The Fourth Grade Teacher

During my training to become an Equine Gestalt Coach (Life Coach), I worked on my values and what I believed to be true about them. Those beliefs drove my decision making, my behaviors, and judgments of people and events that I held to be most important in life.

Although I knew what most inspired me, I did not know what my values were until I began the process of looking at them and understanding the meaning behind them. It was an eye-opening experience, and I found I could use my values to help shape my future. To use them as a guide to steer me in directions that will be most beneficial versus detrimental to what I want to accomplish.
Here’s what I knew about myself before the sleuthing process began.

  1. I work best for myself or in institutions where I have the freedom to act and make decisions that I know will benefit the majority of the business. Working for other people who want to undermine or control my decision-making process and keep tabs on me puts me in a frame of “hell no.”
  2. The health and fitness industry played and still does a significant career role in my life.
  3. Teaching, guiding, leading, and influencing became my life’s work. I then transferred what I learned from my previous career in the fitness field to coaching people in a whole different and dynamic way.

I recognized education/teaching were in my top five values, and this is where the fourth-grade teacher comes in.

There I was, in front of the class, erasing the board and clearing it for me to teach. Palms sweaty with chalk in hand, I addressed the class. The feeling of nervousness and excitement are physiologically the same. I was both. My belly churning, my thoughts racing, a desire to run for the door, and yet, I stood there and started to speak. The words were shaky and then got more relaxed as I felt myself move into the topic. I felt scared and on top of the world all at the same time. Thus it began, I wanted to teach, to educate, to be at the head of the class as a leader.

When I started my career as a fitness professional, I once again stood at the head of the class.

What an amazing career! The best part of the many years of teaching were the students. I was witness to the transformations that took place not only in their physical appearance but in their emotional state.

So, how do Gestalt Therapy and Horses help transform learning about ourselves?

As prey animals, horses are highly intuitive to their surroundings. They are intuitive to our thoughts and energy. They can read our body language, sense our energy, and practically read us like an open book. They know when we are not speaking our truth inside or outside of ourselves. They are natural healers. Horses allow us to be “In the Moment.” We can be a human being versus a human doing. Being in the moment can help unlock buried emotions, states of being, and bring us back to a place of healing. We can find clarity, self-empowerment, and move towards action.

Take action and join Cody and Me! Saturday, May 19, for the workshop – Please Understand Me. I would love to have you.

For more information, contact Vonie at 360-904-7867 or

As a life coach, I’m always working on ways I can help women to achieve success both personally and professionally. With education and teaching being one of my top values, I need to make an impact and help others. To provide the best possible service to my clients and to help them achieve their dreams and goals is rewarding and makes my heart sing.

One of the workshops I have hosted the past two years does just that. It’s called Look Back/Look Forward and this year we not only looked back on 2019, but we reflected on the last decade. The process is around what we learned, what we were proud of, what we accomplished versus what we were lacking in, or didn’t do.

The entertaining part of the workshop this year was the horses. Elliott Horsepower Ranch, where the workshop was held, has a viewing room and arena that were perfect for our classroom. With the heat on and window open, the horses were poking their heads in the window and showing a lot of curiosity for the participants and providing support during coaching experiences.

Once done with the review portion of the workshop, we dove into the next decade and what top goals to set for 2020. What goals would we set, what tools would we need to accomplish the goals, who do we have to become to achieve the goals? More questions – what character traits will you need, and what habits or skills do you need to develop or strengthen to make your dream happen?

I know so many questions, and not all of them easy to answer. It truly is a reflection and a mindset for growth.

One of the participants had recently relocated to a new barn and desired to achieve more horse experiences and create more friendships with like-minded horse ladies in 2020. We set time aside for a coaching session with Cody. He offered a great deal of love and support to her as she processed through creating new friendships. With the many demands of work, how could she find a work/life balance that would give her the desired time she wanted with her horse? Together, we came up with some reasonable solutions and ways to overcome obstacles that might interfere.

Work/life balance seems to be a common thread with many of the women I coach. If you’re at all searching for some answers or still trying to figure out what you want this next decade to look like talk to your horse. Let them be your coach.

Get into a round pen with your horse. Ask yourself some of the hard questions you don’t seem to have an answer for. Get centered in your body and start walking counterclockwise. Without demanding your horse follow or without a lead rope just start walking. Let him/her connect with you and help you facilitate the answers. Here’s how, if you aren’t honest with yourself and staying in your body and get out of your head, your horse won’t connect. If you do, they will follow. When you stop being centered and, in your body, they will disconnect, step in front of you or do many other things to get your attention. Be with your horse and let them, coach. Listen to the subtle cues they give you.

If you find yourself still not sure, reach out and let a coach help your horse facilitate the coaching process or come on over to my barn and let Cody help me help you.

If you’d like some of the questions I provided during the workshop, reach out to me at, I’d be happy to send them over to you.

Happy New Year, Vonie