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#16 Stop Being Disconnected with Your Horse and Yourself with Nikki Porter

Nikki Porter is an Equestrian Mindset Coach, author, and podcast host. Through her books, podcast, and coaching, Nikki teaches how to grow your mindset to transform you from feeling disconnected, frustrated, and anxious to connected, present, & confident.

Nikki’s work is focused on personal growth for horse owners who are invested in strengthening their connection with themselves, their equine partners, and everyone else they communicate with.

In this episode, Nikki discusses things like making difficult choices, the benefits of meditation and how to get started, knowing your truth and living it authentically, why working on yourself is critical for a true partnership with your horse, and so much more.

Podcast Transcript

This transcript was created by an AI and has not been proofread.

This transcript was created by AI and has not been proofread

[SPEAKER 1]Welcome to the Equestrian Connection podcast from wehorse, the online riding academy. My name is Danielle Kroll, and I’m your host. On this week’s episode, we’re talking with Nikki Porter, an equestrian mindset coach, author, and podcast host. Through her books, podcast, and coaching, Nikki teaches how to grow your mindset to transform you from feeling disconnected, frustrated, and anxious, to connected, present, and confident. In this interview, Nikki and I discuss things like making difficult choices, the benefits of meditation and how to get started, knowing your truth and living it authentically, why working on yourself is critical for a true partnership with your horse, and so much more. I absolutely loved this discussion, and this is an episode you won’t want to miss. So let’s dive in. Hi, Nikki. How are you? Hi. Good. Thank you. Good. So for those listening, this is a really interesting podcast episode for me because I actually know Nikki through past experiences, the local horse world and mutual friends. So this is a really fun podcast episode for me because I’m excited to introduce you to the person that I’ve gotten to know, that I look to for inspiration, and I hope everybody else feels the same way. So Nikki, let’s go back to the beginning. How did you get into horses and what were your first few years like as an equestrian?

[SPEAKER 2]Uh, first I just want to say, I completely agree. This feels like a very like special kind of situation where we know each other. And it’s funny because I’m like more nervous than normal because I don’t know, because you know me so well, maybe not so well, but know me. Uh, so I really appreciate having me having me on. So thank you. How did I get into horses?

[SPEAKER 1]Well,

[SPEAKER 2]My horse career really started out very innocently, the same way as a lot of young equestrians do. And my dad simply said, I think we should get the girls a pony. And so, of course, my very wise grandfather then told him like, it really doesn’t just end at a pony, just a heads up. And he really knew that horses were in our blood. He was a jockey in the past. My mom had had horses until she was about 13 when they were in, I believe they were in England at that time, not Scotland.


[SPEAKER 2]Then he knew they were in our blood so there was just no turning back. Once the pony came into our lives he was like, this is where it’s going to be. And of course, as soon as that happened, it wasn’t very long. And my sister and I were two and a half years apart, identified as horse people. And our first pony turned into more ponies and then Pony Club and competing. And I started out writing English and then became heavily involved in things like Pony Club from lessons and camps and rallies and quizzes. And then I became competitive in the hunter world and had a really incredible experience of competing my large pony at the Royal Winter Fair when I was 14. So that was really like the introduction to me becoming an equestrian.

[SPEAKER 1]It’s so funny with your grandfather, whenever anybody asked me like, Oh, you know, I’m maybe considering getting my kid a horse or putting them in lessons. I always say like, The purchase of the horse is the cheapest part.

[SPEAKER 2]Absolutely.

[SPEAKER 1]Be prepared for what you’re about to do.

[SPEAKER 2]Yeah, it’s a it’s a lifelong commitment. Most of the time. I mean, sometimes it’s not, but it’s funny. We have a gentleman at the barn that he he looked at me the other day and he said, oh, I’m going to buy Bianca her own helmet. We just wanted to wait and see if she was really going to stick it out as his like five year old was loping on this little horse. And I was like, oh, yeah, he’s done for.

[SPEAKER 1]Absolutely. Get the helmet.

[SPEAKER 2]It’s just the start.

[SPEAKER 1]So you were very involved in the Hunter world. Like you said, you went to the Royal Winter Fair, which for Canadians, especially like Atlantic Canadians here, it’s like the creme de la creme. Like that’s, you’ve really done well to get to the Royal.

[SPEAKER 2]I say that’s where I peaked.

[SPEAKER 1]Yeah. And so for those who don’t know, Nikki now is a Rainer. Do you wish you could have a better partnership with your horse but aren’t sure where to start? Do you want to advance your riding or horsemanship but don’t have access to the ideal resources in your area? Does the idea of learning about horse training whenever and wherever and at a price that won’t break your horse bank sound appealing to you? Check out to access over 175 online courses with top trainers from around the world. We have courses on everything from dressage, to groundwork, to show jumping, to bodywork, and as a member you get access to everything in our WeHorse library to watch whenever you want. Oh, and we also have an app which means you can download a course or video to watch without Wi-Fi, which is perfect for those days at the prarium when you want a quick dose of training inspiration before your ride. So what are you waiting for? Go to and check out our free seven day trial to access our WeHorse library and see if it’s a good fit for you. We can’t wait to see you in there. And now back to the episode. How did that transition happen? Was there like a bit of a change for you, for those around you? Switching disciplines can be hard, especially English to Western. It’s not just like dressage to show jumping or something like that. It’s a pretty big change.

[SPEAKER 2]Uh, it is a big change and it really happened because of a life change. So I had, uh, finished university and I had, uh, left a long-term relationship that I was in and I met my now husband and he was, uh, maybe more invested in the daily grind of horses than I even was. He didn’t start riding until he was 25, but he is the type of person that does something like 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year when he’s invested in it. So when we became involved, it just, I was coming up here and he had horses and I didn’t have my own at the time because I sold my horse to go to university. And so I started riding Western. and he was an open rider in cattle penning. Sorting hadn’t started at that point, but he’s there now. It was a really fun change. It was a completely different um type of competition. I no longer had to stress about the pretty side of things and I got to experience the adrenaline part of horses which I’m not an adrenaline junkie. My sister was an eventer. I was a hunter girl because I really didn’t enjoy that the speed and and all of that sort of thing um but this was a different type of speed. It was speed that was dictated by the game and by the situation and I really, um, I got quite involved in it and did quite well and really enjoyed it and had cow horses. And then one day I went to a clinic where there was a girl from Newfoundland there with her reiner. And I was, I can like, I actually had this conversation with her this weekend and said, I just, just so you know, you’re like, this horse is the reason I’m here. So I was sitting there in the audience and watching her do sliding stops and I was like, that looks so fun. Like that just looks like an absolute blast. And from there, I signed up for my first reigning clinic and I just took my little cow horse with me. And I have a distinct memory in that clinic where I was running a fast circle with her and things felt like they just like clicked and felt really good. And I was like, this feels phenomenal. It was the most fun I’d had riding in a long time. And then I started really looking into the discipline and thought, oh my gosh, like it’s a really good, um, blend of what I used to do, which was, you know, a really nice, pretty package where I was worrying or not worrying, but very conscious of my riding and my equitation and how my horse was going.

[SPEAKER 1]And then, um,

[SPEAKER 2]I also really enjoyed, started to get to do, to enjoy the speed. And I really enjoyed Western tech and the, and the horsemanship that I was learning along with being in the Western discipline. Um, although I know it’s transitioning beautifully into the English world more and more now. Um, so I feel like. When I made the switch, I went, I took my mare to, um, to a rating show. And right after that show, I said, okay, I’m going to sell my cow horse and get a Rainer. I’ve now had him for three years.

[SPEAKER 1]Awesome. I love that. Speaking of horsemanship, you and your husband teach trail clinics. It looks so fun. I keep saying I’ve got to do one of your clinics one of these times. and correct me if I’m wrong, like you set up all these obstacles in an arena or a ring and there’s like bridges and gates to go through and all these different things and basically you either ride or lead your horse through these different obstacles and I’m sure a lot of different stuff comes up during those and also horsemanship clinics as well. So it’s like a blend of trail and horsemanship and I feel like the two go hand in hand really well. So I’m sure a lot comes up in those clinics with the horses and with the clinic participants. What have you learned through teaching trail and horsemanship? That’s a loaded question. That’s a lot.

[SPEAKER 2]It’s really, it really is. But at the same time, it is a great question. So we always say that we learn more. We feel like we learn more from our horses and our participants in our clinics than they do from us. We’re hoping obviously that that’s not actually the case. But when we go into these clinics, it’s incredible what we learn about not just the horses and horsemanship and working with horses, but just people in general. And we used to think it was all about the obstacles. So when we started, we would take all these obstacles and put them into the arena and be like, this is what it’s all about, is teaching our horse to go through the obstacles. And then we started discovering that it really has nothing to do with the obstacles and it has everything to do with the communication and the clarity in the communication. And so my husband this just this past year decided he wanted to call the clinic mind over obstacle. So we start with groundwork and then we do things in hand and then we ride over them. And some people choose not even to end up riding because they’re just enjoying spending that time on the ground that they don’t typically. They don’t typically get to do with their horses and we encourage people to watch for their horses thinking so that you start to appreciate the mind of the horse and recognizing where the mind of the horse is and how you influence the horse’s mind. to be where you are, where you want it to be so that you can be successful. Because we know when, you know, we’re in a ring and a horse, their mind is at the burn or their mind is out in the pasture with someone else and they’re not with you mentally, physically, things can be a challenge. And it’s very obvious when you put them on or over or through all these different types of obstacles. And the different obstacles bring out the desire to be somewhere else. So you can start to learn how to re-engage with that horse. and have them come back to you mentally. So that’s really what the clinics have been all about. But I think the biggest lesson that I’ve learned is that horses, first of all, are absolutely brilliant and we are always communicating our ability to lead them. So our horses, they don’t need us to be perfect leaders, but they do need us to be aware leaders. So something that I talk about often is that there’s a saying by Ray Hunt that gets thrown around on a pretty regular basis. And I’m sure you’ve heard it where it says a horse knows when you know and knows when you don’t.

[SPEAKER 1]Right.

[SPEAKER 2]So most often people interpret that as a horse knows when you know what you’re doing or you don’t know what you’re doing when it comes to horses. And it’s really not that at all. And I think that the clinics really expose that the horse knows when you’re aware enough to keep them safe so that they can remain at ease with you. whether that means you’re doing things with them or not. It might be that you’re just at ease, just sitting, standing in the arena, listening to people talk, or just taking a break, or whether you’re asking them to do something. So my mentor, teacher, and friend Beth Anstendig of the Circle Up Experience taught me something that honestly I believe it’s the key to leadership with our horses. And that’s the four awareness channels. So our horses really do expect us to be able to tune into all of these channels as a leader. And the channels, what they do is they offer us an answer to this like umbrella question. And the umbrella question is what is happening right now? So the channels are what is happening with me? what is happening with you, what is happening between us, relationally, what is happening around us, so in our environment. And so what I’ve learned from our clinic participants is that they want to feel connected to their horses, but above all, they want to feel safe. And it’s the same thing with our horses. And when we can open up that awareness and be able to ask ourselves the question of what is happening right now, that’s when we’re able to not only offer that to our horse, but we can actually feel that as well.

[SPEAKER 1]That’s so interesting. And it’s really a practice of being present.

[SPEAKER 2]Oh, absolutely.

[SPEAKER 1]So we’re going to eventually get to a question. I may just jump ahead to it, actually. that you offer online meditations on your website, which are specifically designed for equestrians. And I feel like the meditations are almost a very big stepping stone to get, it’s like you got to do the work on you first before you bring it to the horse. Like don’t bring your stuff to the horse, like do your work at home first. How important do you think it is that horse people have control over their thoughts and practice being present with themselves and being present with their horses? And then what changes have you noticed in your own life from these practices?

[SPEAKER 2]I, I love this question and I find it’s coming at a really interesting point in my, in my career, in my life, in my horsemanship, all of the things. So it kind of like rounds things out. I believe that it’s important enough that I actually chose to not do my master’s, which I have had the plan to for since I started my education degree, I was like, okay, I’m gonna do my master’s in five years as soon as I finished. And then I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to do my master’s in education. So then this year I decided, okay, I’m gonna go and do that. And I changed my mind about, I’d say two months ago, and I just signed up for a two-year meditation teaching course.

[SPEAKER 1]Wow, good for you. That’s amazing.

[SPEAKER 2]That’s how important I believe it is.

[SPEAKER 1]Yeah. Wow.

[SPEAKER 2]So, you know, I personally think it’s one of the most important skills that everyone can develop is the ability to recognize our thoughts and understand that our thoughts create our feelings and that they aren’t all true and that they don’t have to control the situation that we’re in. They don’t have to control how we are in our body. you know, when we get lost or stuck in thought, which a lot of us do, and I find this when people are working with their horses, that, you know, they get caught up in, well, this person told me I need to do this, or this person told me I need to do that, or this person told me I should never do this or that. And they’re so caught up in their thinking brain, that they’re actually not able to drop into their body to feel what is needed in the moment.


[SPEAKER 2]When we get stuck there, then we lose our ability to lead with awareness when we’re stuck in our mind versus being able to really open up to the whole situation with our horses. So awareness calls for us to tune in and be mindful in our body. in our mind and the environment around us. So when we can drop out of our mind and into our body, that’s when we develop and enhance our feel, which when you talk about feel with horse people, there’s like this great debate of like, can feel be taught? Can we teach someone to have or develop feel with a horse? And I believe that feel is not just inclusive to the horse world. Feel is literally everywhere in the world. And you develop feel when you’re able to drop from your mind, your thinking brain, and into your body in whatever your doing or experiencing. So when you’re seeing someone with really good feel with a horse, you’re watching someone who trusts that they understand the situation and they understand what is needed to be able to communicate clearly, that they’re They’re able to set their pace based on what is needed. So they’re not moving too quickly. They’re not moving too slowly. They can feel what is needed within the relationship in order for that communication to remain clear. Does that make sense?

[SPEAKER 1]Absolutely and it i think it really ties in well to the idea of like our society in our culture right now that is so fast moving like we got to check this box check the you know then go on this thing one of this thing one of this we gotta do this we gonna do this at the same time and gosh don’t don’t slow down because you might fall behind like it’s just going and going and going and i know for myself i get caught up in it And I’ve had this interesting situation where so many people in my life lately, people that know me and people that don’t know me have said, you need to slow down. And I’ve been like throughout the summer working with my horses, I started hitting these roadblocks. And I felt like my horses were saying to me, this is going to be so woo woo for some people, but I feel like our audience is going to be like, yeah, I get that. I felt like my horses were saying to me, you need to slow down. Absolutely. You need to allow us to slow down and. It all comes back to the idea that if we keep going in this fast pace, we get out of our bodies, we get stuck in our minds, we lose the present moment, and we really can’t get back to our truth or the truth of the moment until we, you know, get out of our heads. Yeah.

[SPEAKER 2]And it’s interesting because I love the example of your horses being the ones to be like, K clearly we’re telling you that that we all need to slow down and I think that scares people slowing down scares people because whether it means they’re going to be left behind, especially with people with horses and we have this strange idea. It’s not really strange, but I it’s it’s come comes from a very valid place, but that we need to be at a certain place at a certain age with our horses and there’s all this pressure. But what we need to recognize is that when we actually slow down, that is when we find the place of ease. And when we figure out what ease feels like, we can speed back up. And you can do things more efficiently, more effective and at a faster pace and still remain at ease. But if you don’t learn how to become relaxed and feel that sense of ease in your body at a slow pace, then when you’re at a fast pace, everything’s going to feel tight. And so it’s very similar to like if we think of a young horse. OK, so we’re working with a young horse and all we’ve done is look for them to just do the things quickly, do the thing. I told you to do the thing. And what you create is a horse that can go quickly, but they’re tense versus. Oh, and another way that we can look at that is like we’re skipping those times of like soaking in the information. So we’re actually going from like task to task to task and never allowing that horse to really sit, come back down into rest and relaxation, soak on the information, and then move on to the next thing. So you create a horse that has a lot of anticipation, a lot of tension, and they don’t know how to relax. When you then ask them to go forward, things are very bracy and fast. Versus when I look at learning about the reigning horse and what I’m looking for my horse to do, and I start to ask for more speed and I need them to be relaxed in order to do the thing at the same time. It’s such an interesting dynamic where you’re saying, okay, I need to teach them this concept first so that they can then do something more challenging and still understand how to be. I don’t know how to explain that. Does that make sense?

[SPEAKER 1]Absolutely. It’s like you can’t go fast well until you learn how to relax in each of the speeds.

[SPEAKER 2]Yeah, you can’t go fast well until you know how to slow down.

[SPEAKER 1]Yeah. Well, and it’s like tying in the idea that I just keep, you know, you see these signs, everybody, like if you want to buy a certain car and suddenly you’re like, there’s that car, there’s another car. And like, you see the car constantly. Um, So I’m scrolling on Instagram the other day and I come across this post and it says, if you want to go faster, slow down. And I was like, there’s my site. You know, like how many more times can I see this? Can I hear this? Can I feel this? Until I start to say it’s time to slow down. Okay.

[SPEAKER 2]So the interesting thing about pace is that when you actively work to slow down, something cool happens. You actually become too slow. So you kind of like I look at it like um this is a pendulum that you drop the little thing so a pendulum where you’re too fast here so then you let it go and now you’re too slow and you’re gonna eventually find that medium ground. Oftentimes when I’m working with people who are really naturally fast because not only have they do they have like either a lot of energy or that feels really good for them to be efficient and move efficiently through life. So they’re a little faster paced. When I get them to slow down, they actually slow way down and they need to kind of catch back up to their horse. So because we’re kind of dropping from one extreme to the other, it takes time to really find that medium ground of what we’re looking for that actually creates flow in life versus like, um a disruption so you know one one tip that I would have is if you naturally know that you’re going through life too quickly you need to begin to consciously slow down in really small and just meaningless daily tasks so like you zip up your jacket slower you pick up your coffee off the table slower. You put your hand on the doorknob and you turn it slower. You consciously, physically slow yourself down so that you begin to feel your way through life a little bit more. Then you’re going to feel it translate to you pick your lead rope up a little slower. You’re going to pick your rein up a little slower. And then in those moments where you pick them up slower, you’re going to notice something. You’re going to notice that your horse went tuned into you. And they have a moment, there’s a pause there that you’re giving them an opportunity to tune into you sooner. And then you get to work with them with less pressure. And it’s, it’s pretty cool.

[SPEAKER 1]I love that. Apart from like, the hustle culture, and the need to get further along faster. Is there any other things you see a lot of riders that are or just equestrians facing with their horses and the issues that they’re running into with their horses?

[SPEAKER 2]Yeah, I would say the most common challenge that I see with equestrians really is that balance between like knowing themselves and knowing about horses. So when we become invested in being a horse person, we put, I want to say, 100% of our focus and our energy on learning about the horses. So like, how do we care for them? How do we ride them? How do we connect with them? How do we do these things for horses and with horses? And then in the process, we disrupt the balance that actually creates who we are as an overall equestrian. So they lose balance between the fact that there’s the understanding of self, there’s the understanding of the horse, and when those two overlap, that is where in the middle is where the equestrian is. So in order for us to know how to teach our horses the things we want them to learn, oftentimes it’s things that we can do ourselves. or that we should be able to do ourselves, but we actually struggle with. So what I see is people who have labeled themselves, created stories around themselves, versus looking at what’s happening in their life as an opportunity to learn more about themselves. them as a person and as a whole and how they can navigate life on a more conscious level and then learn separately about the horse and then come together. It’s not a, I’m a horse person, I need to know everything about horses and I just happen to be, I kind of like picture it like you just happen to be a person that gets plopped onto a horse and then all of a sudden you’re a horse person. But there’s, we bring so much to our horses So if we’re only bringing this level of self-awareness that is very much, eh, I am who I am, I’ll be who I will be, but then we’re going to work with our horses and we’re looking to teach them something, We’re looking to influence their behaviors. We’re looking for them to learn things and show progress, visible progress. It’s interesting to me when people want that out of their horse, but then they just label themselves as, eh, I am who I am. This is just what I am. And they don’t see the need to work on those very things themselves.

[SPEAKER 1]So interesting. So for those that don’t know, Nikki used to be a schoolteacher. And I highly recommend getting her book, The Conscious Communicator. And I don’t actually have it on my office bookshelf. I have a bookshelf out in my living room, and it displays a bunch of pretty things. And your book’s right there. So you went from schoolteacher into self-development and then helping others do the same. How did you decide to combine horsemanship and personal growth and talk to us about that journey?

[SPEAKER 2]Well, it’s interesting because I feel like the reason that I started all of the personal growth development stuff was because I felt like something was broken in me, something needed to be fixed. And that’s a really interesting place to be, where you say, I need someone, something outside of me to fix me. And then I started at the same time as I’m going through this, I’m teaching levels of typically like grade nine to grade 12. But for about five years there, I was teaching grade 10 drama, and grade 11 English, which were my absolute favorites.

[SPEAKER 1]And so

[SPEAKER 2]When I looked at it, I was seeing struggles with my students that were showing up that I wasn’t able to help them with. Okay, so I wanted deeply to be able to help them succeed and understand who they are as a person in order to succeed. So, you know, I feel like when I decided that I was going to take a pretty honest look at my life and I started to delve very deeply into the personal growth world. So I took all the courses. I read the books. I did the meditations. I listened to the podcast. I was doing all those things. There was a time before that, and actually a time probably two years ago, where I had it in my head that I was going to have to go and seek a prescription or a diagnosis of some sort to try to fix me because it just seemed like something was so off. Now, I should say, and I’m going to say, is that if there is anyone listening and you feel like this relates to you. This is not me saying do not go to a physician. I am a strong believer that if we have struggles we need to find a professional to help us. What I discovered is that it wasn’t that I was broken, it was that I had hard choices that I needed to make in my life that I was avoiding and that were building pressure inside of me. And so when I was able to take an honest look, then and it took a long time, this was not over, you know, a two week period, when I was able to take an honest look, I was starting to be able to see where I could take some pressure off. And I could start to see where I was out of flow with my life. So looking for where places of resistance Where were places of pressure and how could I actually use those things to inform me about what was better suited? So I started doing all of this stuff with myself, started making some really hard choices and decided to leave my teaching career. And in the process, I was seeing at the same time people coming into my clinics and having these struggles that I had worked my way through for quite some time. And I was watching their horses be literally their perfect feedback partner.


[SPEAKER 2]It was at first me saying, how can I teach this to my kids? How can I help my students? Recognizing that I didn’t have the environment to do so. I didn’t have the platform to do so. And then seeing that, okay, this is something that I understand. The horses is something that I’m super passionate about and well invested into. And now I can take these both these worlds and, and try to make an impact that way versus trying to, you know, stay in the school system and, and force this, you know, idea upon upon the education system. And I just didn’t feel like it was the right place or the right time. So I feel like the result of making the big choices in my life and the result of that was just beginning to find. That flow, I’m going to talk about flow for a second, if you don’t mind, because I think absolutely. I had a visual, this was probably six years ago now, I had a visual that was one of the best visuals to actually help me begin to recognize what was for me versus what wasn’t for me.

[SPEAKER 1]I love it, let’s dive into this.

[SPEAKER 2]Okay, so picturing a river, And you know when you’re, you know, you’re not unhappy, but you feel like you’re struggling. Like you’re just, things aren’t working well for you. You’re like, I’m doing this, I’m doing this. And you’re just kind of like running against life. So the way I pictured it, and I feel like I was reading a book one day and this visual must have been in it or something, but all I remember now is like connecting to it and be like, yes, this is it. So, picturing this river, and when I was in the midst of all this, I know I was swimming upriver at this point, and I was going and trying really hard, and I felt like I was getting nowhere. And what I needed to do is learn how to just change my direction so that I was going with the flow of the river. And when you’re going with the flow of the river, you are going at a faster pace in a direction with less effort and it feels really good. So now what I do is if I recognize that I’m feeling like I’m really struggling, I ask myself, what direction am I in? Is this a redirection? Is this me saying the river is no longer flowing this way? I need to redirect myself so that it feels like it’s less of a struggle. it, I use it as a redirection to feel whether I’m going in the right direction or making the right choices or not. Does that, I don’t even know if that, I like that.

[SPEAKER 1]I really, really like that. I, I think that’s a really good visual for, I know for me and I think for a lot of people, um, we kind of need a visual. Um, you know, sometimes it’s hard to just be in your head, like we had discussed, be in your head all the time about things. And if you’re trying to think your way through things, sometimes you’re just doing spirals or you’re going in different directions. You’re not listening to yourself. You’re listening to other people. And I think that’s a really good tool. Um, I’m, I’m going to use that.

[SPEAKER 2]It really comes and when we talk about feel, Danielle, it’s the same sort of idea is like trusting that feel in your body, trusting that feel of like struggling. And instead of saying, I’m a really crappy swimmer. And I, you know, I shouldn’t be in the river at all. go, maybe I’m just not willing to accept the fact I need to turn around and I need to change the direction in order to be a better swimmer or to be able to float, keep my head above water, right?

[SPEAKER 1]Yeah, yeah. And it goes back to the quote of like, energy flows where intention goes or something like that. And so it’s almost like if you’re Going in you got to go with the energy and so if the energy is going in this direction and you’re trying to fight against it like it’s I think people that You know if you do anything around like manifestation or energy work or Intention or meditation or anything like that? I think that that’s a it’s it’s a really good Visual for that if you look at it as like an energetic river Yeah so Why do you think that we’re having all of these issues? You had mentioned that, you know, you saw it coming up in your clinics a lot. Why do you think that so many of us are having these mindset related struggles?

[SPEAKER 2]Okay, so this is interesting to me. And you actually had another question for me, and I’m going to connect it to that question. Because when I look at it, I look at it as a lot of resistance to the way that life truly is. And so you asked me a question around my horse. I had an experience with my horse last winter. And a lot of the time, what happens for the majority of us is we get stuck in resistance of what is versus being able to accept what is and to be able to let go of what the expectation was and to be able to just go with what is actually happening with reality. We spend a lot of time in our minds resisting what we know to be true and trying to force either a different outcome or ruminating on it because we can’t let go of what we expected it to be or what we think it should be.


[SPEAKER 2]You know, I think if we look at resistance, and this is my favorite part of my work, is that whatever we’re speaking about when it comes to personal growth, we can relate it back to a concept with our horses. When we’re working with our horses, we are constantly looking for those places of resistance. and we’re looking to be able to pick up with a soft feel in those places of resistance and work through the resistance and find the softness on their end and release there, right? So we’re looking for where our horse is mentally and physically. We know that when our horse is soft and we know that when our horse is connected with us, there’s very little resistance. They’re like, yeah, I’m going with you. Even if you think about it like, Um, not, I don’t want to picture it as a liberty circle. I want like a nice soft line between me and my horse. So maybe picture like a feather line on a horse when there’s no resistance. It looks like that person in that horse are thinking the same thoughts, right? So the horse is supple and soft and they’re moving mentally and physically with that person. We as people are going through life on a regular basis as the horse who’s braced with its body tight against that line, looking to the outside of the circle and saying, no, I don’t want to be here. No, I don’t want to be doing this right now. So versus actually interacting and softening to reality, we’re tight and resisting and pushing against it. Do you mind if I use my example from Florida?

[SPEAKER 1]Absolutely.

[SPEAKER 2]Okay. So we had this brilliant idea to pack our horses up for the month of March. And I had these

[SPEAKER 1]goals.

<p>[SPEAKER 2]So, you know, COVID had taken away our opportunity to show. So I had bought Ford in 2019, the end of or mid-summer 2019. So I think I got one show in on him and then the world shut down. And then we were like, okay, we’re allowed to travel again. Let’s go to Florida. And I don’t think I had been in the show pen. I don’t think that’s a miss, a misspeak, miss whatever. I don’t think I don’t think that that I’m wrong in remembering it this way. Maybe I am, but I believe when we went to Florida, it was going to be my first time back in the show pen with him since having like bottom and then the and then COVID shut us down.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]So.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]we get there and everything’s a learning curve, right? So we get there and very quickly realized that like he needs to be body clipped immediately. So he was not handling the heat very well.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]And just also for those listening, this was winter of 2021. So this was like a full like it wasn’t winter 2020. It wasn’t like, you know, however many months later, this was like a full year and a half.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]Um, this was actually, this was winter 2022. This was just this past March.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]Right. Yes. Yeah. You’re right. Okay. I’m, I’m, I got my ears all messed up.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]I blame COVID. I don’t even, some days I’m like still like, it’s COVID’s fault.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]I have no idea what day it is. What year? What day? Yeah. Yeah.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]So it was just this past March.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]Yeah.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]So we get there and, you know, I really did, we had all these plans we were going to show and we were going to, um, you know, go to these other practice nights and to, you know, we just, we just wanted to take all the lessons and do all the horse things. Cause it was hot there and it is cold here. So we were going to take advantage. And so we get there and I realized, okay, well he needs to be body clipped. And the struggle was that I couldn’t get him to dry off. So I couldn’t bath him and have him dry off because he was sweaty all of the time. So I just said, you know, whatever, that’s fine. I’m just going to clip him like he just needs to be clipped. It was a long process. Uh, he was wonderful about it and very patient and I, you know, drank wine and clipped him and, and, you know, made the best of it. And, uh, and then. I decided I was going to get ready for our first show. And so we were there, I think for like a week at this point, and we had a beautiful outdoor ring with lights and everything at the place that we were staying at. So it was, it was just lovely. So we’re out there and I was riding. And I think it was about two days after I had clipped him and I asked him for a lead change and he swished his tail. And I was like, okay, that’s not a regular response. And then I asked for something else and there was a little bit of resistance there and that isn’t normally there. And I was like, okay, that’s interesting. And then, uh, had probably two more rides on him. Went to the horse show. Also, he was allergic to life in Florida, I should say. So his eyes were runny and he just like overall just didn’t feel very well. So because I had it in my head that we were going to this show, no big deal. We went to the show and I just started looking at him a little closer and saying something’s not quite right. I was out in the warmup pen, asked for a lead change. He swished his tail again. I was like, okay. So I went in for my first class, asked him to stop in the center of the pen, and he threw his head in the air. And I said, he’s telling me clearly there’s something going on. So I just cruised my pattern nice and soft, and I scratched the rest of the show and had a vet out. I think it was that was Saturday. I had the vet out by Monday, and he said, your horse has an extremely sore back. And just in like casual conversation, uh somebody said oh do you think i should like my horse is a little tender in the back do you think i should put on like a liniment to help him and he was like yeah that’s a great idea not not even thinking i put liniment on my freshly clipped horse’s back and it burnt him And so now I’m in Florida with a horse that has allergies, a sore back, an action that I did that caused more irritation in his back. So now I’m bathing him on a daily basis, putting bum cream all over his back. And I had a moment and it was brief of where my frustration kind of got the best of me. And I was a little snappy with my husband and he was like, Whoa, what is going on? And I was like, this is just, everything is the opposite of what I wanted it to be. And I was resisting reality. I had these expectations. I was going to be in Florida and I was going to be showing, and I was going to be taking these lessons and life had a different plan. And I learned really important lessons while I was there. They just happened to be out of the tack. So had I completely resisted reality and just been resentful for what happened, I probably would be telling you that my trip to Florida was miserable and awful and that I will never do it again. It would have impacted my future choices. Instead, because I can accept the fact that it’s this is what happened. It is what it is. And I learned these lessons to be able to care for my horse better. And I listened to my horse. He told me very clearly that I needed to be able to help him in a different way. And and I was able to do that. So instead of leaving feeling frustrated, I left feeling pretty proud that you know, no, it didn’t, it didn’t work out the way that I wanted, but at the same time, I’m going to go into our trip this year, feeling more informed. We’re going to clip three weeks before we go to Florida this year. Um, and recognizing that, you know, what we want when we’re miserable, it’s often it’s, it’s the resistance more so than the actual situation.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]Hmm. I think that’s a really good example of like changing the script or flipping the script. And I think that’s something that a lot of us deal with is, is we, we don’t, right. So we get, um, stuck in this replay of. I did this wrong. Um, I missed that, you know, I made this mistake. I, whatever it could be, there’s so many different versions of what can go on in our heads. And. Um, the importance of being able to, again, it, it all goes back to the idea of being present, right? Like to recognize the words that you’re saying and stopping those words. And then like you, you had done is flipping the script and saying, okay, this happened. So now I deal with it versus I can’t believe this happened.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]Why is this happening to me?</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]Yeah, exactly. And so I, this is, I’m just kind of putting you on the spot a little bit here. If somebody realizes through this conversation, this is resonating with me, I do these things, I recognize these things in my horse or in myself, and I don’t meditate, I don’t have any sort of a personal practice, what would you recommend people do to get started? easy little things that aren’t because I mean there’s nothing worse than getting thrown off the deep end and being like well you have to wake up in the morning and you have to scrape your tongue and you have to like sit down for 20 minutes in complete silence and like all these different things. It’s true.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]It’s very much like I think it’s very much like when I decided that I was going to be in the best shape of my life to get married. And I looked at the whole picture and was like, this is going to be exhausting. Like, how, how am I going to do this? I did it, but I was unable to maintain after the end goal. So what I’m going to suggest is very much like what you just said in the sense that like, what are things that we can do that are small that lead us up to, you know, making this a lifetime practice so that you can start to actually see long-term effects versus, you know, like get up and meditate for 20 minutes and really go into it full force. It’s, you can look at this, the, this mindfulness practice, you might want to call it, or, um, the practice of becoming more present, or aware, you can look at it kind of like breaking a horse, where you slow is fast, where you have to understand that you’re building a solid foundation, so that you can go back to that foundation, if something feels like it’s not working.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]So</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]My advice would be to take the time to check in with yourself the same amount of time, priority and care that you take to check in with your horse each day. So make yourself as much of a priority as you do the ones you love and the ones you care for. Because if I said to someone, I need you to journal for five, ten minutes a day and I need you to meditate for five minutes a day, majority of the time they would feel like that’s something they can’t fit in. But if I said your horse needs to be cold hosed for 10 minutes a day and they need to be hand grazed for 20 minutes a day, they would make the time to go and do that, right?</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]So</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]In that process of checking in with yourself, notice your thoughts, notice your feelings, and notice your energy. So you’re simply just shifting and becoming aware of your resistance and your pressure and what those two things feel like in your body. You’re not doing anything about it. You’re not saying, I’m going to make these great changes. You’re actually just taking the time to feel where they are. Like if If my husband asks me to do something and I feel like a bit of a grit in me, that resistance, I notice it. I don’t go and try to dissect it in the moment. And I might not even try to change my behavior in the moment unless I’ve really figured out what it’s about. But notice those times of resistance for yourself. Somebody says to you, okay, it’s time to go ride. And you have a moment of like, do I have time? Should I do that? Looking at your watch being like, I don’t have time to ride today. But we can also look at like, sometimes resistance looks a little like avoidance. So where are those places in your life? And why are they happening? What does pressure feel like for you? You know, a lot of people, majority of people are running around on a daily basis. living with a pressure level of around seven to 10, which is huge, right? 10 is where we’re like numbing or we’re imploding or exploding. Like, you know, things are really tense. They’re at their peak amount of pain at 10. And a lot of people are in that range of seven to 10. And because we are used to that, we’ve been told to live in that sort of way. we’ve been told to ignore the signs in our body, it actually feels less natural for us to begin to learn or figure out what pressure feels like sooner. So it was interesting, I was working with a girl in one of our last, I shouldn’t say a girl, it was a woman, in one of our last clinics. And she was working with a really sensitive little feely reactive pony, super, super sweet. but the pony had been through some trauma. And so she was trying to re-teach this horse how to be with people. And so she was doing an exercise where she was standing with her back against the wall and she was moving her horse over and just like placing them somewhere in front of them, very specific location, okay? And every time she went to move the horse’s shoulders, the first thing she did is touch the horse with the whip. And I said, I want you to touch the air far before, I don’t want you to even feel like you have to touch the horse, influence the air around the horse before you go to touch the horse. And it gave the opportunity for the horse to move away. So she was able to recognize there’s a smaller amount of pressure that she can use to influence movement. And there is always a shift for us in pressure, a small amount of shift in the system that creates a building pressure in us. And the sooner we can feel that, the sooner we can attend to it. And the less likely we’re gonna live in this place where we feel like we’re having to numb, using our phones, going to social media and just scrolling because we don’t actually want to face what’s ahead of us or feel like, Here’s another example, feel like we’re going home after a long day to our kids and our kids or our dogs or our horses have a need that triggers us versus has us help them in a kind, soft, compassionate way. and then us feeling guilty for it. So because we don’t attend to our pressure until that point, it’s not that their need is totally, you know, unnecessary on their behalf. It’s not that their needs are burdensome. It’s simply that it’s just stacked on top of all of this other pressure that we haven’t learned how to release or haven’t recognized is there in the first place. So the first task really is just to open your mind to notice these things. Who are you being? How are you feeling? What are you thinking? And why are you resisting?</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]That’s good. I think that’s a nice introductory way for people. And I highly recommend going back and re-listening to that and then putting those questions in your phone or something like that, to write those questions down. having them somewhere, like I like to put on my phone screen saver or something like that if it’s something that I need to remember. And it’s not pretty, you know, but it’s something that it’s important. So when you’re having those moments, you can go back to those questions and you can say, okay, how am I feeling right now? And am I actually feeling that way or am I feeling this way? And it’s just coming across as this, like, am I actually angry or am I kind of scared? Right. And Yeah, I think those are really good questions for people to start with. And it doesn’t require you to completely change your routine or your schedule. And then once you realize how that makes you feel, then maybe you will want to add that into your day, but you don’t have to to start. Because like you said, sometimes if you put too much in at once, people just don’t do it at all. Yeah. Yeah. So speaking of social media, you had mentioned social media there. You yourself are very honest and open on social media. And one thing I want to preface with is that Nikki actually had her Instagram, and was it your Facebook too, or just your Instagram? Her Instagram was hacked this past winter. And as a business owner that very much relies on your online presence, that’s a scary thing to have happened. So she’s rebuilt. We’ll link her socials in the show notes. But your honesty and openness and vulnerability on social media is really refreshing and inspiring, because really, it’s not common. Was there a defining moment when you decided to show up as yourself on social media? Or did you just decide like, this is who I am. This is what I want my business to be about. So this is how it’s going to be. Were there any hurdles you had to cross? Um, let’s talk about that a bit.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]It’s kind of interesting. So when I read this question, I, I put some thought into it because I was like, how does it happen? Or like, how did it happen for me?</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]And.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]I don’t think there was any specific defining moment. I post like I used to teach. So I was very honest with my students from literally day one, the beginning of my teaching career. I knew they needed to see me as a human and not just as a teacher. I was a substitute teacher. for a short amount of time. And that’s how I was able to survive my days. I had to humanize myself. And I needed to be able to build rapport very quickly with my students and trust very quickly with my students.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]So</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]You know, I think I was just so practiced in communicating that way. And then along with like writing being my personal way of reflecting and growing, I had a journal from a very young age. I just filled journals and filled journals all the way along. So whether that be through journaling or I would do poetry, but sharing through writing and then sharing openly about my um my experiences and my vulnerabilities I think it just seem to work on social media. It was my way of not only connecting with my audience, but also connecting with myself. There’s a lot of times when I’m going through something or I’m at the end of going through something that I have to write something out. So it was actually, and people, now that people around me recognize when I go into a bit of like a internal state of working through something, I was in the back of a vehicle on the way, I think I was on my way to Quebec, And my friend Dan was like. what are you, what are you thinking about? You’re like, he could tell that I had gone on to like really ruminating on a subject. And it was really cool because normally I go right to just writing it out. And that’s where my posts come from is I like ruminate on something and like, Oh, I’m reflecting on it. Like, why did I feel that way? How did that make me feel? How might that reflect in my horses? So I’m like, you know, hashing it out on my phone. And when he asked that, I said, do you mind if we just like, talk about it for a second. Do you mind if I just verbalize this out loud?” And he was like, no, that’d be great. So we talked all about the whole subject that we were talking about. I can’t remember what post it was on. It might’ve been… Oh, it was on vulnerability, actually, on how you know, we really expect our horses, I had loaded my horse up onto a horse trailer, we’re driving him eight and a half hours away, and I’m going to unload him somewhere and expect him to perform at his best. I am putting him in such a vulnerable state. And I’m expecting him to be accepting of that. But yet, we as people, we spend a lot of our time protecting ourselves from those vulnerable situations. And so, you know, I was just kind of reflecting on where do I try to protect myself from being vulnerable? Where am I, you know, resisting that feeling of being exposed and how is that fair if that’s what I’m expecting my horse to do? Um, yeah, it’s, it was pretty cool. So I think, yeah, I think that’s, it’s just the way I’ve taught myself how to process and teach and communicate.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]It’s interesting how you said it was how you connected with your students and it’s how you connect with yourself. And I think it’s also allowing people to connect with themselves as well. Because if you see somebody else speaking about something that maybe you’re going through, you’ve gone through, and you’re thinking, oh God, I’m not alone. You know, like, yeah, it’s not just me. I’m not the only one having this issue. I’m not the only one feeling this way. And it’s a way to to feel a sense of like connection to yourself and and to others, like you had said. So that’s really interesting.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]And I do get a lot of messages from people who say that where they’re just saying, like, I just want to thank you for sharing that because it made me, you know, feel this way or reflect on, on this thing that’s happening. Um, and then they’ll like, I have a few people that I think there’s one person in particular, I’ve never met her and she will like write me progress updates on like how things are going and the pride that I feel. And I’m like, I don’t even know you, but it’s, it’s, yeah, it’s really cool.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]Yeah. Oh, that’s nice. What a nice gift to give her is like, yeah, just like holding space. It’s nice. So, um, hard choices. You had mentioned this earlier, and I know this was something that when I think of somebody that can speak to making hard choices, I’m like Nikki Porter, um, hard choices, hard conversations. Like I said, you’ve, you’ve really got to check out Nikki’s book, the conscious communicator. And, um, With your posts, with your book, with your work in general, you do often talk about balancing your own personal horse goals with your family life and also with your business goals. There’s a lot of things that juggle. And I think that holds for all of us. If it’s not this, it’s that. We fill our time with whatever it may be, and we’ve got a lot of balls in the air. how do you make your decisions and how do you know when to give and take?</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]Well, um, how I make my decisions now versus how I made my decisions 10 years ago are very, very different. So, and I shouldn’t even say 10 years, I’d say probably closer to like 15 years ago, 15 years ago, I, would talk to a lot of people, I would get a lot of opinions. And there was a time in my life where I was even like, going to psychics and saying, like, just tell me what I need to do. And it was just really interesting. And it’s funny to me that that’s where I landed, where I was like, I need somebody spiritual to help me. And I hadn’t even connected to my own spirituality at the time. So it was, It was me trying to see if I was going to make the wrong decision or the right decision. Why was I feeling the way that I was feeling and how can I just get on the right path? How do I get in the flow with the river versus just struggling all the time? And my advice, honestly, is to begin to look for signs and symptoms that change is needed rather than labeling those signs and symptoms as who you are. So, you know, rather than me feeling like I am an anxious person or I am depressed, I started looking at at those things and saying, what are these things trying to tell me? What are they signs of? What am I out of? What am I out of sync with that? This is how I’m feeling every day because this is not who I am. It’s not, I really, um, I enjoy ease. I crave ease in my life. And when I have feelings of like a tight chest, a tight throat, um, I had a time in my life where I cried at the drop of a hat for probably a good month. And I could have very well looked at it and just said, like, you know, I’m. Because I would say to myself, like, I’m not unhappy. I don’t understand if I look at the grand scheme of things, if I look at the picture of my life, I had a partner who cared very much about me and was very kind and very attentive to make sure that our house was being taken care of and all of the things he was doing all of the right things. I had horses in a barn that were attached to my house. I had the things that I thought checked off a lot of of, you know, this is what would make me happy checklist. And I cried and I cried. And it didn’t seem to matter what he said. And it didn’t seem to matter what decisions were being made. I was just sad. And I had to get really honest about what were those, what were those things telling me?</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]And</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]I again, I talk about journaling because I really, really believe in the ability for us to put pen to paper and in a non judgment way, allow the flow of thought to just allow us to reflect openly and honestly, because I trusted that wherever I put my journal, no one else was going to be looking at it. And if they did, they shouldn’t have and that’s on them and whatever they they read in it.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]So</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]you know, journaling and just sitting with those feelings and, and feeling the feelings, allowing myself to be sad and noticing the triggers. So I thought I was crying for no reason. The same as we think our horses is taking off for no reason, right? I thought I was doing these things for no reason until I started recognizing when I felt the little bit of a trigger. So when he would say something specific, or if I was in a specific situation, like I remember distinctly being out for lunch one day with him and his son, and it was supposed to be like a really lovely picture. And I went to the bathroom and I cried and I cried because it wasn’t working. It was supposed to be really good, and it didn’t feel good. And so I knew that I needed to make a change. And I knew that I was sad because I was influencing someone else’s heart that I cared for. So, oh, geez, but it’s, you know, it’s one of those things where it’s hard to make those decisions because it’s hard to choose you. It’s hard to say, I’m going to make this choice for me that I know is right for me. And again, it comes down to resistance and denial and all the things, but you know, I know I need to make this choice for me and it’s going to have a negative impact on someone that I love. But if I don’t make this choice, If I don’t choose me, then I’m going to lose myself. And I’m also not being true to them. So what, you know, what is that actually doing? You know, I had a lot of resistance around leaving my teaching career. And the resistance came from the fact that my dad paid for my education. And I was terrified to tell him. that I didn’t want to be a teacher anymore. I thought that he would be so upset because he wasted his money. And, you know, how dare I not be grateful for for all of his sacrifices. And I mean, as a parent now, I recognize that is years of sacrifice and planning and giving.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]Right.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]So I was scared to have that conversation. And it almost stopped me from making the choice altogether. It almost stopped me from choosing my own happiness. I could have very well used that as an excuse to ignore all of the signs and symptoms that said I had to make that hard choice. But I had the hard conversation instead. And that conversation lasted 10 minutes. And the pain leading up to it lasted probably two years.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]Wow.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]In avoidance of it.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]Yeah. Yeah. Wow. I feel like I just need to take a breath.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]I know, right?</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]So I will.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]While you’re breathing, I’ll tell you one thing that changed because you did ask, like, what did it what did it impact for me or how did that influence things? It’s really interesting. I was at a horse show recently and I had a situation come up between a really good friend of mine and another really good friend of mine. And it looked like one friend totally disrespected the other. And I’m standing and watching the situation happen. And I was like, I’m not, I didn’t actively like cut someone off and go and deal with the situation or try to like diffuse it in the moment. I watched it kind of happen and respectfully carried on a conversation and watch somebody kind of storm off. And I immediately went to that other person and they said, I, you know, I’m I wish you had have done something and I said, well, this is why I didn’t and I explained to them the respect that I had for the other person and explain to them why why I allowed them to continue with what they were doing and then I had the conversation with that other person and then. I within 10 minutes went back and readdressed the original person that the other person had thought was being disrespectful and When I went back to him and said, okay, so I had this conversation. I, I am like, so grateful that you took care of that so quickly. And I think part of what happened along the way of feeling and seeing the signs and symptoms, recognizing a hard decision had to be made and then having a hard conversation around it. I will no longer allow myself to waste years, months or weeks of my life avoiding a hard conversation that I know needs to be had when I can go into it with, you know, diffused energy and an open, honest conversation and have all of that tension and pressure be taken off almost immediately.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]That’s so good. And, and I feel like you’re, you’re right where we, hold and hold and hold and hold all this energy around what we think might happen, what they might say, how they might feel, all these different things. And, and, and then you have the conversation and you’re like, Oh, that wasn’t that bad. Or that was as bad as I thought it was going to be, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be, you know, maybe they did react that way or, or, or however, but we survived it and now it’s out there and now it’s happened. And, you know, and whatever. And there’s a story that I love. It’s two monks, and you may know this story, and they were climbing this mountain, and there was a river, and they were on their way back, and there was a woman. And she was crying and all upset, and one monk went up to her and he said, what’s happening? What’s wrong? And she said, the river has risen, and I’m afraid that I’m not going to be able to cross it and get back to my child, and my child is going to be alone all night and wondering where I am. And so he picks her up, he puts her on his back, and he carries her across the river, and the two monks continue on their way. And a little bit later, this one monk, he’s acting all agitated, and he turns to the other monk, and he said, why did you do that? you know that our religion or we’re not allowed to speak to women. And not only did you speak to a woman, but you picked her up and you carried her. Why would you do that? And the other monk says, I dropped that woman off 30 minutes ago. It’s you that’s still carrying her. And I always think back to that when it’s, you know, we have these difficult things, and are we going to continue to carry them? Or are we going to say, I did this and I, you know, I’m going to feel this way and whatever, I’m going to choose these things and I’m going to drop it and go about my way. And I really like that. Um, your dad, it just was 10 minute conversation.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]Yeah, but if you think of that story, I I have heard it before and I haven’t actually like sat and thought about it. But what a beautiful picture of when we hold on to things that our horses do. So our horses, you know, maybe your horse bucked you off because it got scared and the horse like that’s gone. They let it go. But yet we carry that story with us every single time we step our foot into the saddle.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]So</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]You know, I think that’s a really powerful story.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]Absolutely. Absolutely. I love that you tied that back to the horses. quite pleased with where this conversation has gone. I think it’s going to be really good for our listeners. We’ve talked a lot about things that people can be doing, shifts that they can include in their lives, the mindset changes, questions they can ask themselves. Is there anything else that you want to add? Maybe some other things they can implement that are quick and easy for themselves, for their horses, whatever it may be.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]I have one thing that I want to share and it’s kind of a story as well. And I, I have it written down to share, um, but I probably was going to forget it until you mentioned your story. So thank you for that. This one. So in my, one of my prerequisites for the meditation, um, course that I’m going to be taking, I I’m doing this other like six week course. And so right now I’m about midway through. And in this course, the instructor told a story that when I heard it, it is probably one of the most impactful things that I’ve heard that then changed how I approached people, how I approached my horse, how I approach meditation. Actually, that’s why they told the story in the first place. How I approach literally anything. So I’d like to be able to finish by sharing the story and then just allowing people to kind of ruminate on a final question.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]So</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]The story that they shared in the course is a true story from a famous biologist, George Schaller. So when George Schaller came back from his time studying gorillas in their native habitat, He had all these stories about their relationships between silverback families and then how their family structure and their community related in ways that literally no one had ever seen before. So he was presenting his findings to a large conference of biologists and somebody said to him, you know, Dr. Schaller, we’ve been studying gorillas for generations now. And you have come across and discovered more information in your time than we have in these generations. So like, how did you do this? How did you come up with all this other information? And he replied to them, it’s simple. I didn’t carry a gun. And the previous generations of biologists who went to study carried elephant guns. So the instructor then explained in the course that I’m taking that if you were a gorilla and you saw somebody coming at you or coming into your environment with a large gun, what would your response be? Because George Schaller had to go without any weapons, he had to approach respectfully, conscious of his body language, and with a sense of care. So the guerrillas could then just gradually get a sense of his care and finally allowed him just to sit with them and amidst their family and see exactly what life was going on. what life was like going on with the gorillas. So his reply to the biologist was it’s simple in this simple way. I was able to understand so when I heard that story, I immediately thought of all of us with our horses, especially those of us or the people that I’ve worked with it in clinics. Everyone brings their guns to a clinic with us. And it’s our job to help them unpack them so that they can see what’s actually happening and that they can begin to feel safe with their horse with no need for guns. So when we think about it, what guns do we bring to every conversation? So you’re going to have that hard conversation because you made a hard choice. What guns are you packing first? And why do you need, why do you feel you need them? When you go out to lunge your horse and you haven’t ridden in four weeks because life got in the way, what guns are you packing before you go and pick up that lead rope? And why do you feel like you need them? Can you do it without packing those guns? If you feel like you can’t, who can help you? Who can help you show or help to show you how to safely work and communicate with your horse? without feeling like you need to defend yourself or protect yourself.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]That’s good. I like that. Isn’t that like a crazy good story? That’s so good. It’s like the ultimate sense of soft is strong, vulnerability is power. I like that.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]And thinking about like, just simply thinking, what guns am I packing? Just that question. What guns am I packing? They might be in the form of past stories. They might be in the forms of assumption. They might be in the forms of our aids, our tools, our whips, our spurs. Are they wrong to have with us? Not necessarily, as long as we understand the intention. And then we understand how to use them. So does the horse look at us and say, that’s an elephant gun. When you walk into the center. So a lot of people come to us and say, my horse is scared of whips. And we say, interesting, because a whip is the extension of our arm. Does the horse recognize that’s a gun or do they recognize it as being a part of you?</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]Right?</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]How has it been used?</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]Oh, I like that. I like that so much. Oh, I’m just sitting with this for a second. Yeah. There’s just so much to it all. Like I said, I love where this conversation went. I really hope, and I feel like I know our audience is going to get so much out of this. So to wrap this up, we have four Wee Horse questions that we ask every podcast guest. The first one is, do you have a motto or a favorite saying? I have two.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]One is, she believed she could, so she did. I know it’s like, you know, you see it everywhere and it’s just one of those ones that people just say or but it it has truly impacted my life to the point where I have it on a sweater. I put it on a sweater on my sleeve so that when I’m writing, I actually can see it. Um, or if I’m writing, I can see it. So recognizing the power of our self-belief, um, it is, it is, it makes you unstoppable really. Uh, and the other one is kind of similar. Everything is figureoutable. And I got that from Marie Forleo. I have it on a weight on my shelf next to my desk. It truly is. So anytime that I hear anyone, myself included, complaining, my go-to is, this might be a problem, but there is a solution. There is always a solution. And we need to just be able to think our way through it. Think your way through the pressure. What’s the solution?</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]I love the symbolism of having that printed on a weight. Yeah. Yeah. That’s interesting. The second one is who has been the most influential person in your equestrian journey?</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]First half is Mary Henry from Windsor. She was my riding coach until I was about 19, I believe.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]And just such a</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]wonderful human being. And she, yeah, she, I think I spent probably every day of my life with her for like two years straight at one point, like she was just phenomenal. And then the second half of my riding career so far has been Andrea Anderson. And I literally I think I learned from her for four days and I have worked with a lot of horsemen and I have read a lot of books and watched a lot of things, but what influenced me with her was she was a woman that I could identify with and I watched her truly demonstrate the power of clear as kind and soft as strong. And she was the one that made me realize, like, it might take me two more weeks or two weeks longer to get through an issue with a horse than, say, my husband or someone who is a little bit more physical than I am, but I can get there. And she showed that for sure.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]I just want to underline that statement for people. I’d heard it a couple of years ago, and it’s always been such a powerful sentence for me. Clear is kind and soft is strong.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]And I just think… If any of our listeners read or watch or do anything with Brene Brown, you’ll recognize that clear is kind. That is, um, within her leadership work and any leadership book, empathetic leadership and, and, you know, vulnerable leadership transfers beautifully into our horsemanship. Um, like you said, like when I first heard that it was like somebody just.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]hit me. It’s like, yes, that’s what it is. And I’ve been like, I’ve been so unkind. I’ve been clear. Oh, but I was doing my best. The third one is if you could give equestrians one piece of advice, what would it be?</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]Take a look at all the things you desire your horse to be and assess your ability or willingness to possess them yourself. So if you want them to be focused, patient, relaxed, able to let go, all of those things so that you have an optimal experience with them, assess whether you are capable or willing to learn or be those things yourself.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]Love that. The final one is, please complete the sentence, for me, horses are?</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]Our best feedback partners.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]Absolutely. Nikki, where can people find you? How can they connect with you? All of the things.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]Well, like you said, my Instagram was hacked and it was interesting because I, I kind of used it. I was like, I can just like recreate everything. This will be great. And then I use it as like, I’m taking the pressure off of being in every different social media place and just building and growing and having that be a pressure. Um, so you can find me at, I am Nikki Porter. on Instagram and you can message me there and you’ll see, you know, what I’m about, but I don’t have very many followers right now.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]It’s not a big deal.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]Um, and Nikki Porter dot CA is my website and, um, tick tock. You can find me. I think it’s just Nikki Porter coaching or Nikki Porter on tick tock. And, uh, I am trying to kind of put myself out there more. in the TikTok world.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]It’s the place to be.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]I mean, I’m not there. It really is, but it’s hard when we talk about resistance. I have been really blessed to have incredible people that I don’t know, that I do know, that have come into my world, that have been very positive and positive about my work. And I’ve been very lucky to not meet these people on TikTok that just try to tear you down. And I have a fear around that. And I think that’s what’s stopping me from actually diving in deeper and putting my content out there. I really don’t want to be torn down by a bunch of people.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]Social media is an interesting landscape these days. Yeah, it truly is. I think it’s interesting, and I completely agree with you in saying that. We don’t need to be all the places and doing all the things, um, you know, to, to find the thing that resonates with you. And then the people that need to find you will find you there. Yeah, absolutely. Um, on Nikki’s website, you can also find, um, her books. So she has, um, as the book that I’ve mentioned, um, the conscious communicator, as well as, um, some different journals, her online meditations. You can also listen to Nikki’s two podcasts. One is her podcast, which is Take the Reins, and the other one is the Canada Horse podcast, which she co-hosts with her friend Nadine. It’s a really, really good resource. I highly recommend that one as well. I’m a big fan of both. And I hope that the people find you. And I’ll link all these in the show notes. And I just I can’t thank you enough for this beautiful episode. It was wonderful for me. And I hope that everybody listening gets something out of it as well. I hope so too.</p><p>[SPEAKER 2]I really appreciate you having me on. It was lovely talking to you. I always enjoy speaking with you. And, uh, yeah, I hope I, I think out of, out of the whole conversation, I hope that people, um, they get hope. They know that, you know, if they feel stuck, if they feel like they’re living against the river right now, um, that there’s hope and they can, they can trust their body to be able to their mind and their body, not just their body, but their mind and their body to kind of help redirect them. Um, so yeah, thank you very much.</p><p>[SPEAKER 1]I appreciate being on. Wonderful. Thanks, Nikki. Thank you for listening to this episode of the Equestrian Connection podcast by wehorse. If you enjoyed this episode, it would mean the world to us if you could leave us a rating and review, as well as share us on social media. You can find us on Instagram at wehorse underscore USA, and check out our free seven-day trial on, where you can access over 175 courses with top trainers from around the world in a variety of topics and disciplines. Until next time, be kind to yourself, your horses and others.</p>

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