By Charlie Reynolds

Stephanie Holdenried
’s business is atypical.

That’s by design, and it’s exactly the point, and its uniqueness only enhances its ability to impact her clients as a certified nutrition consultant and equine interactive educator. Through experiential learning, Holdenried uses horses to help her clients better understand themselves while staying present in the moment.

“A horse can tell if you are showing up as your true self or not,” Holdenreid explains. “Horses long for connection and they’re judgment-free animals. My work is about discovering if the client is ready for a connection.”

Our connection to horses dates back centuries, giving them a piercing view into who we are as people, she says.

“We share thousands of years of intimate history with horses and up until about 80 years ago, people interacted with horses everyday,” Holdenried says, noting that horses have a “prey instinct” that has them constantly reading their surroundings and checking for danger.  

As social herd animals, horses have a social sense that receives and emanates information, an “energy” they can read.  As a result, horses have a lot to teach us about who we are and how we “show up” in the world around us,” Holdenried says.

Holdenried tells a story to illustrate that connection: “My client and I were standing at the edge of my paddock. Watching the herd, my client was drawn to one horse in particular. Eventually, that horse broke away from the herd and started coming right towards us, closer and closer when all of a sudden, it turned the other direction and walked away. I asked my client, ‘what happened?’ She told me, ‘I guess he just lost interest or something.’”

Holdenried explained to her client the possibility that the horse actually read her change in desire – that she’d wanted the horse to come over but “self-sabotaged” once it happened and changed her mind, this sending the horse away with her energy.

“I see myself as the translator,” Holdenreid says. “The horse is the one with all the answers. I have over 50 exercises I do with my clients that are all about seeing how we show up in different situations. It’s really about the work on the self. Ultimately the horse is just a mirror.”  

Holdenreid has seen her work cultivate leadership and insists, “The best leaders are ones who truly know themselves.”

Join Stephanie Holdenried on a journey into the past, the wild, and yourself as she uses her partnership with her equine beasts of burden to remove the burdens you may be carrying everyday.   

Holdenried runs private and group sessions as well as hosting special events. Starting this week, Holdenried has created GUTS, Girls Utilizing Their Skills, an all-girls group meeting four times through February and March with the mission of “Empowering girls to be leaders in their families, the communities, and their world with the help of horses.”

The 411: Learn more about Guts here and get more on Stephanie Holdenried’s business here.

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