Horses Empowering Humans

$8,540 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 27 people in 4 months
We believe deeply in the innate capacity horses have to awaken, heal and empower the human spirit, and we've committed to build an organization that cultivates this connection between people, nature and horses.
I'm seeking your support in helping to cover the cost of my Equine Facilitated Learning & Coaching certification, so that I can bring this empowering work to Chile.

Hi there!

I'm Greta. And, as several incredible twists of fate would have it, I'm a lucky herd member of these seven magic horses here in southern Chile. 

It was a mix of adventure and synchronicity that brought us all together, and it's adventure and synchronicty that has inspired this gofundme campaign! 

All those twists of fate...
The story of how these horses came into our lives is nothing short of magic, so I've decided to take some time to share the full version here:

The short version goes a little something like this:

At the start of 2016, my husband, Alejandro, and I decided to hitchhike with our two dogs to southern Patagonia. Once there, we bought three horses and rode them nearly 1000 kilometers across the region. Learn more about that adventure here .

We spent three months traversing the wilds of Patagonia as we made our way north, experiencing some of the most pristine and remote wilderness we'd ever explored, gathering stories, photographs and memories that would last a lifetime, and building a deep bond with our horses.

When the cold winds and rains of autumn were bearing down on us, we decided it was time to wrap up our ride. In Puerto Cisnes we put our horses and dogs on a boat and sailed together across the fjords all the way to Chiloe where we hauled the crew those final kilometers home. 

Just as we were settling back into life around Pucón, wondering what the future had in store for us next, we were contacted by Matty and Heather, another couple of fellow Long Riders who were in the midst of their own long-distance horse trek along the coast of Chile. After deciding it was time to end their ride, Matty and Heather were struggling to find good, loving homes for their four horses. They were worried that the horses would end up being sold to butchers and processed for food. Horse meat is commonly consumed in Chile and very often butchers are willing to pay up to double what a "campo" horse might cost normally. 

When they asked if we'd be willing to add four more horses to our herd, we were a bit struck by the synchronicity of it all. At the time we had no idea what we would do with seven horses, or how we would even manage to feed them through the long winter, but in our gut it just felt meant to be, we had to say yes. They rode them south and eventually our two herds of long distance trekkers became one, and our little band of three became seven.

 For Alejandro and I, the arrival of these horses in our lives felt like a clear invitation to build something meaningful here in Chile. The horses would be a key part of that, but they would participate as partners, not as financial assets on a balance sheet. Above all, we committed to ensure these horses would be treated with love and respect in all moments, for the rest of their lives.

Why get certified in Equine Facilitated Learning & Coaching (EFLC)?

So, now to dig into what's behind this request for financial support! 

Alejandro and I grew up with horses and are seasoned equestrians. We have a diverse background in a variety of disciplines working with horses. Having just finished a long ride of our own, we felt well-equipped to start a horse trekking company. But, the more we considered the strain that constant backcountry treks could put on the horses' health, the more we felt drawn to take our work to a deeper level. 

We wanted to ensure we were honoring their wisdom and their wellbeing. That's what ultimately inspired us to build a company offering authentic learning journeys that will integrate EFLC, wilderness education, personal development and adventure. Basically, working with the horses to build more heart-based connections.

In order to do this work from a place of integrity, I knew I needed a broader foundation of how to support people in their personal development as they experience the healing power and wisdom of horses. 

Equine Facilitated Learning & Coaching (EFLC) can take many shapes and forms across a wide spectrum of industries and specialities. We define it as a process of experiencial learning, facilitated in partnership and presence with horses, for the purpose of personal development, discovering & drawing out authentic leadership, exploring emotional intelligence and awareness, and cultivating reslience of spirit and being. It's typically done on the ground in the presence of a horse, who works with the client in partnership with a human coach/facilitor.

Why is EFLC such a transformational experience? As a result of the highly sensitive nature of horses, what a person holds emotionally in their body and mentally in their mind, affects how the horse responds to them. Horses instinctively respond to truth and authenticity. The horse acts as a supportive witness, mirror and companion during personal discoveries of hidden aspects of oneself- providing often profound experiences at the cellular level as individuals explore self-worth, tolerance, patience and compassion. Horses show up without ego, agenda or judgement- they are simply with us as Anam Caras (Soul Friends).

The beauty of this work is that it's truly a process of making the "invisible" visible; as people witness and experience the impact that their own self-awareness has on the horse, they gain greater awareness of the impact of shifting energy and minsets. 

It's our intention to provide a sanctuary for discovery that invokes a sense of curiosity about how we, as individuals and collectively, may lead more wholehearted lives, businesses and organizations that are aligned with the natural cycles of the Earth and in tune with the wisdom of our bodies. 

To bring this work to Chile with the level of integrity that honors the capacity and wellbeing of our herd, as well as the wellbeing of our clients and ourelves, I felt that enrolling in the yearlong apprenticeship program with Kathy Pike would provide a strong foundation to build upon. 

The Equine Facilitated Learning & Coaching Certification program is a yearlong program, facilitated through a mix of virtual lessons and onsite workshops. There is extensive virtual coursework that takes place, and four practical onsite workshops take place in the USA.

Kathy Pike is a leader in the industry, and has built a beautiful foundation of this work that is focused on integrating areas of energy systems of the mind and body, emotional intelligence, personal development, life coaching, equine based learning, and leadership development into a holistic approach that truly honors the horses as partners. Of all the programs available, I deeply connected with Kathy’s extensive history in this field and her commitment to integrate heart intelligence into the cultivation of relationships between people and horses.

Where the money will flow:
This is a significant amount of money that I'm working to raise. It's an investment in the core foundation of the work I wish to bring to Chile and into the world. All of the money raised through this campaign will go toward the pay-off of all costs associated with my enrollment in Kathy Pike's Equine Facilitated Learning & Coaching (EFLC) Approved Facilitator Certification Program and other education/courses that will support our ability to give our horses the best care possible here in Chile. 

Here is the breakdown for the costs:
* Full Tuition Cost: $10,950
- This cost covers all virtual course materials, monthly calls and onsite workshops

* Travel Expenses associated with four onsite trainings taking place in the USA: $8,500
- Travel is an expensive aspect due to international travel between Chile and the USA for each onsite. This estimate for travel expenses includes estimated costs related to flights, ground transportation, food and lodging for four individual trips.

* Holistic Horse Hoof Care Workhsop: $150
- We've come to find that there aren't many resources for horse care that are easily accessible in Chile; therefore, in order to keep our herd healthy, both Alejandro and I need to continuously invest in our technical skills around horse care.
This workshop will teach us basics needed to manage the health of our horses' hooves.

* Regional Natural Horsemanship Clinic in Argentina: $400
- Natural Horsemanship, Equine Facilitated Learning & Equine Therapy are emerging specialites in the equine industry globally, and they're really just beginning to gain ground and influence here in South America.
We have an opportunity to attend a Natural Horsemanship Clinic in Argentina this November where we can meet others who are doing this important work and continuously build upon our foundations of knowledge and experience. In such a remote corner of the world, building connections that support expanding heart-based work with horses feels priceless. 

* Portable Round Pen Investment: $5000
- Most of our EFLC work is done in round pens, with the horses working at liberty (without ropes or harnesses). So far we've been working within a make-shift round pen so that we can begin practicing this work and building skills; however, a sturdy, safe round pen is a critical tool that is needed in order to implement everything I learn throughout the certification program.

If we receive funding beyond our goals, this will go directly to support the health and wellbeing of the horses. To date we've invested everything we have to maintain their health and build this next chapter of our lives with the horses in Chile. 
Because we are in the very early stages of development of the company, we are not generating revenue yet. Additional funds will support covering these critical minimum costs for the care of the horses:
* Monthly Cost of Feed: $550 per month
* Medicine/Health Costs: $26 per month
* Hoofcare Costs: $100 every six weeks (if we can attend the hoof care workshop we'll be able to reduce this overhead cost significantly)

What broader impact your money will have:
I wish to express our larger intentions, so that you know how far your money will actually travel- as it really will go beyond the certification.

Your contribution is making it possible for us to create authentic, open-hearted journeys into wild places that will:
- Invite and inspire a sense of wonder for adventure across our internal and external landscapes
- Provide a nurturing, loving and abundant environment for our horses, individuals and selves
- Facilitate a unique, transformative experience that connects people with the wonders of the Chilean wilderness and the divine of their own internal wilderness
- Contribute to our communities in a way that inspires and motivates preservation of cultural tradition, respect for the Earth and for one another
- Initiate deeper mindfulness about our impact on the planet and on all living beings
- Build heart-based connections that inspire inner transformation and outer innovation

This certification is a critical foundation to bring this work to Chile, and into the world. 

Gratitude & Exchanging of Abundance
Personally, it's been a long journey for me to arrive at this place of asking. I've always been a very self-sufficient person, carving my own way in the world. I started my first business at the age of 12, raising and selling hedgehogs so that I could afford to buy a young Arabian horse to train and breed. I've always been proud of my independence and my ability to take care of everything on my own. 

When we said yes to the horses, I knew we were saying yes to something that was bigger than us. I also knew if I wanted to create something bigger than me, I couldn't do it alone. My life has offered me countless opportunities to learn the power of vulnerabilty, the power and beauty of giving and asking, from a place of equal generosity.

I wholeheartedly love to give whatever I feel I have an abundance of. I'm continuously discovering we can also ask from a place of abundance, and in doing so we're opening channels for collaboration and reciprocity, and inviting others to participate in the change they wish to see in the world. 

"Reciprocity allows us to acknowledge each other in appreciation of our unique gifts. In reciprocity, there is nourishment and joy: I am there for you, and you are there for me."- Lynn Twist

I can't change the title of the "Rewards" section- so I would like to express here that I've listed an Abundance Exchange.

If you are feeling the financial abundance that allows you to give with ease, I wish for you to receive what I feel I can give from a place of abundance in exchange. It's been an exciting and wonderful experience to imagine all the beauty that could be created for the exchange, so please know how deeply my love and attention has gone into each of the offerings. 

I love to write and share reflections & stories , and I've got some very special ones to share in this exchange. I also love to capture beautiful places from behind the camera, and unpublished selections of some of these captures are also in the mix. And of course, for those who are able and willing to travel, I've included some gorgeous experiences with the horses in truly incredible places. 
I'm limited in the length of the descriptions, so please don't hesitate to reach out to me directly with any questions. 

Sometimes things much larger than ourselves come knocking, and they ask for us to step out of our comfort zone, they beckon us toward places where we cannot see all that awaits us, yet the path has already been mapped for us to follow; in these moments we have a choice.

We can keep the door closed, we can refuse to answer and take comfort in the safety of the walls we’ve built around our selves and our lives; or, we can open the door, we can allow that which beckons us to shatter the windows and blow apart those walls; we can willingly step toward the larger thing that is calling us, knowing that we will be large enough to meet all that comes our way, even if we know not what that fully entails. We can trust in life, lean into it and say yes- I am here and I will do all I can.

Something much larger than myself has come calling; and I’ve decided to say yes. And I know that I cannot, and am not meant to, do this alone.

My deepest bow of gratitude for your support- in whatever shape, form or amount it may take. 

Our magic herd sends their gratitude as well, and they look forward to meeting you in person someday!

From top left: Aysén, Blacky, Salvador
From bottom left: Pichi, Harimau, Picante, Zalig
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Hello everyone!

These past few weeks have flowed by with an incredible swiftness as we shift from spring into summer. The sunshine and heat of summer is embracing southern Chile and the forests and fields are a vibrant green. The horses have been enjoying the long meadow grass and extended periods of sunshine.

In the midst of the holiday gatherings and beautiful moments of intentional giving and receiving, we wanted to share this glimpse of herd magic.

It is a brief glimpse of the intention within which these animals live and the bond they share- with one another and with the Earth. Each time I witness them gathering in this way I feel an even greater draw to ensure their lives are honored in a way that continuously supports their wellbeing and bridges our human connection to them and to the planet.

They gather this way every morning, at different times throughout the day, and in the night as well. When you live with the herd, as we do, you begin to notice and appreciate their rituals.

They are all still like statues, yet vibrantly engaged;
solemnly silent, yet actively conversing;
deeply present, yet somehow also elsewhere.

This is also their common stance- they collectively face directions with clear intention.
All or a majority will face one direction and one will face the opposite, or a perpendicular direction.
Today five stood quietly facing the south, one faced east into the sunrise and one faced north.

In the midst of the busy holiday season, we wanted to offer this simple gift of a glimpse of their magic and the beauty of their intentional presence.

In all moments these horses offer us this lovely reminder- that we too can choose to live and gather together with intention and presence.

Wishing everyone an abundant and joyful holiday season.

With much love,

Greta & the Herd
Gathering with Intention
Blacky facing east into the sunshine
Salvador and Harimau facing south
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Hello everyone!

I've always loved this time of year, as it invites an open reflection on all we have to be thankful for. My heart could simply burst with gratitude as I pause to reflect on this feeling of thankfulness.

The weather has turned sunny and warm here in Chile, and the herd is wonderful and well, enjoying the lush green grasses of spring as each day grows longer and we enjoy more sunshine than rain. They have almost entirely shed out their furry winter coats and are gaining a sleek sheen thanks to their daily dose of flax seed in their feed. We've begun receiving international visitors as the weather warms, and it is nothing short of magic to bring more and more people into the presence of these horses.

I’m actually sending this note from inside our tent as we’re camped out along the lakes and mountains of Patagonia! Oh the delights of modern technology. This Thanksgiving Alejandro and I are on the road, traveling across the border to Argentina to spend a few days immersed in conversation and workshops with other folks in South America who are redefining and reimagining the way humans and horses work in partnership together.

It is with a deep sense of gratitude that I send this update, as attending this workshop feels like a foundational building block for the work and community we are beginning in Chile. Our ability to attend this workshop is because of your generosity- each dollar, each share, each note of encouragement- all of it is supporting the ever-widening ripple of impact we are trying to have. I'm so looking forward to sharing more about our experience this weekend. For anyone who is curious, here's a glimpse of what we'll be immersed in!

I send a heartfelt wish that this note finds you with a smile and a full heart as reflections of gratitude continue to feed a joyful presence in your day.

With much love,
Greta & the Herd

A quiet evening with the herd
Calling the herd across the river
Looking forward to more days like this!
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Picante, who comes from the deep south of Patagonia, is known for his epic mustache. His bigote (mustache in Spanish) always ignites a giggle as it seems to add to his sensibility and wise yet silly Buddha nature.
In celebration of Movember, we thought we'd share a glimpse of his strong mustache game with a fun little video :)

We hope things brings some comedic relief into your week!

Much love and laughter from Greta & the Herd
We're loving Picante's Movember mustache
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Spring storms have been blowing through the valley this week and it feels as though Winter is blowing it's last breath as hail mixes with rain.

The horses steam in the early mornings they feast on their bins of oats and alfalfa. They whinny when they see us coming, as they look for extra hay to stay warm. I'm feeling incredibly blessed by the abundance we are experiencing through this process, the abundance of notes and positive wishes, the abundance of connection and generosity. It's humbling and incredibly motivating.

I thought I would share a post I wrote last year after we returned from Patagonia, reflecting on the power of acknowledging when we're in the presence of abundance- and the variety and quality it brings to life in all shapes and forms.

+ Read More
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Raised by 27 people in 4 months
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