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A HORSE-FIRST EQUESTRIAN WITH A HUMAN-FIRST APPROACH

My desire to combine human and equine methodologies came from my own struggles with my horses and the need to connect with my own mind and body before I could expect my horses to connect with theirs.

I understand that in order to help our horses, we must also help ourselves. This is why I am proud to be able to offer a combination of human and equine services to help build a thriving partnership.

I've been there, and it gets better.

Hello,

My name is Danielle Crowell

I am a registered 500-hr Yoga Teacher, Pilates Instructor, and Personal Trainer, though I no longer actively teach classes. I am also a certified Life Coach and Girls Self Esteem Coach™, studying to become an NLP practitioner, and most recently, I am a Lazaris Nerve Release Technique™ certified practitioner.

I am the podcast host of The Equestrian Connection by wehorse.

And, I run my own creative studio, Mountain Made Creative, where I design websites, as well as assist with marketing and brand strategy, for businesses focused on the well-being of humans and animals.

FUN FACTS

My husband and I built our own horse farm and it is one of my proudest accomplishments to date.
I owned a Yoga and Pilates studio alongside my mother from June 2015 to November 2019.
A rooster was discarded next to our property and we took him in for six months over the winter before bringing him to a farm sanctuary. His feathers adorn the brim of my hat.
I battled an eating disorder in my late teens and early 20s, and after I recovered, I mentored other girls dealing with the same issues.
I was hit by an SUV while I was crossing the street, and it broke my pelvis in two places. I rehabilitated my body using Yoga and Pilates, which is why I was inspired to open the studio and help others.

There are no strange creatures. Only blinkered people.

Newt Scamander, Fantastic Beasts

My Story.

I battled anorexia from the age of 17 until my early-mid 20s. I never felt good enough and restricting my food was my way to feel as though I was in control. I sabotaged relationships and my education to stay small.

In 2014, I was hit by an SUV while walking home. I broke my pelvis in two places, and I got a 4-inch long Harry Potter-esque lightning bolt scar on the top of my head (except mine is hidden amongst my hair). It was my wake-up call. This was my chance to make things right with my body in order to help her heal and grow stronger. This body that I had been depriving, hating, and punishing for so long deserved my love and respect.

This sent me on a journey of self-discovery, personal growth, and a new career trajectory. I left my corporate marketing job where I was on the fast track to a large promotion and hefty salary to start from nothing and help others. I was only 24 years old, yet somehow, people took me seriously (or at least those who didn't just didn't come around).

My combined training led me to learn about muscles, fascia, compensations, imbalances, mental blocks, breathwork, and so much more. It opened doors for me to help others heal; physically and emotionally. I led groups for young girls around body image and self-love, I spoke on stages, I began to see myself for whom I am rather than whom my limiting beliefs told me I should be, and I helped others do the same.

I began to receive messages or have people hang around after class to tell me that I was willing to say the things they were afraid to admit; that hearing my journey inspired them to seek their own healing. I realized the importance of sharing our stories, speaking our truth, and lending our voice.

In 2018, a young horse named Minnesota (Sota) came into my life. She was my dream horse and for my limited budget at the time, I spared no expense. I had big goals for this horse and me.

A few months into our partnership she began exhibiting strange behavioral quirks and I would later come to realize that those quirks were the beginning of a new journey. Over the next four years, Sota became aggressive; she would rear, buck, bolt, kick out, and bite. I spent thousands of dollars on massage, chiropractic, saddle adjustments, injections, tack changes, and training... But nothing worked. Where had my dream horse gone? I was so ashamed of myself; I felt like I failed and that I wasn't worthy. That same girl who felt she had to make herself feel small started showing up again. It felt like everything I knew and studied didn't matter; I was so self-conscious that I stopped trusting my knowledge and intuition. I stopped listening to my inner voice and started asking and trusting the advice of anyone and everyone, even if they contradicted each other and sent me in confusing spirals where I wasted more time, money, and energy. As long as it was anyone but myself.

Eventually, I had to give up; my brain couldn't take the torment any longer. I knew that if I tried to sell her (or in her case, give her away) she might not end up in the best place, so I promised her that she was safe with me; I didn't need anything from her and she owed me nothing. Rather than keep trying to "fix" her, I just began to let her be. But the interesting thing is that once I softened, she did too. The look of pain in her eyes was still there, but her hard edges softened. That was when I realized that I understood her. I knew the frustration of doctors not listening to me; I knew the pain of not being seen or heard; I knew the fear of not knowing what was wrong with you and wondering why you couldn't just feel better. I began to understand.

A few months later in 2021, through quite literally divine intervention, I met some truly educated and inspiring people who with their help, advice, and education, were able to help me put the pieces of Sota back together.

I realized that I needed to slow down, take a step back, and trust my inner knowledge. I needed to stop listening to everyone who hadn't been in our shoes before yet was quick to give me their advice anyways. I needed to stop trying the methods and equipment that I knew weren't right for us just because others used them. I needed to look at my horse the same way I would someone who was battling chronic pain; the anger from not being heard or understood, the compensation and holding patterns, the mental blocks that keep them from healing, and the knowing that the areas of lameness are not always the source of the issue. This experience sent me on yet another journey; one where I was reminded that my knowledge is valuable, that my intuition is important, and that I need to be willing to equally take up space and hold space. The same limiting beliefs that told me to stay small all those years ago needed to once again be reminded of who I am and what I'm capable of.

Now, I am dedicated to taking my lived experiences, turning them into learning experiences, and sharing them with you in case you can learn from or be inspired by them too. It's not always easy, or pretty, or straight-and-narrow, but it's real.

Sometimes I will correct myself; sometimes I will say "hey, actually I learned something else that is better," or "I had time to process that, and here's the thing..."

But I'm done being limited by negative self-talk, fear of making a mistake, or the belief of "who am I to...?"

I'm showing up, taking up space, and vulnerably sharing my thoughts, experiences, learnings, setbacks, and comebacks.

I hope I can inspire you to show up for yourself - and your animals - too.

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