Cassandra and I share a passion for horses and the belief that horses are intensely spiritual and healing beings. She has turned her passion into creating The Reflective Horse [TRH], a unique and inspiring range of programs combined to support opportunities for personal growth for adults and teens.
TRH is based at Odacité’s very own birthplace, Topanga Canyon. It offers extraordinary equine learning experiences, where entirely new perspectives on communication, relationship and self-reflection can be accessed and explored.
We are so excited to feature Cassandra as an Odacité Kind of Girl. Her amazing work is based on the idea that it is human nature to want to improve physically, intellectually, and emotionally, her programs with horses will help do exactly that in a very profound, fun and exciting way!
Tell Odacité beauty lovers a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to begin equine therapy and coaching.
I’m so honored to be sharing a little of my story with fellow Odacité women! Horses were an informative part of my life growing up in England, in fact I sometimes say horses saved my life. Particularly between the ages of 6 to 16 when many emotional challenges were surfacing for me, they acted as the ground I could rely on, a solid presence, a non-judgmental witness providing pure unbiased reflection, however I turned up. Whilst raising my three sons I began studying emotional intelligence, communication and coaching modalities, alongside revisiting my love of horses through my friend Roberto Pless, champion bareback jockey of El Palio in Siena, Italy. This freedom on the horse, with no tools of control, was not only a personal development experience but reminded me of my own spirit, sparking my vision; to put my experiences together to create Somatic Riding™ and an Equine Interactive Coaching & Therapy program to allow others to experience themselves through the eyes of the horse.
All of us here at Odacité are extremely moved by The Reflective Horse and everything is has to offer. Could you share its story and the philosophy behind it.
Thank you so much! Yes, The Reflective Horse has grown and flourished through a shared vision of mine and that of my compadre Laura Mayer at TRH’ home-base at Mesa Ranch in Topanga. Our vision; to provide exceptional personal development programs through nature-based experiences with horses in a nurturing environment. At the root of The Reflective Horses’ programs is the knowledge that horses are intensely spiritual beings with the ability to yield truths that are often deeply buried inside. The horse is a symbol of transcendence and we have the opportunity to become the Centaur. We offer Somatic Riding™ programs for those wishing to discover their potential through the eyes of nature, as well as Equine Therapy Programs for teenagers and adults at residential treatment centers, in recovery from substance abuse and mental health challenges.
Could you share with us one of the first things you teach to students who are new to Somatic Riding. What skills can you develop from your program and who is it most suitable for?
Somatic Riding™ is a concept I developed, taking away all tools of control often associated with riding a horse; like metal bits in the horse's mouth, saddle, spurs, whips and devices. To me the word Somatic means, consciousness of the body, distinct from the mind. When we are left with only ourselves, we remember how to communicate non-verbally, to intuit, to perceive another. I support clients in remembering how to be present, using body language and breath to rediscover, slow down and allow a partnership to develop with the horse based on mutual trust and respect. We offer 6 sessions packages where clients learn herd-dynamics and ground-work skills, through to uniting in a bareback riding experience when the time is right for both horse and client. Anyone who has an interest and love of horses from the age of 16 and up is welcome!
I understand that you are creating a non-profit foundation that will enable The Reflective Horse to provide programs to wider groups of women and youth. Could you give us some more details and maybe a little inside scoop on what project you are currently most excited about?
I’m delighted you’ve asked me this question! Yes, The Reflective Horse Foundation is in launch mode. We will be primarily providing programs for youth and women at risk. Our vision is for TRH Ranches across the country providing life-skills through the eyes of nature. Our pilot project, in collaboration with Beth Behrs (2 Broke Girls,) is She Herd Power
- an Equine Therapy Program for Women Survivors of Sexual Assault & Abuse. This is the first of many She Herd Power programs spanning California in 2017 onward. The link
is on TRH website if you would like to discover more about how to support this program.
Last but not least, could you tell our readers what your all-time favorite Odacité product(s) is and how you use it in your skincare regime.
I discovered Odacité in 2013 and fell in love. The fresh, pure ingredients and precious plant extracts feel magical on my skin and as I am outdoors in the Topanga Mountain sun 7 days a week, I need to keep my skin nourished and moisturized. My all-time favorite, (which I use ice cold from the fridge) is the Jojoba Beads Exfoliant which I use in place of a cleanser 2-3 times a week during my morning shower. My current absolute and glorious favorite is C For Colette, a Vitamin C + Superfood Serum which I use every day with my usual moisturizer (from Puremedy) and my skin feels alive and radiant all day. Lastly, a special treat is the Night Time Antioxidant Repair Serum; I need to fight those free radicals whilst I sleep, so I use this in the evening before bed after washing my face with cold water.
Photo Credit: Bri Cimino - http://beneath-the-saddle.com