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A horse named Zepher taught me to lead with love. Here’s how I’m paying it forward.
heather as a young girl standing with her horse zepher

A horse named Zepher taught me to lead with love. Here’s how I’m paying it forward.

There comes the point in our career journey when we recognize we are not the same person as when we first started. As we grow, we pick up new techniques, further our education, and realize our original goals may not intersect with our new perspective. 

For Untethered, it started as a slow burn. Something was rumbling deep down, telling us it was time for the next evolution of our business. Colby and I knew we needed to offer something beyond traditional coaching and consulting. It had to be more profound – an accelerated program that was powerful enough to transform lives in a matter of months. 

To pull this off, we had to dig deep. Colby and I have 30+ years of coaching executives, many of whom come from Fortune 500 companies. Plus, I hold a Ph.D. in Organizational Systems – Leading Transformational Change. But as it turns out, sparking expedited growth in our own organization would draw on an experience long before this business was even a twinkle in my eye.


A Girl and Her Horse

When I was eight years old, my dad bought me a gorgeous chestnut-colored American Quarter horse we named Zepher Blue. I was a tiny peanut back then, and standing next to Zepher made me look even smaller! Zepher was my best friend growing up. We did everything together. 

He was there for me through my formative years, helping me navigate the difficult trials of getting older and typical teenage challenges – some meaningful, some benign. I didn’t realize it then, but Zepher was one of my most profound teachers. Learning how to ride Zepher bareback (while not getting bucked off), taking care of him, spending those quiet moments together – that’s what kept me grounded and inspired. 

heather as a young girl standing in front of her horse zepher

When I went off to college, Zepher moved in with his girlfriend Dawn (yes, horses can have girlfriends, too). Shortly thereafter, I received the devastating news that my Zepher had died – just one week after Dawn. To me, this was one of those indisputable moments of pure heartbreak. Just as Zepher’s heart broke for Dawn, mine did for him.

I did not touch another horse for almost 15 years. It wasn’t necessarily a conscious decision, but the wound was too deep and too brutal for me to open up that part of my heart again. 

That is, until one pivotal sacred plant medicine journey.


The “Ayahuasca Girl”

Fast forward a few decades, I am now in the middle of my transition out of corporate America. I was working with an executive coach at the time because I needed some serious help. Keep in mind; this was not a traditional coaching program – it was much more spiritual and intuitive. We’d been working together for three months, and one day, in the middle of a session, she took a deep breath and said, “oh my God, you’re my ayahuasca girl.” 

Naturally, I had no clue what she was talking about. Growing up, I had not experimented with any sort of drug and was therefore pretty clueless. But I put my trust in this coach and dove into the world of plant medicine head first.

Many people start their plant medicine journey a bit more subtly, but in true fashion, Colby and I dove straight in. At this point, we’ve sat for nearly 25 Ayahuasca ceremonies together. During one of those early journeys, I started to feel this phrase ringing in my heart, saying, “horse medicine, horse medicine! You have horse medicine.” Not to mention, I was surrounded by 12 horses during this retreat. There was no subtlety in this message, that’s for sure.

I get home and jumped on Google and discovered equine-facilitated coaching. There was my answer. I immediately jumped into a year and a half long apprenticeship to fully understand how Colby and I could integrate it into our practice. As it would turn out, there were a lot of repeat lessons in my training. Much of what I learned was what I had already done as a kid with my beloved Zepher. 


Full Circle Moment

This trail of breadcrumbs stretching back to my early childhood is a testament to one of our core values, which is leading with love. My love for Zepher is responsible for the new equine coaching growth intensive we are so excited to introduce to all of you. The love I share with my husband and business partner, who dove in headfirst to Ayahuasca ceremonies with me, is to thank for our new plant medicine growth intensive. 

heather and colby walking together in nature

There is no service Colby and I are offering that we haven’t personally experienced ourselves. We understand first-hand the transformative ability horses and sacred plant medicine has to help individuals move through tough emotions and move past stubborn roadblocks that inhibit growth.


The Secret Sauce

Equine coaching and plant medicine are two of our most potent modalities to accelerated growth. You can grow through traditional means – but that takes a long time and typically is a windy path. The gap we fill in executive and team coaching is the need for intensive, accelerated results that quickly transform your life and leadership. 

We want to be as transparent as possible about these approaches. There is no “undoing” once you engage in equine coaching or plant medicine. These methods aren’t for those who aren’t ready for big changes. They’re for people who are eager to face the challenges within that have been resistant to change and willing to take the fast-track to get there. We are thrilled to be your trusted partners to help cross the finish line. 

Ready to grow with us? Take our Growth Leader Index Assessment now to get a birds-eye view of your readiness to move through change.