HERD Institute students and graduates are all familiar with a mantra I borrowed from one of my professors, Dr. Theopia Jackson, “Sit with the discomfort, and breathe through to possibilities”. This phrase was revisited many times this month as we begin to expand our offerings at The HERD, and develop new and exciting programs for our members. The HERD faculty gathered together last week in Texas for a development day, and I am so grateful to each and every one of them for their dedication, expertise, integrity, and compassion in creating ways for us to continue to offer personalized, impactful, and ethical programs through this phase of growth in The HERD. It’s so important to me that this outstanding group of facilitators and trainers feel connected with each other in the work that we are bringing out into the world, and to support each other in our development. As we learn from each other, we can better facilitate learning for others.

One of the many things I was reminded of as part of this development process is the value of listening to our gut, owning our mistakes, circling back, and taking the time to find another way to approach a task, whilst holding compassion for self and other. The faculty team went above and beyond their call of duty in supporting my efforts to translate the ideas and vision in my mind into actionable items.

Several times during the process, I was reminded of Brené Brown’s quotes around “vulnerability being the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change”, and how “creativity is the way I share my soul with the world”. Wow, that was tough! There were many moments when I felt myself laid bare – it was simultaneously exhilarating and terrifying! The team met me with grace, patience, and empathy, and together we worked out how to take our next steps towards our mission of creating and sustaining this global HERD community. I have much to be grateful for.

I wanted to share my experience of this process for those of you who sometimes question whether you have what it takes to do this work. By the fact of your questioning, you have told me more than you know: that you are willing to make mistakes and learn from them; that you are stepping in with courage and vulnerability; that you are aware of how much more there is to learn (because it never stops!); and that you hold a personal ethic which demands integrity in what you offer your clients and participants. I want you to know that I see you, and not only have I been there, but I’m in it too. What gets me through the process is self-compassion, knowing when to ask for help, and knowing that the transformation will be worth it.

As a result of our faculty development day, we are now able to offer The HERD Equine-Facilitated Learning Certification in various locations across the USA. We will be following this launch next summer with EFL trainings in the UK. We will also be offering a Level 2 Certification in 2019 for those who want to deepen their EFL practice, with specialization tracks. Through a spirit of abundance, generosity of spirit, and a commitment to lift each other up, we can empower each other to step up, be seen, and follow our passion to bring Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy and Learning to more people. As we head towards Thanksgiving, I know that I have much to be deeply thankful for.

Warm Wishes,

Executive Director