I am officially a published author! I’ve been thinking for years about collaborating on a book – not necessarily on horses, or having to do with horses, but for the purpose of creative expression, and fun! Last fall as I was searching for new podcasts to listen to to grow as an equestrian, I came across a podcast called Take the Reins by Equestrian Mindset Coach and Author Nikki Porter. This week, my name has been published under hers as we launched the pre-sale for our collaborative book Riding Through It: Equestrian Women Tested and Transformed! If you follow me on Instagram @joystone.equine and/or @stefanie.am.ly you may have seen my posts about the launch, including a couple of reels I made for fun. Each of the authors, 17 of us total, including Nikki Porter as well as her partner from her other business, Nadine Smith of Informed Equestrian and the Canada Horse Podcast, was invited to sell a modest quantity of books – and that morning it felt a little overwhelming. The purpose was to give the first people interested in the book a chance for a special unboxing experience which includes a special bookmark and stickers – which won’t be available once it launches officially on Amazon and Indigo, and to ensure that there will be enough books available on time for the holidays. By midnight Wednesday (the day the pre-sales launched) I had sold ALL of my pre-sale copies! I could hardly believe it – that many people I knew personally wanted a copy of the book. Then, the feelings of vulnerability set in.
The story I told in my chapter was deeply personal, as the other chapters were for the women who wrote them, and there really is something that came up for me when I realized that people I know are going to be reading the story – not just random horse lovers. While the sense of this vulnerability came up, I recognized it as an opportunity for growth and connection, like this blog. I am an intensely private person – even the idea of a blog, and people actually reading it that I knew felt unnerving, and, I worked through it thanks to the help of some coaching around this from my mentor Mena (who is launching her blog this week too at www.libertylaneretreats.com). I was able to get to the core, all of it is just a fear of being seen and known – ironic, since myself and well, most human beings really want to feel seen and known, want a deep sense of connection. Those fears, digging further, are about a fear of judgement and a fear of not being enough. Mena challenged me to consider what I would do, how I would show up if I knew I was enough already. To come full circle, that is why I decided to apply to be considered for the book. I held the context of “I am enough, and my story of becoming more deeply involved with horses as a middle aged woman, instead of as a young girl as seems to be the common experience, is valuable in it’s own right. I don’t need to compare or measure my experience against others, it is the experience I am having and my own journey.
Last spring, I took a chance and submitted my application including a writing sample and brief story outline for my chapter to Nikki Porter after seeing her post on Instagram. About a month later, I received the news that she and Nadine wanted to include my story in the book, and, well, to start writing! This morning I recorded an interview with Nikki for her personal podcast Take the Reins, and in that moment, as I was being interviewed, I felt as thought this last year of experience came full circle. When I found Nikki’s podcast and began listening to it last fall, I fell in love with listening to it because she speaks like she is not just an informed equestrian woman, but like she could actually be your friend. She is down to earth, and wise, I could not have predicted that a year from that moment I would be having that interview. It has been an honour to work with and have my name on a book next to hers, and the 16 other incredible women who I have shared this experience with. I am confident that the stories in this book will leave readers feeling a sense of hope, and a deeper awareness of the incredible transformational power of spending time with horses. I will be sure to post a link on this website once the books become available for purchase online.