotion stored within us since the beginning of our existence. I find this incredibly empowering! Knowing that I am shaped because of stored memories and emotions means I can change my perception. I’m not at the mercy of it’s-just-who-I-am mindset anymore. I have immense power to heal and evolve my deepest self. 


As much as I wish I knew this years ago, I also recognize we all learn things when we are ready for them. We find people within our lives, hear their stories, see their examples, and we can choose to be curious. We can decide to be vulnerable and open ourselves up just a tiny bit to try a new perspective. Or, we can let our inner child who is scared of change keep us exactly where we are. 


I encourage you to start taking action and empower yourself by acknowledging you can release and heal from the past. Comment “I RECLAIM MY POWER!”


Like what you’ve read? Let’s connect more in my free Facebook community. 


How I Found My Way Through Trauma and Postpartum Depression

How I Found My Way Through Trauma and Postpartum Depression

I was unhappy. I was dealing with postpartum depression, which resonated as anger. I felt lost and confused as an individual, as a mom, and most definitely as a wife. I knew life would be different after having one baby, but being a mom of two was a whole other story. I was exhausted, with uncontrollable hormones, confused, and angry. I knew I had to get ahead of things, or I would sabotage everything near and dear to me. I knew there are adjustments in becoming a mom in my head, but living through them is a whole other story.



My first decision I actively made in trying to feel more, dare I say it, “normal,” was wanting to work with Ace. Big eyes, a wide blaze, beautiful sorrel coat, and he was going to turn my world upside down. Ace was still very green and young. He was a five year old with minimal riding. Between my hard-headed, large ego, stubborn, my-way-or-the-highway attitude and his extreme sensitivity, confusion, and an excellent pinch of spirit, we butted heads. Badly! I knew my skill set was not enough to get him going under saddle again, so while he was away at the trainer’s, I set to work to learn all that I could online. 



It’s funny now, looking back at it; that it took a horse for me to start looking at myself, and I mean really look. Not just give excuses for my temper or my training methods or my stubbornness. I began to see how wounded I actually was. My past was still haunting me, even though previously, I was sure I had “moved on.” But healing from abuse is never that simple. I started to find methods bringing to light areas in my past that made me see the world and myself through stained lenses. I started using essential oils to help with my moods, and I was amazed by how well they helped. Then I learned that certain oils could help release anger easier or help me forgive. I could help bring forward those feelings of being a little child again, worry-free. From then on, I was hooked!



I started researching where to apply the oils to my body. Anger is stored in my liver? Really? Fascinating. The effectiveness was only increasing. Then I experienced my first Aroma Freedom Technique. WOW! I was able to figure out, on my own, without talking to strangers, that some old buried memory of mine from decades ago was the reason I was scared to pursue this career choice. And when I was able to see this memory and pour love into it, the most amazing thing happened. The power of those feelings I had been carrying for decades inside my body -- they lifted like an early morning fog. My mind was clear! I understood that past moment for what it was, and I understood the present. Talk about liberating!



Shortly after my introduction to Aroma Freedom Technique, I heard about this Conscious Language thing. To me, it sounded like affirmations. In a sense, it is, but that is like your pinky finger in relation to your entire body. Learning about shining my light, using my gifts, and sharing with the world was very empowering. Then it went to the next level, realizing and believing that I am living my life as God intended, serving others in this way. That when I am serving and shining my true light as planned, I have immense power in my words and thoughts! 



All of this because of one horse. Because of Ace. Healing myself was what I needed to do for Ace. He needed a leader, not a boss. Once I was able to be that leader, our relationship completely transformed.  



Because of my horse, I released even more trauma, pain, and negative energy to start repairing and rewiring my brain to be a better wife. Because of past sexual abuse, I had walls around my heart so high and wide; they were causing issues in my marriage. I was quick to anger, easily defensive, and would default to distancing myself when I was upset. I wasn’t an equal partner; I held back part of me stuck in the notion I had to keep protecting myself from being hurt. My ego was so scared of completely removing those walls that I only gave small parts of my heart. I then learned that my anger resulted from losing my power, not in the present, but from my past traumas. It was when I learned to send love towards my anger that things started to change. 



It’s amazing what happens when you respond with love. Envision a playground bully, they can either be met with fear, distaste, hate, avoidance, and that bully will stay a bully. However, if someone responded to the bully with love, they will pause, think, and most likely change for the better. (This is not a perfect example, but I hope it has you nodding your head with, “ah, I get it.”) I had to learn to love my inner bully; she was, after all, acting out as her way of protecting ourselves from pain, even if she was wrong.



I can’t help but shake my head with half a smile on my face even as I write this. All of this, everything I’ve learned, everything I’ve experienced, the changes in my life, all thanks to my horse, Ace.



My experience is why I am so passionate about teaching others about these life-changing tools.  Am I all “fixed” now? Do I have everything all figured out? Is my marriage perfect? Am I the constant happy-go-lucky mom? The answer is no. What is extremely empowering is having the tools and skills to work through triggers and moments of not-so-good. No one is perfect. I still struggle, and that’s ok. I get up, and I recommit. And every time I stumble, it becomes easier and easier to get up, dust myself off and go again. The healing process becomes faster and faster, sometimes, mere seconds. For these tools, I will forever be grateful. 



Would you like to learn more about what helped me? I would love to show you more. 

Join my free community, or if you want to receive coaching, I have that available as well.

Empower Yourself, Transform Your Horse, Enlighten Your Life

Until next time,
Leanne



Thanksgiving! It's all about "giving thanks," or is it?

Thanksgiving! It's all about "giving thanks," or is it?

It’s Thanksgiving here in Canada, and one of the most popular traditions is expressing our thanks, or gratitude, for things in life. I think this is a beautiful practice and something that should be done daily. 


This year, however, I am feeling a lot different towards this holiday. While I am genuinely grateful for all of my blessings, I can’t help but focus on the latter half of the word ‘giving.’ Previously, I’ve always heard the phrase, “You know, thanksgiving, it’s about giving thanks!” But what if instead, we just focused on giving. Instead of focusing on our blessings (again, not saying this is wrong or bad), we focus on how we can help others. What can we give to others? How can we bless others? How can we improve someone else’s day, week, or life? 


I honestly believe that giving is one of the purest forms of gratitude. It’s paying it forward. As much as appreciation can change your life, it will most definitely if its something you don’t often implement, giving, I feel, will completely flip your life on its head! In the right way, of course. 


I think that’s why I feel so blessed doing what I do. I give a lot of myself to help others, and it feels incredible! Not only am I helping change other people’s lives, but I’m also drastically improving my own as a result. I am excited to pour my heart and soul into my business every single day because I have seen the effects of helping others. It has been the biggest blessing, embracing the calling to serve. 


I feel the same way regarding how I interact with Ace. Our best rides, the purest moments, have all occurred after giving him something that touches his own heart. For Ace, it is merely taking time with him just to be, or giving him a perfect belly scratch. Meditating with him, being present, focused, in tune, it connects us. I’m wholeheartedly giving him a piece of my heart when I do any of these things, sincerely hoping to improve his day. And like all things, when I give, he gives! I don’t sit back and wait for him to provide me with all his effort only to reciprocate afterwards. As humans, if we want to have a pure, deeply connected partnership, I think we should all be more focused on how we can make our equine partner’s life better. I’m not talking about spoiling them but helping them learn how to handle their own emotions. Teach them how to regulate their nervous system. Pay attention to their worry cup, and empty it continuously. Work on your emotions and mental state to be healthy, strong, and a viable leader for your horse. When you start giving, I promise you that your life will indeed flip upside down in an epic way. 


Thanksgiving. Thankfully Giving. What are you going to give today? 

Drop a comment below, I'd love to hear!


 
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