We had the good fortune of connecting with Kathryn Hofstetter and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kathryn, what do you attribute your success to?
I think more than anything it comes down to authenticity and intuition. The work I do really requires both. The authenticity piece having to do not only with how I present what I have to offer, but in how I show up with both my human and equine clients. In centering my work around creating safe and sacred spaces, in which people and horses can show up with totally raw vulnerability, I have to lead by example. Allowing another being, equine or human, to witness the parts of ourselves that we have been taught to hide and lock away- because we have learned that those parts are perceived as too much, too weak, too scary, etc, is one of the bravest things we can do. The intuition part is really my compass for the whole thing, and it’s what allows me to meet my clients where they’re at, teach and facilitate in a way that works best for their learning style, and actively listen to understand how they can best be supported in their growth.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My work has several different facets, including holistic horsemanship, energy work, practitioner education and certification, facilitation of Mustang Mystery School- which, in short, is a program for those looking to explore the deeper energetic and esoteric lessons horses have to offer. I am also an Equine Trauma Specialist, and thus a significant portion of my work is focused on supporting troubled horses who have endured various kinds of difficulty in their life. Something that really excites me about my work is the opportunity to explore shadow work, the growth and discovery we all have to do around the parts of ourselves we have been taught to hide and the ways in which we have learned to hide those parts, with my clients. Through the strengthening of emotional awareness and development of devotion to empathy, I get to watch my clients grow to meet the parts of themselves they’ve been taught to shut down or reject, with curiosity and compassion.

I have been doing this work professionally for over a decade now, and really what got me to where I am now has been a combination of a few things. First and foremost, it’s maintaining a steadfast devotion to advocacy for the horse and reverence for their individuality. Always viewing myself as a student and seeking to learn from the horses and clients I meet, just as much as I teach, is also a huge element. In addition, meeting my clients with understanding over judgement, and with curiosity about how I can best offer support in order to fit their unique needs, rather than trying to fit them into the mold of some kind of prescribed “method”.

One of the greatest challenges I have faced in my career has been my age. I got started when I was extremely young, often working with clients who were forty or fifty years my senior. I have been fortunate in that my age hasn’t been a sticking point for the overwhelming majority of my clients, however it was definitely an obstacle in terms of my ability to be taken seriously as a professional in the industry and in my community. This felt especially challenging in situations when my age meant I was overlooked for opportunities that would then be given to other professionals who were older, but had less professional experience and academic training. The most poignant lesson for me in all of that, and really in general, has been to trust that the people and opportunities who are truly meant for you will always find you.

If the folks I meet take away a particular idea from meeting me or finding my work, I think most of all I would want it to be that it’s never too late to begin healing the parts of us that feel broken and find the pieces of ourselves we thought were lost.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Oh gosh, well, I feel like the most obvious answer is that I would take a visitor out to the ranch or on a trail ride- the Santa Monica Mountains are full of so many gorgeous trails! I like to ride with music on, especially western inspired when I’m on the trail, and lately my favorite choice has been a great local artist and friend of mine, James Tate Wilson (@jamestatewilson). I would definitely want to visit Descanso Gardens, I love the rose garden and it’s the only place I’ve found in LA where you can sit in a grove of Redwood trees, so by default, it’s my favorite. I would also take them to visit the cemetery cats, @closeupthecemeterycat and his friends Jett and Sphynxie, at Hollywood Forever. I’d also definitely love to get dressed up and go out dancing at Cicada Club (@cicadarestaurant), especially if Luke Carlsen (@lukedavidcarlsen) and his band were playing! Lastly, I’d probably take an out of town visitor on a day trip up to Ojai to explore Bart’s Books (@bartsbooksojai).

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Above all I want to dedicate my shoutout to the horses, as they are my greatest teachers in life. In addition, my wonderful clients, who inspire me every day with their remarkable bravery, vulnerability, and devotion to continual growth and learning. Also my mentors- JoAnn, Vicki, and Jordan, who have each helped me to find the missing pieces of myself along the way. Lastly I’d love to acknowledge my family, who have never stopped believing in my journey and who encourage me to follow my heart, no matter where it leads.

Website: Www.openhearthorsemanship.com

Instagram: @openhearthorsemanship

Other: Email: info@openhearthorsemanship.com

Image Credits
Shan Shoji, Nica Ware, Colleen Robinson

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