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Living Life Unbridled

Updated: 5 days ago

Melanie Wilson & Dutton
Melanie Wilson & Dutton

Her hands were shaking, butterflies were in her belly, and she was uncertain, but she took a bold step forward. A leap of faith, trusting that this experience would help her to become unbridled and begin her journey towards healing, is what she tapped into to move forward. Horses have this tender presence, and despite our fear, we move forward and approach the gentle giants to experience a love much like the love of our heavenly Father: bold, substantial, unconditional, and there for us to receive. This is the process that I witness with clients in my Unbridled Equine Assisted Therapy program.

We all long to feel seen, heard, and known, but as simple as it sounds, how to access this is challenging. More often than not, we stay quiet, isolated, and simply exist. Looking through our woundedness dulls the vivid colors of a joyful life. We anxiously anticipate being triggered by unresolved hurt and unprocessed trauma, or enduring another blow to our spirit. Somewhere along the way, we lose our authentic selves, who God created us to be, because the world is so loud. Comparing ourselves to others and attempting to appear like we have it all together smothers our flame and exhausts us. We long for peace, stillness, and a sense of quiet where we may fully exhale for the first time.

Melanie Wilson & socks
Melanie Wilson & socks

As I made my way through my healing journey, it became utterly clear that I was not alone in what I felt, what I had experienced, endured, battled, or how I chose to cope. Maladaptive coping mechanisms, like avoidance and numbing, are our best attempt to manage the big emotions as we function in survival mode. Preventing ourselves from learning how to embrace our feelings, honor what our bodies are telling us, and hold space so that we can learn to self-regulate is detrimental to our overall well-being. However, in the presence of horses, there is this dynamic shift and the power within is not only evident, but we now realize what we are capable of if we leverage the power, He gave us. 

He will never ask us to do anything that He has not equipped us for, nor will He require us to do it on our own. Much like the relationship of a handler and their horse, there is faith, trust, and love in place to create a united front to accomplish the goals at hand. A horse must learn that he is safest near his human, and the protection, guidance, and leadership required is found in that intimate relationship they must establish together. There is a parallel with our relationship with Jesus. Building our faith and trust in Him, knowing who He is, and being equipped with His truth are the most valuable assets to fight the lies of the enemy. These are the things we believe that keep us searching, striving, wondering, and ultimately coming up empty-handed.

As I showed up to provide equine massage therapy for Oakley, I had no idea that God was grooming me to use my years of equine experience coupled with my own story of restoration and redemption to launch the Unbridled program. What began as a therapy session for this mare, became a marked moment in my anointing according to His plan. Performing equine massage therapy has tremendous benefits on the horse, but it was impacting me as well, and from here, my EAT program became a vision that I could see.

There are so many benefits to traditional talk therapy, which is one of the modalities that I offer in my practice, but infusing the Unbridled Equine Assisted modality unlocks the potential for next-level healing, especially with those clients suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, and struggling to be in social settings with other humans. A few of the many benefits that we can experience working with horses are emotional awareness, impulse control, trust and empathy, emotional regulation, problem-solving skills, and increased self-confidence.

Working with horses brings me a rush of peace, quiets my thoughts, and allows me to fully submerge myself in God’s gifts, both nature and the presence of these gentle giants. 

I have witnessed breakthroughs with clients as they stood next to these impressive animals, learning to face their fears, challenge the narrative that their trauma has written into their subconscious, and see what they’re capable of doing with the power they have had within them all along. Although non-traditional, this modality is becoming more sought after because the benefits are undeniable. 

Jesus, horses, and a knowledgeable professional can unlock the healing we desire.

We deserve to live a life unbridled.

Article submitted by Melanie Wilson

Author, Speaker, Trauma-Informed Mental Health Coach & founder of She'll Rise

International Best-Selling Author, Trauma-Informed Mental Health Coach, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Practitioner, Speaker, Certified Equine Sports Massage Therapist, and Founder of She’ll Rise.

God will use your pain for His purpose, but in the valleys where it feels dark, lonely, and

hopeless, it is hard to imagine how any of it can be used for good. Melanie once lived in that valley, but God fulfilled His promises and met her in that darkness. In that darkness He taught her how to be brave. 

She emerged on a mission to extend a hand to women who may be existing in that dark space to empower them to look up and Rise Up. 

She'll Rise is Melanie's response to overcoming a myriad of challenges—anxiety, depression, trauma, sexual assault, an eating disorder, opioid addiction, and a failed suicide attempt. She has triumphed and now serves as a beacon of hope and healing for women enduring silent struggles.

In her 2023 debut bestselling book, {un}Silenced. Suicide saved me. The gift of breaking free, Melanie guides readers through the transformative journey from pain, anxiety, and trauma to the realms of joy, glory, and blessings. Melanie reassures us that God remains steadfast in fulfilling His commitment to all of us. Melanie also co-authored the bestselling 2023 book, Good Speakers Gone Great, a collection of public speakers sharing their speaking experiences.

Melanie Wilson is an international best-selling author, speaker, trauma-informed mental health coach, and founder of She’ll Rise. Through her intensive 1:1 coaching program, in-person gatherings, retreats, equine therapy, and bible studies, she provides a comprehensive approach to helping women demolish the strongholds that hold them back from becoming who God has called them to be.

Melanie, a mother of two adult women, lives in Florida with her husband and raises and cares for her horses at Full Circle Ranch. Melanie is an active volunteer and, in 2022, received the President’s Volunteer Service Award, which she holds dear to her heart.

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