And This IS Gail!

Hi, I’m Gail and I want to welcome you to Skye Blue Acres, the physical embodiment to all that we teach; where open spaces on the farm parallel our minds, encouraging us to abandon our over-thinking default in order to acquire the mindset necessary to reframe how we see and how we function within our business and our life.

I’ve made this my life’s work:  I was a city girl living with my family in a cozy, heritage part of town with neighbors, restaurants and a book club when the idea struck to move our family.  A budding idea for a business brought us out to the rural expanse of septic’s, barns and farmhouses.

Moving my family came from a complete reframe of our lives; yet the idea to articulate the business plan came as a struggle. All the gurus advised:  “Get clear on your message first,” and there I was, stuck on Step One.

I unpacked, mucked stalls, and learned about pasture rotation methods for the horses.  I grew into my role and set boundaries to maintain happy and balanced space for my boarders and horses.  I sourced new farm suppliers and made mutually satisfying, handshake deals with our farm neighbors.  In what seemed like slow motion, the farm itself had given me—my head and my heart—the space I needed to unravel the mystery.

The clarity for the business became clear while I spent time with the horses.  I came to understand that I had never really appreciated what I had accomplished in my life.  Success had always been measured in dollars, and I wasn’t able to proclaim “I made a half-million dollars in my first year,” (I actually have seen this happen).  In prior business experiences, profit was the only measurement I allowed myself to use, and that measurement had paralyzed me.

In addition, I was terrified of “being seen,” as the face of my business.  I didn’t think there was any value in spotlighting the grit I had used to reframe the challenges in my life that had led to my biggest successes–both personal and professional–because that grit didn’t have a dime on its bottom line.

But as a trained Mediator and educator in Alternative Dispute Resolution, I had learned that the “reframe” is one of the most powerful tools we can use to shift a deadlocked position into a dialogue that can lead to a win/win situation.  It made sense that this tool could help me define what “success” meant in my own life, and ultimately revealed that what I had accomplished aligned more honestly with my values than a dollar figure.

What is Equine Guided learning?

The art of solving a problem from reframing solutions is what is at the heart of Equine Guided Learning.

For example, in business:

In 2008, just before the financial crisis hit, I decided to start a children’s shoe company.  With no prior experience in design or manufacturing, I set out for China in order to make my idea a reality.  Within 18 months, I had my own brand of shoes sitting on store shelves in a top Toronto shoe store, right there between the Uggs and Geoxes!

My shoes met the steep sales quotas needed to keep the product on the shelves that season, along with pre-orders for the following season.  While the stores wanted to continue indefinitely, I lacked the finances necessary to meet requirements that far out in the future, and so my shoes ended their run.  During this time, at home we had just welcomed our third child.  Financial failure might have been the perceived outcome of this business.  Instead I chose to reframe it.

My reframe was: 

I built a personal, successful brand of children’s shoes.  My resourcefulness was the success factor for the business.

A personal example:

A core image of my life, one I never questioned, was to see myself married, with a family.  Whenever I dated someone new, the first question I asked myself was, “Would he make a good father?”

After that question was answered positively and we were married, like many couples we struggled with getting pregnant so we started the introduction to fertility treatments, but quickly knew this was not a path I wanted to pursue so we turned to the tool of reframing:

We want a family; I want to be a mother, and pregnancy does not have to be part of the equation.

And that reframe was the first step in allowing us to set out on our journey to China three times to build the family we had always dreamed of.