WHAT IS THE SECRET TO HEALING?

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another
‘What, You too?! I thought I was the only one.'”

C.S. Lewis



I attended the Touched by a Horse annual Summit this weekend. It’s a big event with speakers, break out groups, and Graduation night for the new certified coaches. It’s a pretty big deal.

I arrived on Thursday evening for opening night and all through the evening and into the next day I could feel myself sucked into a dark space, like a vortex it held me fast and I couldn’t pull myself up and out. I was there in body, on a chair listening to speakers and talking to friends, but my spirit was elsewhere, floating in the ether, adrift, a headache pulsing in the back of my skull, letting me know that something was amiss.

Normally, this ranch is my safe space, my home away from home, where the moment my feet touch the earth I am at peace. This time it was like I hadn’t even arrived. I skipped out several times to go nuzzle the muzzle of a lovely horse named Gus, who was able to ground me back into myself and each time I visited him I felt myself appearing out of the fog, my heart a little lighter. That’s the magic of horses.

What I want to talk to you about today, is the magic of friends.

What was my problem? I was in my favorite place with some of my very favorite people, yet I was feeling very isolated, very alone.
I was poisoning myself with an untold “secret”.
I was carrying the weight of news I hadn’t yet confessed to a very dear friend.
I was wary of telling her.
Weary of telling everyone.

We went for a walk and paused at my car and before I could stop myself the words were pouring out of my mouth. She looked a me with a small smile on her face and a mischievous glitter in her eyes that spoke volumes. She wasn’t overcome by sadness for what will ultimately be her loss for a time, but delighted by what is going to be a grand adventure. She shared stories of her own grand adventures and shared with me her excitement for the growth and experiences that are ahead of me.

We left my car and as I settled back into the arena in my chair, I felt finally at ease.

The next day was Saturday, filled with speakers and a cocktail party, and dinner in the evening, followed by graduation. All day I was filled with a groundedness and happiness I hadn’t felt in the previous days.
Finally I was present and able to enjoy the friends and family around me.

As the evening and graduation drew to a close, I was leaning on the sidewall of the arena watching new sisters walk across the stage and into the next chapter of their lives.
Shoulder to Shoulder with me are two Powerful, Beautiful, Bone-Deep, Soulful, Badass women. The bond between us was tangible, a living thing.
As we stood together I was struck with such force, how impactful our friendships can be.
How empowering, if we let them in.

I’m connected with the women (and a couple of men) in that arena on a soul level. We have shared deep trauma history with each other, we have witnessed, cried, laughed, screamed, held, healed.

It is my default setting to block people out, to go it alone, to do it myself, and say that I am fine in my independence. This weekend reminded me, that going it alone is not the answer. If we were all better off alone, we wouldn’t feel so broken.

If we had all the answers to heal ourselves, we would, nobody would choose suffering if they could help themselves by themselves.

The truth is, we need community. It’s the secret sauce. The ultimate healing magic that we all seek.
We need our tribe, our herd, to lift us up when we are down, to lean on in grief, to laugh with in moments of joy, to inspire us when we feel like we are not enough.

It takes bravery to make those connections, because these types of bonds do not come without deep vulnerability. We hand over the power to people to hurt us, we have to trust that they won’t, know that disappointment comes with every relationship, and build on the knowledge that the foundation is built on trust, the best intention, and pure love.



On Sunday during the closing ceremony, there is a song that is played that always goes straight to my heart.
We stand in a giant circle, hand in hand, heart to heart.

This time, as I stood with two more of my dear sister-friends, all my feelings came pouring out of my eyes and I cried and cried as the song played on, I felt them both squeeze my hands.

Once it was over I was enveloped in the arms of a woman who has become so dear to my heart over the years, and she told me everything was going to be fine, it’s going to be great, and I know she speaks the truth. It means so much to me, to be seen and held both physically and emotionally by such beautiful souls.

I never knew the power of a group of women coming together in tatters and binding each other up could be so healing.

It’s my job now, as a certified Equine Gestalt Coach, to pass on this gift of sisterhood. To pay it forward, on to the women who have not yet found their tribe. If you’re going it alone right now, if you find yourself lost, unsupported, lonely, searching for something bigger than yourself, I’ve got a group and a horse for that.

If you feel compelled to share your story with me, or you’d like to sign up for a group or private coaching session, or you’d like more information on Equine Gestalt Coaching, please send me an e-mail at:

P.S if you’ve made it this far: Thank you for reading my blog!
And No, I’m not pregnant!
If you know, you know.
If you don’t, stay tuned!

Find your Light
Find your Tribe
Find the Path
that Sets You Free.

Amanda Soper

The Heart of a Mare

Part One – Dark Nights of the Soul and the Light Within

As swiftly as the wheels began to turn, they began to fall off. I looked around at what I had built so far, with Sunrise Horse Training and Dark Horse Healing, both two years in the making, intentionally opposite ends of the spectrum- I’d felt called at the time of creation to cater to separate, vastly different demographics.

Now all I felt was stuck.

I simmered on my new dilemma for several weeks. I decided to bring Sunrise under the umbrella of Dark Horse. I scheduled a meeting with one of my dear mentors, Melisa Pearce (founder of Touched by a Horse, creator of the Equine Gestalt Coaching Method) to discuss going forward in this way, but before the meeting even occurred I saw the blockade in my way.
The style of these two worlds, the horse world and the alternative “woo-woo” world, would not mesh.
Not in the divisive, polarized world in which we currently live. I can and do easily walk the line between the worlds, but not all my clientele would be so inclined. The plan to mesh my businesses was dashed, and to no ones surprise, my conversation with Melisa confirmed what I already knew. There goes that wheel.

My next decision was to shut down Sunrise Horse Training all together and go whole hog into Equine Gestalt Coaching… but my primary income comes from Sunrise and I was feeling stifled inside the box I’d created within Dark Horse Healing. My dark horses, and dark heart, and dark hair, and dark clothes are absolutely authentic to me, but I no longer wanted to live within those walls and parameters all the time. There goes that wheel.

I started to, accidentally on purpose, morph my training business into something else; something less structured, something sweeter and softer and freer than what I had been taught and trained to do, something that was beginning to really feed my soul as I took note of the relationships that were being built between my clients and their horses.

I decided I would shut down Dark Horse Healing all together and go whole hog into Horse Training and this new path I had found. I started down this trail with just two wheels left, and the further I got down it, the louder the call of my two years of extensive, intensive training as an EGC Coach got. That wheel flew off the wagon in flames and rolled far far away, the other, with nothing to hold it up, collapsed pathetically on the ground.
So what was I left with?

Once again, the blinding flash of the obvious presented herself to me in the form of a horse.

Several horses. All Mares. Over the past year their divine feminine energy has challenged me, comforted me, nurtured me, frustrated me, broken me down, and then, (with the help of a kind gelding), healed me.

As I look back on the last 14 years of my life, the footsteps that have been by my side, consistent and unwavering, belong to my beloved heart horse, Molly. The biggest lessons I have learned have come from this mare, and the mares I have been lucky enough to encounter these past few years as a professional trainer. I have learned from geldings too, to be sure, but it is the mares who leave the lasting impressions on my heart.

With their quiet grace and gentle hearts, their fiery tempers, their wild souls, their humor, and their demand for respect that must be earned and is not easily given, I found the answers to my questions.

So with no wheels at all, I walk beside my horse and our equine friends, and I offer our gifts to you, as partners on your journey to wholeness and healing.

Without further ado,
May I Present: