In 2003 I was blessed with one of my greatest gifts and one of my greatest challenges, in the form of a horse.

It was just before Easter and I had taken a few days off from my very demanding corporate job leading a multi-million-pound supply chain project for the biggest catalog retailer in the UK. I was flicking through the latest copy of Horse and Hound – the biggest source of horse related classified ads in the UK, looking through the horses for sale.

I already had a horse and a pony but for some time had set my heart on having an Andalusian horse – a beautiful Spanish horse which is a breed most used in movies because of their stunning looks and movement. Think Shadowfax in The Lord of the Rings.

Scanning the ads, I was excited to see an ad for an Andalusian horse with a local phone number. I called the number immediately. A woman answered, and I said I was interested in the Andalusian horse that was advertised. She started to tell me about the horse and I suddenly realized I was speaking to the owner of the boarding stable (livery stable, as it’s called in the UK) across the road, where I stabled my horses.

I arranged to see the horse and ride him later that day. His name was Mill DeVoto, Voto for short. It was love at first ride. A few days later he was mine. My dream had come true.

My Dream Becomes a Nightmare

Within a year Voto had a complete emotional breakdown and according to Mark Hudson, the horse whisperer from Redwings Horse Sanctuary who spent a day with us, he was so dangerous he would kill me, kill himself or kill both of us. Mark described him as a spring wound so tightly he could explode at any moment. Even his assistant refused to ride him. My options were to sell him (hardly likely in his present state), have him put down or go back to the beginning and retrain him in a way that would build his confidence.

It was the worst of times, it was the best of times. I chose to rehabilitate him as I couldn’t even consider having my beautiful, affectionate dream horse euthanized.

I’m a lifelong learner and, when faced with a challenge such as this, my approach is to research and learn everything I can to solve the problem.

It was in the course of studying equine psychology and behavior that I came across the book The Tao of Equus by Linda Kohanov. Voto’s problems and this book were the catalysts for my spiritual awakening and conscious evolution.

How can a horse promote conscious evolution, you might ask.

Let me explain…

My Conscious Evolution

Mill DeVotoAll my life I was passionate about horses, and always loved the sensitive, highly strung and spirited breeds like Arabians, Thoroughbreds and, of course, Andalusians. I had worked especially with horses that had fear issues and I realized in hindsight that I was presented with new horse projects requiring higher and higher skill levels and Voto was, in effect, my PhD level challenge.

Conscious evolution is the process of overcoming the fearful ego and living from the higher self of pure unconditional love. Voto was the one who really taught me the nature of fear and how to overcome it. He taught me mindfulness and about energy and how to communicate energetically (see my website

F.E.A.R. stands for False Expectations Appearing Real, in other words you are imagining some future negative outcome, and by focusing on that outcome, the Law of Attraction will deliver it to you.

One of my favorite quotes is “Danger is real, fear is a choice”. Many times, I was in real physical danger when working with Voto and riding him, but how I responded to these situations was critical to my safety. I choose the word responded carefully. Responding is very different to reacting. It is a conscious choice rather than an unconscious reflex action.

I had to be completely present, so I was alert to when he tensed up and was likely to react explosively to something that frightened him by rearing or bolting, the typical fight or flight reaction.

Horses are used extensively in psychotherapy because they reflect the emotions of the person they are working with. If I allowed myself to tense up and become fearful, Voto would respond to that and become even more reactive because I would be validating his fear.

So, I learned to calm my energy, be mindful of my thoughts and emotions and focus on the outcome I wanted to achieve – of Voto being calm and reassured by the confidence I communicated energetically to him.

In the nearly 3 years it took to rehabilitate Voto, I learned so much from him about fear, how to overcome fear and how to manifest outcomes through visualization, focus and intention, which I now teach to my clients and in my book Empowered Manifestation.

Sadly, Voto was put to sleep in 2013 due to severe colic and peritonitis but he is with me in spirit. The bond that was created between us because of our experiences together is unbreakable.

He was a true soulmate and he literally changed my life. I have no doubt that he was sent to me as a divine teacher to start me on my spiritual journey and lead me to fulfill my life and soul purpose.

(The link to the book in the post above is an “affiliate link.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.)

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Jan Shaw – The Success Alchemist, is a Spiritual Empowerment and Intuitive Success Coach, Success Strategist, Mindset & Manifestation Mentor. She delivers intuitive guidance, spiritual and metaphysical teaching, plus practical life and business success strategies, to support you in fulfilling your Soul Mission and Life Purpose and achieving your highest potential.

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