Meet Deb Jackson
And her equine partners
I can remember being 8 years old and spending long snow-flecked hours riding and talking with a fuzzy, winter-coated pony. We had connection, affection, trust, respect — all qualities in short supply at home. My severe asthma would abate and I would breathe deeply, body aligned and relaxed in rhythmic movement. I had a powerful listener, with an open heart and caring presence.
Throughout my life the horses were there with their wisdom, aliveness and companionship — guardian angels of my soul. They had so much to teach me. Horses brought me closer to the natural world, linking earth and heaven in a matter-of-fact way so natural to them. They live in awakened serenity. Zen masters with muzzles and manes!
Everyone’s life is a personal journey, and mine has covered a lot of territory. My undergraduate degree in Political Futuristics reflected my desire to look at creative solutions for making the world a better place. I studied and practiced Buddhism after growing up in the Catholic, Episcopalian and Lutheran faiths of my family. As a young adult I spent a decade in a gestalt-based commune, where we worked hard to help each other heal past psychic wounds.
During that time I became vitally interested in organizations and families and the ways of our human herds. I furthered my studies at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, in Organization Development and Transformation. It was at CIIS that I was able to explore the worlds of Jungian myth and archetype, and somatic healing modalities. I was particularly influenced by William Bridges (Transitions), Joan Halifax (Death & Dying), Joanna Macy (Spiritual Ecology) and Angeles Arrien (Intuition, Cultural Anthropology).
Those who have known me longest would probably describe me as an innovator with a big heart. As a social entrepreneur I have founded businesses that address the needs of people, like myself, who find themselves challenged by life’s biggest transitions.
In 1989 I founded Natural Resources, a Pregnancy and Childbirth Center in San Francisco. Twenty-five years later it continues to provide a way for families in the City to learn of their full range of options, how to make key decisions, and all this within the safe container of a supportive community. At Natural Resources I started the Changing Woman support group for pregnant women providing coaching and support for a transition involving every aspect of a woman’s life. Changing Woman addressed the change in their life story, that in-between zone, where a mother is created.
The Navajo consider Changing Woman the personification of the Earth and the cycles of life and death and rebirth. I have always considered her the deity that reflected my own life, and called me back to my spirit.
When caring for my own aging parents, I focused on the challenge of becoming a family caregiver. What I needed more than answers and supervision, was to know the important questions, and the confidence to access my own inner wisdom. I created Eldercare Hawaii to provide families a community of support within which we could navigate the lives, and deaths, of our closest loved ones.
When I reached 60 years, my life came full circle, and I began riding again. From a more experienced standpoint, I was able to see horses in a whole new way. Seeking to learn what it is to become an elder, began volunteering and founded a therapeutic riding program for children in foster care. This amazing experience made me hungry to learn more about the profound ways horses help humans with their superior empathic and sentient abilities, their kind spirits, and their highly developed social intuition.
In 2013 I began the 18-month certification program in Equine Gestalt Coaching through Touched By A Horse in my birth state of Colorado. Driving from the airport to the ranch in Longmont, I passed those fields I rode in as a child. I had truly come full circle.
When we shift our perspective, and see horses for what they truly have to offer and not simply through the filter of our own needs for work, sport or war, we are able to see their extraordinary gifts. Partnering with horses in my coaching work, I am able to bring a keener, more clairsentient awareness for my clients. Horses want to serve humans, and sense when we are congruent with our truth, or moving from some old story limiting and disempowering us. As humans, we’re really good at fooling ourselves and others. But, you will not be able to fool a horse because they are continually reading your energy, your authenticity and your heart — not your words. Your body and somatics, not your mind and its thoughts.
Windhorse is a Tibetan Buddhist concept bringing the energy of basic goodness and spirit (wind) together with the stability and groundedness of the horse’s four hooves and large, regal stature. When we are “riding the Windhorse” we find we have compassion for ourselves and others, wisdom that comes from within, and a confidence that is our birthright.
The Touched By A Horse EGC certification program is demanding, requires students to go deep and do their personal work. The core competencies covered in depth over a 2 year term are Equine Knowledge, Human Dynamics, Somatics and Intuition, Coaching, Facilitation and Business Development. It is by far the most extensive program in the field currently, and graduates are practicing throughout the US and Canada. Students attend a minimum of 8 4-day hands-on workshops in Colorado, Virginia, Montana and Arizona. Read more here.
It has been an amazing experience, with extraordinary people and horses. I am honored to be certified in this program, and look forward to this being my final career, integrating all the parts of my journey into the work I love the most, the gift I offer with my full being.
Bueno found me with the help of the kids at Sonoma County Children's Village in California. At two years old he went to live with a family struggling with chronic illness, and supported both children and adults with his loving, constant presence. Foster children found confidence, non-judgmental affection and connection with Bueno.
All his life he has been a beautiful teacher and guide. He has a generous heart, the wisdom of a sage, and is a good friend to all. He is my partner in coaching, and is the co-founder of Windhorse Full Circle Coaching!
April Alert is a beautiful 9-year-old Morgan mare who attended Feather River College’s Equine Studies program with Chase Harrington, a young man who still loves her and follows her progress.
April brings a youthful, bright and energetic presence. Her manners and training are impeccable and she is proud of it. She excels in leadership training, is intelligent and interested in everything!