When we met, Willow and I were both struggling in body and mind. The way I'd learned to ride and train horses didn't resonate with her. I'd had some wonderful instruction as a child and young rider in natural horsemanship, dressage and eventing. But when it came to training Willow, there were missing pieces in what I had to offer her. She was uncomfortable in her body and either shut down or aggressive. I began to seek a different way to relate to her, to horses in general. I started learning about the biomechanics and physiology of horse and rider; about the interplay of horse and human nervous systems. Wendy Murdoch's work was the first pivotal influence I encountered. Her focus with biomechanics and the horse's subtle signs of tension or relaxation was a powerful motivation for me; the effect with Willow was quite notable. It seeded a growing holistic approach, leading me into a healing journey of my own. Uncovering pieces of myself, and engaging the wherewithal to show up for her in a way she felt connected to. Each horse is different in their make up, but they all share a common language of energetic and spatial awareness, a somatic language. Willow was quite sensitive physically and energetically, something that taught me to slow down and listen in a new way. Over the years I deepened my understanding of classical dressage methods; following the progression of in-hand lunge and bridle work into equitation. I loved the emphasis on tempo, freedom in the horse's back and shoulder, mobility in the poll and general relaxation and engagement of the horse. I began to come across the work of trainers like Anja Beran and Manolo Mendez. In the past few years I studied and began to incorporate 'at liberty' work as well as positive reinforcement clicker training on the ground, surrounding confidence, attention and play. This work, coupled with my own journey into embodiment and self awareness created a channel of openness and enthusiasm in Willow that melted my heart. She was willing and enthusiastic in a whole new way. It bolstered my belief that horses, as much as us, excel beautifully with variety, play, and pure-hearted encouragement as well as mental and athletic structure. She changed my life, she was my partner, my heart. I miss her every day; she lives on in my efforts to continue to heal, grow and help other horses and people to do the same.