My Story – Meet your coach, Elisabeth Denizot
Dually Certified: Equine Gestalt Coach and Master Gestaltist
Something was missing in my life. I had a caring, supportive husband, a loving, creative daughter, in-laws I simply adored, a meaningful career as a teacher and I lived in a place that I knew had captured my heart forever. Yet, something was missing, I was feeling emptiness that affected my life. It dawned upon me that, although I had looked around for a place to ride horses when I moved from France to Colorado, I had gotten caught up in life’ s daily turmoil and never completed that quest. For many years, starting in my early teens until I moved over, I rode horses. I loved learning the basics of dressage, jumping and cross-country at my Eventing riding school. And above all, I loved being in their presence.
I took the first step by volunteering at Rocky Mountain Riding Therapy which got my heart filled up. Yet, deep inside, I knew I needed more if I was to follow my true calling. Intuitively, I knew that there was more to horses than riding them. I knew that the well-being I experienced merely by standing in their presence could benefit others also.
When statistics about teenage depression rates were brought up, I did not see numbers, I saw faces. I saw the faces of my own high school students. The stress and anxieties they shared with me. Sometimes, they would be absent from class, and I would learn that their mental health had required special professional care. My heart ached when I heard about the belief that their lives would be over if they did not get into a “good” college. The difficulty some of them had to “fit in the social scene.” The feeling that they were never “enough”. Not enough academically, socially, physically. Never good enough to fulfill all of society’s expectations and requirements. Never good enough and losing their soul in the search of the unattainable.
A situation occurred at work. It got to a point where I sank deep into depression which affected not only my health but our family life. My husband was urging me to quit my job. From a rational point of view, it made sense to put a stop to the toxicity generated at work that was permeating my personal life. Now, listening to my gut, I knew this was not the way I wanted to leave. I was surrounded by loved ones who were giving me their full trust and support. I also knew I needed additional guidance.
This manifested in the form of an article in the front section of our local newspaper. It was featuring yoga with the goats. I love goats -and yoga, so I naturally started reading it. At the end, in small prints, it specified that the yoga teacher was renting the space and the goats, from Julia McMonagle, Equine Gestalt Coach. Two words jumped at me “Equine” and “Coach”. Both resonated deeply with me. I skipped over the middle word “Gestalt”. I had heard of it, that was good enough. I would have a coach and if her coaching was not what I had hoped for, at the very least, there would be a horse…
The coach turned out to be well above my expectations. And her partnership with her equines was beyond anything I could ever have envisioned. As I was working with her and her equine partners, I gained clarity. I now saw that toxic situation at work as a gift in disguise. I learned to set boundaries. I learned to respect myself. I learned to step into my inner power.
And I signed up to become an Equine Gestalt Coach. The nebulous word Gestalt took on its full meaning and it became obvious to me how powerful a modality this was, even more so combined with the healing power of horses.
The situation at work started to shift and finally boom-ranged back to the people who had initiated it. A couple years later, I ended up retiring from that place. Retiring. Not quitting. I was not defeated. I was empowered. I had been creating the path that I wanted for myself and for my family. I was fulfilling my life’s purpose.
When I started the Equine Gestalt Coaching program, I knew I was in the right place to be the change I needed to be for my students and my own daughter. My own experience was a rewarding journey of introspection and personal growth. It also helped me to gain skills necessary to guide others from anxiety and fear to empowerment and awareness that our destiny is in our own hands. This is how Nurturing Strides was born.
It is up to us as parents and educators to take the first step. The first step towards nurturing our own selves. The first nurturing, courageous step to tackle whatever unfinished business we carry with us and pass on to our children without even being aware of it.
It is up to us to change by doing our own work and freeing space for our children to thrive. Only through self-awareness will we make a difference.
What we are not aware of controls us.
Take the first Nurturing Stride!
If you wonder whether I ever did yoga with the goats:
And look who joined our family on my birthday…
Meet My Equine Partners
Horses read through us like an open book. As prey animals, their survival depends on their ability to accurately read their environment. They need to be able to identify a mountain lion lurking in the distance and to know whether the predator has a full stomach or needs to eat.
Any incongruency in their environment is perceived as a threat. Horses love harmony. They are masters at signaling to us, in a non-judgmental way, that we are not congruent, that is, when our mind, guts and body are not aligned. They know to guide us towards achieving congruency.
Spirit The Caring Mare
Spirit is a 17- year- old bay Trakehner. She is a natural, caring leader. At her former barn, she was sharing a pasture with several other mares. A young mustang, Jasper was introduced to the herd. One day, one of the other mares attacked Jasper. Spirit interfered to protect her. Spirit got injured but Jasper was safe and the aggressive mare was moved to a different paddock. With her highly sensitive and intuitive nature, Spirit connects deeply with animals and humans alike. She will guide you to find your Truth.
Casper, The Friendly Horse
Casper is a 7- year- old grey Quarter Horse. He has a sweet temperament and loves to be close to humans. When he first met Spirit, he was happy to recognize her as his leader and they became friends in an instant. They love grazing together off of the same hay net even if they each have their own. Casper will eat anything that looks edible to him. He also loves water – whether it is a shower or stepping into his water tank! On top of his curious, adventurous nature, he deeply connects from his heart to yours.