Feminine Energy and Horse Medicine

Feminine energy coach SaraEllen Hutchison

Even highly sensitive, feminine energy women can be influential leaders. Here’s how.

It’s a cloudy day in September in eastern British Columbia. I’m standing in a field with dozens of horses. I have minimal experience with horses, and don’t know how to ride them. Suddenly, a large male horse approaches me from behind and starts affectionately licking my hand.

If I was looking for a sign, this was it.

In September 2022, I went on a retreat with eight of my fellow Certified Deep Dive Coaches up to Epona Rise Retreat Center, a horse rescue and retreat center outside of Kamloops, B.C.

I had very little experience with horses previously, finding them to be sweet and gentle, but for “other” people, and for me, mostly part of a bucolic landscape. Now I know better.

My journey with horse medicine was a revelation in masculine and feminine energy.

The first day, after Epona’s creator Hillary Schneider gave us a horse safety orientation and an instruction to just observe and see where I felt led, I found myself walking out into a pasture with two dozen thousand-pound animals around me. I admit feeling a bit awkward.

It wasn’t long before I was approached by a horse who started lovingly licking the palm of my hand. I later learned he was a gelding (a “fixed” male horse) named Indra, whose medicine – in other words, whose teaching and gift – is of recognizing sacred space, finding alignment with one’s purpose, and mastery. 

I giggled at the surprise and humor of my first official horse medicine encounter being so playful. My initial awkwardness around the horses quickly wore off, and over the next three days, I made lots of horse buddies in that field, and learned more about masculine and feminine energy in three days than I had learned in the previous three years.

Prey animals, horses in particular, are wise teachers of the power in sensitivity and softness.

Horses have many associations in our culture with the masculine and with the heroics of the individual: think cowboys, westerns, knights in shining armor, cavalries, etc. But horses are prey animals and herd animals who are constantly aware of their surroundings. They more accurately represent feminine energy: the receptive, the collective, the sacred space, and the community.

For starters, let’s just establish that there is no shame in being a “prey” animal, despite what the culture promotes and our limited language suggests.

Every living creature has its own medicine.

Our culture idolizes the predators, the alphas, the masculine as the only traits that have value. But every living thing has what the indigenous people term medicine. The Horse has medicine, just as the Wolf.

Your worst enemy has its own medicine, and so do you. 

Every living thing has its own wisdom and teaching to offer us. And each living thing is the authority on its own medicine. 

If your medicine includes softness and sensitivity, this is still valuable in aggressive environments.

You might work for an organization or company — or in a profession like law — that seems to only value the predators and the alphas.

If “predator” and “alpha” are not your vibe, it can seem like automatic failure or defeat unless you figure out how to be something other than who you are.

But in the wild, predator vs. prey doesn’t always end the same way. Sometimes the Owl catches the Rabbit in its claws, and sometimes the Rabbit escapes capture. The predators “lose” as often as they “win.”

In Nature, it isn’t about winning or losing. These are inventions of the human ego or judgment. These concepts are meaningful and convenient for our human lives, but don’t exist in Nature. In the wild, the predator “loses” as often as does the prey.

The feminine energy of the prey animal doesn’t mean it has “weak” medicine.

Predator and prey are akin to Yang and Yin, or the symbolism of the Wheel of Fortune in the Tarot –- everything has a cycle and will naturally balance itself out. It’s about the balance of opposites and the interconnectedness of all things.

Only when we humans are bereft of our animal nature, by spending too much time looking at screens instead of sunsets, does life become a pass-fail proposition. And pass-fail is a false construct in Nature.

So, if you aren’t the aggro one, and feel like you’re quite sensitive to your surroundings, you might have admonished yourself to be tougher or more like the others.

But what if you could study the medicine of prey animals and see these traits as part of your own personal medicine and gifts?

Beyond the false constructs of winners and losers, every living thing has medicine and wisdom. You can embrace it for what it is and actually tap into more of your inherent power.

Prey animal and Horse medicine in the courtroom (and other human battlegrounds).

In my years going to court, I’ve always found myself tuned into all the energies around me. I do this automatically, and through my experience with horses, I have a new vocabulary to explain why. 

My co-counsel remark that I am very calm in these settings. It is almost like I can smell the mood everyone is in. And when others go into some kind of “attack” energy, I just feel like there is this space around me that their energetic arrows cannot penetrate.

And it might look like I’m not doing much or even saying much. But I’m energetically holding space with my presence and my observation.

Like a horse, you too can look at your self-protective stances as wise and powerful, instead of looking at your sensitivity as a weakness. The quiet, sensitive one is not necessarily going to get eaten or “lose.” 

The predator animal doesn’t automatically win just because he has sharper fangs. When your attention is fully outward, in masculine energy, out of your body and in your head, your behavior geared toward “attack,” you’re not receptive to the things in your environment.

So counterintuitively (for humans), it is actually possible to be “safer” when one is the “prey.” I’ll say it again: the prey is not “weak.” It is just being deeply aware of space around it while also being fully in its body.

And now for the next horse lesson: fully embodying leadership energy, which is larger and grander than the simplistic “predator” frame.

Horse Medicine, the Self-Coaching Model and Masculine Energy

If you are a student of Brooke Castillo’s Self-Coaching Model or any other cognitive-behavioral approach or thoughtwork tool, you’ll love this next part.

I had to summon my masculine energy on a pretty low-energy day to lead a horse around a paddock. I had never done this before. 

The horse, a gelding named Jet, first chose me for the activity by walking up to me. But then roles were reversed, and I had to shift into masculine energy while he was in his receptive feminine energy. It was my job to get him to be more interested in trotting around where I pointed than munching on some grass.

Initially, he wouldn’t budge. The grassy snack was way more compelling than me. But then I shifted what I was feeling in my own body from a pleading, wishing, hoping energy to a commanding one. And then he started to walk, and then he started to trot. At the end he was nuzzling me and asking me to scratch his head, and he followed me happily back to the pasture.

He responded to my energy, and not to anything I said.

One of my biggest realizations from the embodiment work with the horses is that we really can shift our Thought, Feeling, and Action (or Alignment) so that someone (human or animal!) doing something we’d like them to do can show up in our Result line. 

I knew this already from the myriad ways I have influenced others, professionally and personally, and made myself available for people doing stuff I like to become my Result. But influence had sometimes felt strained and full of effort.

Shifting into masculine-energy influence and leadership

Growing up, I often heard the saying, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.”

I took that to mean that I couldn’t lead the “horse” to water every time, or that it would be hard, or take a lot of convincing. And by extension, my assumption was that most of the time, the “horse” really didn’t want to go to where the water is. And that’s not leadership.

I wasn’t all that influential before I understood feminine and masculine energy.

Some years ago before I got into consumer law and was doing some work here and there in general subject of families and juveniles, I encountered more than one parent who was perturbed that their young teenager wasn’t being cooperative. Parents sometimes thought I might be able to say something that would be influential. I was sharing their frustration, so I was actually mirroring the parents’ helplessness when I would say something to the kid like “[sigh] mind your mother.” Of course, adding my words to the parents’ words didn’t make a damn bit of difference.

How often do we want someone to do something, like buy services from us or render a verdict for us, and we go into it thinking it’s going to be an uphill battle? When it should be easy: It’s WATER. They’re thirsty horses and they want it!

When I experienced having to really embody leadership energy to lead an actual, real live literal horse, it was magic. I wasn’t violating the free will of the horse; my words didn’t have to be perfect. It was my energy of leadership helping Jet do what he already wanted to do, which was walk around, with the benefit of direction about where to go.

Living from the embodied assumption that “horses are thirsty, and they want me to lead them to the water” has profound implications for me, and for you as well. 

Even if you are sensitive, you are still powerful.

Even if you tend to default to your feminine energy more of the time, sourcing your own medicine for embodied leadership gives you a fuller range of power and influence in the world.

If a situation calls for someone to take command, why not you? Who better to have that power than you?

The difference between a sensitive woman who stays perennially frustrated that she can’t influence others — and a sensitive woman who gets what she wants — is that the second woman learns how to drive in every gear of leadership and influence.

I can teach this influence to you, so you stop bending over backward to please ungrateful people, you feel way more comfortable in your own skin, and the “horses” start asking you to lead them to water. Click here to learn how you can get my help one-on-one, or just sign up.