Working with Challenge U was truly an experience like no other. I met the owner, Andi Burgis, through Leawood Chamber. When I told Andi about Chasing Stormi, she immediately grabbed my hand. “I have the perfect adventure for you,” she stated with a twinkle in her eye. I was ready for whatever she had in mind.
Challenge U provides an experience that is personalized to the individual, and it will change your heart, mind, and spirit. I encourage you to give this experience a try. It will teach you so much about yourself and how you communicate with others.
I will be honest. I had no idea what Challenge U really was about when Andi invited me to her 16-horse ranch. It turned out that I was going to work on my leadership, communication, and team building skills. Hearing that horses were involved, I automatically said "Sure!" We set a date to go on a new adventure that Saturday.
My friend, Cory Cairns, was there waiting when I arrived. Andi set us down to educate us a little about the horses and what was to come. It was truly fascinating to learn how horses use their sense of reading congruence to determine if they want to be around someone or not. For those that don't know, “congruent” means in agreement or harmony.
My first thought was that these horses weren't going to come near me! My brain is never in harmony with my body no matter how hard I try! Andi said to have faith. I just might be surprised. She also told us about many misconceptions regarding the differences between dogs and horses.
Andi went first to show us how to communicate with Jackson, our very own black beauty. Just watching her, you could see how much Jackson loved and respected her. It truly was amazing to watch. Andi was using her body language to convey congruency to Jackson in order to communicate the trust he needed to help her achieve her goals.
Cory was the first to go. He was so excited, it was exhausting to watch. There was definitely a difference in Jackson's responses, but not in a bad way. Once Cory got past his learning curve, he shined. I couldn't have been more proud. I still felt Jackson would be nothing but confused with me. Now it was my turn.
Before stepping into the pen with Jackson, Andi had me do some breathing exercises. I had to figure out my goals, how I planned to achieve them, and how I would communicate with Jackson. My brain continued to race, but I felt my heart at peace. I knew I had to try and keep it that way. I also felt that Jackson was letting me know that he was willing to trust me. It was time to greet Jackson.
Jackson allowed me to get close enough to pet his shoulder. I told him I knew it was hot. I stepped quietly into the center of the pen. Waiting quietly for a moment, my brain grew quiet, and I listened to what my heart had to say. I focused on my goals.
What happened next amazed me. I was able to get Jackson to walk, trot, change directions, walk some more, and come to a complete stop. I kept my focus and my heart at peace. Jackson let me know that he understood what my goals were. He trusted me enough to work with me. It was an indescribable experience!
For the first time, I had forced my brain to behave without medication. I was able to bring myself to a place of peace and slow my brain down. I was proud of having accomplished my goals; however, it was Jackson's feedback that was the most amazing. His ability to trust and willingness to follow my lead showed me that I am actually very clear when I communicate. I possessed enough congruence to never be a threat. Jackson's feedback proved that my previous notions were all wrong. I had long possessed a terrible tendency to tear myself apart and put myself down. Jackson's feedback helped me to see that I had more strengths than I knew. His confidence in me helped to build my own, and I am forever grateful.
A girl just trying to find her way, stepping outside of her comfort zone, trying new things, and making new friends along the way!