Dan Weil, CPCC

A Sacred Place and Experience

Remember what it was like — that fully embodied experience when you learned something new through an experience that required ALL of you?

How long has it been since you felt that excitement?

Having just returned from Santa Fe I was back in Los Angeles County. I had just parked my car, retrieved my Longaberger® Market Basket from the back of the car, and checked that my clothes were in order before walking into Trader Joe’s market.

A couple of days before, I was lying flat on my back breathing deeply, with 1500 pounds of thoroughbred horse standing over me… silhouetted against a New Mexico blue sky.

I noticed dirt from New Mexico still clung to my moccasins. I smiled and chose to let this “magic dust” cling to my shoes and not dust them off. I wanted it to wear off naturally. I wanted it to stay with me and at the same time I found comfort knowing that it would wear off — spreading a bit of this “magic dust” here in this place.

I briefly wondered how long the dust would stay on my shoes. It seemed like these tiny bits of magic dust from a sacred place in New Mexico could only spread the positivity that emanates from them and that I now carry integrated with me.

I went to New Mexico to learn. I needed to shift away from the vibration of daily life. I needed this trip to be a bit of a journey. I had our local dealership check to make sure the car was road-ready, packed the Subaru, “see you soon” and love to my family, and drove out to New Mexico — a twelve and a half hour drive.

As my journey went on, daily life fell further and further behind and I felt myself relax further into the adventure and into the unknowing.

My destination and place of impending adventure was Thunderbird Ridge and EQUUS. Next door is Rancho Encantado by Four Seasons, nearby is Tesuque Village and the Tesuque Pueblo. In fact, nearby are at least nine different pueblos — Nambé, Pojoaque, Ohkay Owingeh to name a few. Santa Fe is within 20 minutes drive.

When I arrived I met up with Kelly Wendorf and Scott Strachan at Thunderbird Ridge. Here at the EQUUS Experiential Discovery and Learning Campus, they have developed masterful coaching programs — one of which is The EQUUS Experience.® EQUUS integrates coaching, discovery and learning through experience. I’m struck by how engaged and humble Kelly and Scott are. They are grounded, present, connected and completely fun in a mix that it is immediately relaxing.

We spent some time socializing and getting to know each other a bit, allowing me space to get oriented on the campus. I was cooling my highway afterburners and letting my “road face” go. A hummingbird came up to us on the back porch. A raven glided by and called out as it landed somewhere nearby. We all got excited about a beautiful red racer snake that wound its way up from the base of a tree and disappeared into the heights of the tree’s canopy. A light evening breeze breathed its way through the hills. Kelly and Scott both said, “Notice this. Powerful animal medicine is present.”

I knew I was in for something special when I headed out to Santa Fe. At the end of the trip I realize that I had no idea that I would shed so much — that the offering would be so completely generous — and that what was here was so truthfully sacred. I felt it as I sat with them. The ancient sacred energy here pulses from deep underneath this place.

It’s welcoming and warm; connected and cared for; it’s held with honor and respect and the space is open for it to thrive here. It’s a smart and intuitive mix of global perspective and experience, social responsibility, empathy and respect that had Kelly and Scott contact the Traditional Carers of this land and ask permission for the work that they are doing. A Tesuque Elder gave permission — blessed the land and blessed the herd. The local pueblos remain connected to this place in very special ways to this day.

I’ve been a Co-Active® Coach (CPCC) for a few years now. Even before my EQUUS Experience,® I was confident that I understood words like; honesty, integrity, authenticity, presence, truth. Sure, this list of words are all strong parts of my value system. Intellectually, I “get” these words. Beyond my brain, in my other neuro-centers, I’ve experienced these words before. I’ve taken my fingernail and scratched at the surface, removing the jaded surface patina to reveal the pure shiny surface underneath and felt the meaning of these words. I’ve stepped back and looked at these words. I’ve admired them and could stand with them and next to them. I’ve even gotten in and ridden around with them at over 120 MPH and walked with them on deeply wooded paths. I always have them with me — honesty, integrity, authenticity, presence and truth. Tell me the truth and the rest is easy. Yes, I can be “with” truth.

I thought I understood the language and conversation of these words and I certainly did at some level. Yet somehow, it was not until this — when I went through the EQUUS Experience® with Kelly, Scott, the horse herd and Cisco my equine tutor — that I felt the moment of total integration between my neuro-centers and all of my physical and spiritual self.

Sound a little too out there? I might have thought so too before this. I don’t anymore.

Everything else evaporated. What mattered was the present moment and the connection I was building with Kelly, with Scott, and with Cisco. The thing about presence is that it’s threaded so neatly and beautifully with “relevance.”

Open up and look underneath the carefully chosen words to the concepts there and you might find something that you connect with. Let the brain in your head relax and tap into your heart. Who shows up with you has meaning. When you slow down, what can you connect with and what do you hear?

The participation of the herd and its members is carefully integrated into a larger experience and with permission from the herd (the horses know that they can say no — they are never forced into participating). The horses inspire and teach in partnership. The experience beyond any interaction with the horse is the spot-on relevance of the extraordinary, resonant poetry that Kelly and Scott bring in. It’s the creative relevance of the art on the property and the curated thoughtful places where you can wander or sit in reflection or just “be.”

The EQUUS mix gives you an opportunity to be genuinely present in the moment. It reconnects you to something you might have thought you had lost. It unwraps something different for each person. It inspires each of differently. I was brought to this so entirely beautifully, entirely respectfully and entirely perfectly. Impact.

There was a moment when I needed a break and took a breath. I thought to myself, “So, the force does exist.”

Professional Coaches are always in a place of curiosity and learning. My experience has inspired and lifted me — further shaping and expanding what my coaching is for my clients. What I hear now, what I reflect in my clients, is so very much more.

I’m forever changed and EQUUS Inspired.


This is the only place in the world where you can find the specific mix offered by Kelly, Scott and the herd — through The EQUUS Experience® and programs.