The time is fast approaching, my presentation notes are nearly complete, and as I sit here on October 20th, 2023, the morning of my birthday, I can't help but be more than excited for the great adventure at hand. This will be the last blog post I will have time to write before Daphne and I "ship-out" from the USA to Australia.
If you believe in it, you can achieve it. This is something I personally adhere to as a point of fact.
Ever since I was a boy I had a dream to one day visit Australia, a desire to make real fueled all the more thanks to Paul Hogan. When Crocodile Dundee was released in 1986, I was in 11th grade heading into my senior year, and that movie sealed the deal for me! After many years and quite a few twists and turns in the journey of this life, I found my grain of sand; my love of animals and nature and the intricate study of them both found its center point upon horses. With little concept of what it was that I was going to do, Mother Nature and her beautiful horses in the wilds of Montana and Wyoming showed me the way. Opening a door into a world foreign to my experience, but not to my nature. My grain of sand I knew, some how, some way, I was willing to make every sacrifice required to turn into my own beach. It's funny though, I look back on those early days of my research experiences, living in a tent, sleeping on a floor in a sleep roll because I couldn't afford a bed, an empty room with a three legged table held up by cinder blocks, eating the cheapest noodle bowls and mac-n-cheese... All in the name of finding something that had to show itself. I followed my instincts then, and I do now. Besides, I never thought of it as a "sacrifice", it was life at the time and I was doing then what I do now, embracing it.
Now to say that I expected my efforts to study and dissect the fascinating world of herd dynamics, herd structure, emotional communication and everything intrinsically found within the struggle of life between predator and prey, to take me anywhere beyond the moment of their discover, would be folly. Yet, the more I learned alone in Mother Nature's laboratory, the more I realized I wanted to find a way to share these things. Horses and indeed life itself, from my view, are each a journey of learning that has no ending to it. The more I learned about the natural world, the more I was reminded about the fundamentals of life as we have come to know it. Being so close to purity is a constant reminder of the beauty of simplicity.
My instinctive self has always been to help others, I care about people, I care about animals, I care about sharing the good in the world through the good in our hearts. The world of horses has taken me to many wonderful places and I have met many wonderful people. I have been on the front page of the Wall Street Journal and sat at the table for dinner with the Royal Family in Jordan. I have watched the Kentucky Derby with actor Danny Glover and enjoyed a coffee with Ron Howard in Los Angeles. The common thread that is the horse is truly woven of the fabric of human emotion; a person is defined by their character, not their status. Where status may precede, it is our character that leaves the print.
Though we may be working with a horse, it is through ourselves from which we reach for them. Horses require our honesty, but not just with them, but with ourselves.
The more I wrote about horse behavior, the more I researched and studied their unique emotional communication, the more I understood that profound connection between our personal experience and the world around us. It is less what we see, and far more what we feel. When I opened up all of my sensitivities to absorb, and applied them in the equation of life's experiences, it changed everything for me. I never looked at a horse the same way again, it wasn't what they were, it was who that defined them. If I truly wished to understand horses, I had to peel back the onion layers of what is seen and immerse myself into what is felt. To get inside the mind of the horse, I knew, meant taking a journey of discovery through that which defined them, that which connected the physical world with the emotional horse, their sensory systems.
Sensory Soundness as a concept was borne, sensory mapping was soon to follow, and learning to apply these things, the resulting effort of the whole.
My expedition through the mind of the horse continues. A journey that started on an obscure wildlife trail in the Rocky Mountains of the American West, alone, on a cold October morning some 30 years ago. I find myself now in my office, in reflection, writing out the presentation notes for the Applied Sensory Soundness seminar event, kicking off soon in Australia and continuing, I hope, to other places around the world. As I sift through the scribbled notes I have collected over the years, and navigate through the concepts and new innovations inside my mind from all those experiences, I am getting quite excited for the weekend events soon at hand. I have every intention of taking you on a journey of discovery through these events and through the brand new online education programs just kicked off with Life Through The Senses Education Online. Both Applied Sensory Soundness seminar events & Understanding Sensory Soundness, course lesson one, on our Education section of this website, are brand new opportunities. These are an invitation for you to expedition with me.
One thing for certain, the day that I met and became fast friends with the Dr. Shelley Appleton, was a very fortunate happening for me. We understood one another immediately, respected and cherished each others input, and I can tell you that not only is Dr. Appleton one of the most visionary humans I have ever met, she and her partner Simon are two of the most wonderful people ever to grace my life. I met Shelley at a time when I was at a crossroads of sorts in my horse path. I had spent several years busy in the thoroughbred racing and breeding world, had reached the top of that game on many levels. And though I met many great people and helped and identified some of the worlds best equine athletes from the Kentucky Derby to Breeder's Cup and all places in between from Japan, Hong Kong, UK and NZ/Aussie; I was more and more disenchanted. My passion was the human/horse relationship and I wanted to teach, to share, to help raise awareness and elevate how we as humans understand, coached and interacted with our horses and by proxy, one another. Basically, I was either going to make a serious pivot and take another huge career & financial risk, or just walk away altogether. I was an inch from saying goodbye to the horse industry.
Personally I had been through and was going through a lot of pain. I am a natural caregiver at heart, and I had been and still am, in Kerry the caregiver mode. My father fought cancer until his death in 2002, my partner Tonia of 23 years fought hard a losing battle with breast cancer, and two days after she passed my mother fell and broke her back, becoming disabled. I was beside my father and Tonia both when they took their last breath, a pain that will never leave me. To say that I have been in constant emotional stress, and that I am still as I provide daily physical and emotional care for my mother, would be an understatement. I was dealing with all these things and trying to stay afloat in the industry, just an inch from feeling as if I had little choice but to walk away, when Shelley and I started to chat. I am quite literarily with watery eyes as I write this, and maybe Shelley doesn't even truly know this, but I am sharing my soul with you now; Dr. Shelley Appleton gave me hope, made me find once again belief that what I had and done and was doing, what I was researching and trying to find ways to share, was more than worthwhile. She encouraged me to create content for course lessons online; I did, I am. She encouraged me to create content for new pioneering seminar events; I did, WE are.
So here I am, I didn't quit, I kept on. I believed in my efforts and goals and soon I was blessed yet again by meeting my wife to be, Daphne. Who came along at a time when I needed love again, I needed someone to be in my corner everyday and someone who's corner I can be in. Despite years of emotional torment, struggle and seemingly endless pain, I stayed the course long enough to find kind hands reaching to pull me up.
In March of 2023 we traveled to Sydney, thanks to the efforts of Shelley and Simon, and history was made and a new beginning was too. Ever since our return from that initial trip, I have been working tirelessly on new material, new course content, and working on creating what I intend to be a groundbreaking seminar event. Teaming up with Shelley to create and present Applied Sensory Soundness seminar tour, well all I can say, I couldn't be more honored nor more excited. This will initiate a new frontier in horsemanship.
Though I can't share the entire presentation in this blog of course, I can share with you a draft of the key topics I am working for it:
Introduction; The Journey; Herd Structure, and the Origins of Sensory Soundness
The Sensory Sequence; Unlocking the Mind-To-Body Relationship
Understanding Zones of Sensitivity, Sensory Lead Changes & Rate of Mental Processing
One Horse; Six Maps? Psychosensory Alignments, Understanding the Overlay
Outsourcing; be the Bridge not the Block
Out of Line; The Impact of Trauma & Navigating the Path to Re-Alignment
In closing I want to express to all of you who are here reading this, who purchase the online education courses and enroll in the school, to all those who buy tickets to come to an event, my sincerest Thank You. I take this very seriously, I appreciate it and it is a true privilege for me. None of these efforts on my part would be worth a darn thing without you. I know my work is less than simple sometimes, but the complex beauty that is Mother Nature is more than worth sinking ourselves into, for what we learn goes well beyond what we think we are going to find. The effort to learn is rewarded by the desire to discover. We can allow ourselves to be stagnant in this life, and let life happen to us, or we can reach for the next rung and pull ourselves and those around us upward. What truly matters is not what we obtain for ourselves, but that which we impart to others; we are all responsible for the emotional imprint we leave in our wake. I want to leave an imprint of good; I want help elevate your appreciation and understanding and to do so I will continue to challenge myself to work harder. If we want to up our game, we have to be willing to up our game...
Thank you for being here, for actively participating in the beautiful experience that is life, and for helping provide me with the courage to keep onward. I hope to see you at an upcoming event, and if you get in on the new online education programs, please know how thankful I am. I will continue to create new content, I will always desire to learn. You will never get anything less from me, than everything that I am.
If you've never experienced fear, anxiety or uncertainty in the pursuit of your dreams; your dreams may not be big enough. ~ Kerry