“It’s hard to market what I do."
People don't know what to expect when they head out to Kim Hallin's open-air "work space." They're there to "reconnect with their authentic selves"...and there are horses.
Hallin is the founder of Unbridled, LLC, an equine-assisted experiential learning business. Honestly, I’m not a “horse person” but was intrigued by Kim’s story, and how she described what she does: “I help people reconnect with their authentic selves through the healing power of horses!” My first thought: “healing power of horses???” But my interest was piqued and I reached out to Kim as a potential feature for our new LIVING HIGH VIBE video series - to inspire people to get unstuck.
Driving out to Kim's home in Ravenel, SC, the headquarters of Unbridled LLC, is serene...
...and Ben and I were excited to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and take in miles of land, greenery, and simpler living. The first thing I noticed as we pulled up and Kim greeted us was her enthusiasm, genuine smile, and bright eyes. You can FEEL her love for what she does. I truly had no idea what to expect, but her confidence made me feel comfortable.
Kim knows the feeling of being uncomfortable deeply. Like so many of us, she found herself STUCK years ago.
“I'd had a 17-year career," Kim says of her long tenure in higher education fundraising and nonprofit management,” Kim says. Then, suddenly—"I woke up to the fact that the dreams I had as a kid weren’t all coming true.” This was in her 40s, and the dreams were from Kim's childhood, when she’d spend summers at Girl Scout camp learning to ride horses. She’d drive by a ranch in Florida that worked with troubled kids and horses, and knew she wanted to do something like that one day. Decades later, she couldn't forget that.
"I had a vision as a child that I would someday have a business where I brought humans and horses together to heal together.”
As it goes with most of us, Kim let life and practicality take over. Although she had a successful career, she innately knew she wasn’t pursuing her calling or living out her purpose.
She wasn’t truly happy.
“As we get older, life happens," she says.
"We get focused on career, money and expectations that other people have for us, and we make decisions about those things. We head down a path. It was my horses that helped me see where I was and gave me the courage to change the course.”
Kim’s marriage was on a rocky road and she was trying marriage therapy to heal it. Simultaneously, her beloved horse Tempo, who she'd raised from birth, started getting aggressive.
"I thought I could manage that behavior, but every time I came out to her we had to start over because she was aggressive toward me. I went out one day in a bad place [mentally]; I was on my own agenda with her."
When Tempo bit Kim, it shocked her into an eye-opening realisation.
"At that moment I could see that my horse had more self respect than I did. I had raised her from birth and if i didn’t treat her respectfully in the moment she wasn’t going to tolerate it. I realized there were a lot of areas in my life I wasn’t treating myself with the same respect."
"I made a decision at that moment that I was going to change.”
Kim started incorporating things she was learning in marriage therapy to her time in the stables, which meant making changes to herself. "Tempo started changing and our relationship began healing.”
This is the foundation of what Kim does at Unbridled.
“I’m not a therapist,” she says. “The horses are the teachers, I’m the facilitator - helping people understand and interpret the horse’s body language. Many people don’t know about horse behavior, even horse people.”
Kim has studied her herd for over 15 years and become an expert in translating their movements.
“Horses are completely honest, with no hidden agenda or hidden fears. They want to be in balance always," says Kim.
Kim’s horses are completely free to do whatever they want. She doesn't use any halters or equipment during sessions. "If a horse is uncomfortable in the moment it’ll walk away. Setting boundaries between what’s making them uncomfortable. They respect each other’s personal space."
These animals, Kim explains, shift when they encounter a human: "When we make the changes to bring ourselves more in balance, authentic and centered, the horses change in positive ways. It gives us really clear feedback when we’re making the right changes in ourselves.”
When one horse did walk away from me during our session, it actually made me sad. I didn’t realize how I was feeling at that moment until Kim asked me, and we had a little chuckle because it seems so silly!
"As humans we like to assign REASONS to things, but with horses, it’s much more cut-and-dry. It's much more honest."
“If I’m not in a good energy space they won’t interact with me, even though I see them every day. It doesn’t mean they don’t like me. They either feel drawn to your energy or put off by your energy.” She goes deeper on that thought, “Horses aren’t turned off by fear; they get disconcerted if you’re incongruent. If you’re afraid, but trying to push through it and pretend you’re not, the horse can sense that. If you’re confident and you’re holding back, the horses always know when you’re not acting the way you feel.”
When you visit Kim’s farm for a session, you’re taken completely out of your comfort zone. You are able to step away from what is bothering you at the moment or causing anxiety in your day-to-day life. You focus on the present moment with the horses.
“Horses live completely in the present moment,” Kim explains. “We spend a lot of time thinking about the past (regret) or future (anxiety). The truth is the present moment is the only one that’s ever real and the only one that we can ever have influence over.”
I went into my mini-session not even thinking I had patterns to work out. Then I met Marcus. He's the horse I worked with, and he showed me that I did have some chinks in my armor!
“Interacting with the horses brings patterns and behaviors to the surface," explained Kim. "Then we can let them go."
"I’m not a therapist," she admits, "but I am able to draw attention to the patterns for people and ask them if there are other areas in their life where the patterns occur. Then it’s up to them to decide how they want to apply that to their lives.”
She's right—how does one market horse-human healing?
After our visit to the farm, I told Ben, “I want to buy a session for everyone I know!” I want to thank Kim for an experience that's incredibly difficult to put into words. This is exactly what Living High Vibe is about—the experiences that push you into the unknown and pull you out of that rut; experiences like meeting Kim and Marcus that get people UNSTUCK.
For readers of this blog, Kim is offering a 25% discount for her June 23rd workshop—The Art of Doing Nothing: Embracing the Power of Being Present! To get the discount, email Kim (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the subject line: "Live High Vibe."
Living High Vibe...
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