It Takes a Village and a Tribe

I have always been one that goes where life leads me.  I have never had a conventional job for very long and I have lived in ten different houses in my adult life.  Many of the changes in my life were due to circumstances I did not create, others were opportunities I seized.

Most of my jobs centered around horses and/or retail; I raised my kids on a working horse farm, and I had a nature centered gift shop in a groovy little town at another point.  Neither of those jobs/careers ended because I wanted them to (there’s that life stuff getting in my way again) but I kept on listening to my heart and chasing those dreams.

My ultimate dream has always been to combine my career loves, so when I landed a big job in Dover Saddlery management, I was certain that the Universe had fulfilled that dream.  Horses, horse people and retail!  Although I loved my job and (most) of the customers, I realized I wasn’t cut out for corporate America.  It’s probably because I don’t follow rules that well, nor do I quietly nod my head when someone in authority doesn’t know what they are talking about. Both of those character traits don’t bode well in a corporate environment.

“I know!” (I said to myself) “I will go back to working with horses, they understand me.”  Unfortunately most equestrian jobs are feast or famine; you either have tons of clients or none. You sell 3 horses in one week, then you don’t sell another for 3 months.  It’s hard to count on the income and, with kids still counting on me, I knew that wouldn’t work.  So when life led me to work as an equine nutritionist for a major feed company, I followed the lead.  I was in the field, on the farms, helping horse owners take the best care of their horses. Bingo! This is perfect! Um…..not so fast.  Corporate America again. This time in a male dominated company that wasn’t exactly pro-female empowerment.  Have I mentioned my rule-following issue yet?

At this point in my life I did not have anyone needing my support (kids were all grown up) so I went back to school and got my degree in Environmental Science.  My love of the Earth is right up there with my family, horses and retail. I could still work with horse owners, but with my own consulting company I wouldn’t have the issues with bosses and rules. Voila! I found it….my perfect career. But life had bigger ideas.

I had become quite the expert in eco-friendly horse care through my blog, lectures and columns in equestrian magazines, so when I was invited to speak at Equine Affaire (the largest horse expo in the US), I accepted. When the contract came and I saw a booth as part of my compensation, I took it as a sign that I could add retail to my company, thus Horse Hippie was born.

Throughout my “careers” I have met some amazing people including my best friend.  We all know how horses have a way of creating a common bond between complete strangers. At all my different jobs I have been lucky enough to create some close relationships with co-workers and customers.  I am also super lucky to have an amazing family full of supportive people. When I took the leap into the dating field at 49, life led me to my husband, who tolerates and encourages my need to chase life down the various rabbit holes.

Horse Hippie started in half a booth at that first expo and has grown over the last three years into a major lifestyle brand and I credit all the people in my life for this. Oh, and a tremendous amount of really, hard work. Work that I love, work that feeds my soul and offers me an opportunity to give back and to meet truly wonderful people.

The first year of Horse Hippie the shop was second fiddle to my consulting business, Happy Horse Healthy Planet, so the retail part consisted of setting up booths at the expos I was speaking at and a few horse shows.  But Horse Hippie had a mind of it’s own and quickly offered more in return than my consulting did.

At my age schlepping tons of bins and fixtures into a a booth space and working  7-9 hours to set up was taking its toll. My sister was tremendously helpful but she’s my older sister so it was hard on her too. The physical work and long show hours were starting to dim the glow.

About that time fashion trucks were getting a lot of press and I loved the idea of not having to set up my shop every time.  Having a history at horse shows, I have visited plenty of tack shops that operated out of trailers, so that is the direction I took with my shop. Plus, I kept having a re-occurring nightmare that my Horse Hippie bus would break down on the way to an event where I had paid big vendors fees. So a trailer it would be. Thus, the Horse Hippie Mobile Boutique was born.

The second year of Horse Hippie I was able to really grow.  I met more amazing people, including someone that seemed to be part of the Universe’s plan for me.  Rachel is the kind of person that wants everyone to succeed. She’s like a cheerleader for other women. Little did I know where supporting her various charitable silent auctions throughout the year, would lead me.

This year I started my third year of my business.  I had no idea it would be such a tough year in my life. One curve ball after another.

When my Mom passed early in the year, it impacted my enthusiasm profoundly.  She was the reason I loved nature so much.  She had worked with me in my nature store years before.  My husband and I had also begun the process of selling our house (which is a whole other saga) and one of my children was handed a tough row to hoe.  It’s hard to focus on your business and devote the energy that it requires when you are spent emotionally, but that little nagging dream of opening a shop kept whispering in my ear.

I scaled back on my events this year to be able to heal and help. I did check retail opportunities in the various areas we were considering to move, but no doors opened.  I am a firm believer in if a door doesn’t open, it’s not your door, so I just kept on looking.

One day Rachel ordered 4 of the cool horse candles I had on the webshop. Her order received free shipping but she insisted  I meet her to deliver them instead of me paying the shipping charges. We agreed on lunch, and I met her in the sweet little village of Clifton, VA.  And when I say little, I mean it.

I had visited Clifton before as it is home to some great restaurants and is in a very “horsey” area.  But a shop here?  Clifton was never even on my radar.

As I look back on that lunch date I want to believe it was a set up.  Turns out Rachel knew the owner of the building we were eating in and there was an empty retail space in  the front.  Would I like to see it?  Sure…..and boom! The owner appeared.

It was like walking into a dream. I immediately could see my Horse Hippie shop here. The old building, the hard wood floors, the front porch, all fit.

The owner, Erin (another super cool woman) agreed to let me do a two month pop-up shop to see if I liked the town and the space.  No one does that in business so I filed that away in the “signs from the Universe” folder.  I was really hesitant though.

How could I get the space ready for business in 3 weeks if I was going to take advantage of holiday shopping?  Who could help me?  What if I failed? What if no one came?  I felt the urge to follow where life was leading me so strongly, but I doubted my ability to pull it off.

I am also a firm believer in “if you never ask you’ll never know” so I called a former-mobile-boutique-owner-turned-full-time-shop-keeper for advice.  I had only met Lyn once, but she is another open and honest woman who wants other women to succeed, so she spent an hour and a half helping me conquer my fears. She had an answer for every question, and offered me insights to her business that most would never share. (If you are ever near Bel Air, Maryland you should treat yourself to a visit to her shop Urban Pearl).

With my faith bigger than my fear I contacted Erin and told her I was ready to sign the lease.  What happened in the next few weeks was nothing short of miraculous.  My tribe rolled up their sleeves and got to work. And when I say work, I mean it. From painting to attending Planning and Zoning meetings on my behave (Thanks Maureen!), they were there each step of the way.

My sister and I cleaned and painted,

Before and after of the front room:

 

 

 

My husband built a counter out of an old kitchen cabinet and put together fixtures,

and my best friend distressed and painted the counter.

 

I was busy figuring out where everything would go, my daughters and sisters were helping me find products and Rachel was busy drumming up business on social media.

We did it! We managed to get the shop ready in 3 weeks including my awesome sign! (Thanks Sue)

To say I’m exhausted is an understatement. To say I’m over-the-moon thrilled is one too.  To know how my tribe supported my dream is humbling and so affirming.

I opened the doors to my Horse Hippie Boutique on November 11th and the response has been overwhelming. My regular Horse Hippie customers have found me, and the Clifton villagers have been so welcoming. If all works out with the pop-up shop I will sign a long term lease for 2018.  I plan on continuing my full webshop and taking my mobile boutique to area events too, so don’t worry far-away Horse Hippies!

As I finish up my first week of business in my little shop, I am ever so grateful that I listened to life.  Even though I might have questioned the timing sometimes, I never gave up on my dream.

I hope you find some inspiration from this story. Whether it’s to follow your dreams or to support someone you know is chasing theirs.  I also hope you will come to the sweet little village of Clifton and visit my shop.  I’d would love to meet all the Horse Hippies out there.

Oh, and find your tribe and love them hard. Here’s a little video the day I opened.

Peace and good rides,

Laura

Product Review- BotanEq

HH Blog BotanEq

Howdy Horse Hippies!

As Earth lovers I am sure you want to use natural eco-friendly products on yourself, and your four-legged friends, that are also effective. Well, I am thrilled to say that this line of equine and leather care products delivers!

I am constantly getting samples in the mail from manufacturers with the hope that I will test them, like them, then add them to my shop. I am super picky so that happens less often than not.

red-x22

When I received this box of samples I immediately knew two things; they smelled amazing and  they were organic.  Score!  Now….will they work? I took them to the barn and used the Everyday Leather Cleaner that day after my ride.  It went on great, and offered terrific cleaning and conditioning. Did I mention the smell? While I was cleaning my tack, 5 people came into the tack room to find out what smelled so good. Continue reading

The Healing Power of Crystals

There is great doubt among the general public that crystals radiate healing powers. Some roll their eyes and deem it “hippie dippie crap,” (which of course makes me smile), or some joke about a mere placebo effect.  Misunderstanding is usually due to a lack of understanding about the spiritual, unseen and immeasurable influence in crystal healing.  I am studying the use of crystals because I want to add jewelry to the shop that offers the benefits of crystals as well as the beauty of the piece.  This is what I have found so far……

So . . . How Does Crystal Healing Work?

Due to its frequency, the structure of a crystal is said to have a strong vibratory connection with the human body.

When the physical body is imbalanced, the cellular vibration of the body is restricted. Yet through a crystal’s “resonance effect,” the crystal’s vibration aligns with the body so these restrictions can be unblocked. “Resonance” refers to the ability of the crystal to drive the force of another energy and match those frequencies.

We learn a lot about resonance in Physics. This is the phenomenon you see when an earthquake or dangerously strong winds make a road or bridge move – oscillating at the same frequency or close to the same frequency as the energy moving it.

The spiritual aspect of the crystal healing comes into play with the intent of the person using the crystals. The intention behind the use of these crystals is huge, and REAL.  Your intention affects your thoughts, which in turn affects your actions and experiences.

The practice of crystal healing mimics this same concept. Just holding a crystal in your hand is not as powerful as holding the crystal in your hand and actively infusing intention and positive thought into that energy force.

With the right intention, you’d be very surprised how helpful a crystal can be.  So now that you know a bit more….

Here are 5 crystals that you might want to explore further and use:

1) Rose Quartz:

Healing properties:

Rose quartz is symbolic of love. This crystal is highly renowned due to its connection to such a strong emotion – love. Rose quartz represents unconditional love of all things.How to use it:  As we all know, love conquers all, and love is all we need. I personally recommend this crystal for times that you feel down in the dumps, angry or afraid of something.

Let the healing power of this crystal resonate with you, use a love mantra (like “I breathe in love and exhale negativity” ) and hold it to your heart chakra, close your eyes and breathe in the feeling of unconditional love.

2) Turquoise:

Healing properties:

Turquoise was used in abundance by the Native Americans and they would adorn their war horses with it to protect them. It is a shamen stone that is meant to enable the wearer to be closer to the spirit realms and more connected to their soul.   It is a stone of protection and healing. You can also use it for detoxification in the body.

How to use it:

Know that you are going to have a stressful day at work? Feeling overwhelmed or frustrated by something or someone? Wear turquoise on your body, or slip it into your pocket and meditate on what it stands for.

Your intention combined with the calming, soothing power of this crystal will help you through whatever you’re dealing with. This is also a great one to put under your pillow if you’re having nightmares or issues sleeping. Paired with your intention, turquoise will help you feel strong and grounded.

The Horse Hippie Shop has these wonderful wrap bracelets in turquoise. Click here to learn more.

Turquoise Wrap Bracelet

 

3) Clear Quartz:

Healing properties:

Clear quartz represents purity and clarity. This is a great one to pair with another crystal to enhance its healing properties. This crystal can be used when you are working through an issue and need more clarity, or if you are confused and feeling unsure.

How to use it:

Clear quartz is also known for its cleansing properties. You can use this crystal in your home to clear out negative energy. Walk into each room repeating a mantra of your choosing (I bless this home, or Let this home be cleared of negative energy, etc).

You can use clear quartz after a fight or a bad break up. Sleep with it under your pillow and go to sleep meditating on the mantra I will wake renewed and pure of negative energy.

Here is an amazing Hammered Metal Horse Shoe with clear quartz found in our Horse Hippie Shop. To read more about it click here

4) Aventurine:

Healing properties:

This is the crystal of luck, prosperity and good fortune. Aventurine is the crystal you should carry with you to a job interview, to a meeting you’re nervous about, or any time you need a boost of confidence. Great for starting new ventures or even just keeping at your work desk.

How to use it:

For the days you’re doubting yourself or your own abilities, keep this crystal on hand. Set an intention to acknowledge your successes and accomplishments while using this crystal.

Wear aventurine around your neck, hold it in your hand, or keep it in your pocket or purse. You will be surprised at how this crystal will open your eyes to the successes and treasures that already exist in your life.

5) Amazonite:

Healing properties:

Amazonite has healing powers to help with physical ailments, emotional issues, and in Energy Healing and chakra balancing. Amazonite crystal therapies are primarily associated with filtering out stresses, healing traumas, and soothing energies in the home and workplace.

 How to use it:

If you start feeling weak or stressed in a situation, hold the Amazonite and use the mantra I am strong, and let the intention of strength and the healing power of the crystal do the rest.

The jewelry using Amazonite on the Horse Hippie shop includes: (click on any picture for more info)

Amazonite Tassel Necklace

Amazonite Arrowhead Necklace

Amazonite Cross Necklace

Triple Wrap Amazonite Bracelet

 

Crystals act as storage batteries for information and energy and can therefore become saturated. It is advisable to cleanse and recharge them on a regular basis, especially when they are first acquired. There are a variety of ways to do this. The most common is placing them in the sunlight for a number of hours or setting them in a bowl of sea salt overnight.

The popularity of crystals is no coincidence. The existence of controversy tells us that something is happening – a discussion is being had, and further thought is going into the use and practice of these healing properties.

Challenge yourself and your belief systems, give these healing crystals a try, set the right intention, and remain open. You just might find that you have the power within you to transform your thoughts, your feelings and your outcomes, and the crystals act as an aid in this process.  Even having some in your pockets as you groom, ride or are just around your horses will benefit them and of course you. Just think about how much your horse will appreciate a more balanced, focused, calm, and connected rider !

Now that I’ve started using crystals for me I will begin to explore using them on my animals….stay tuned!!

Peace and good rides,

Laura

Why NOT yoga?

HRY Blog cover

I’ve been having the best time meeting equestrians that are new to yoga.  When I do a clinic or expo I am always amazed at how many riders feel they could NEVER do yoga.  I started to ask WHY? I discovered most people shared 5 core problems with adopting a traditional approach to yoga: Continue reading

DIY Bug Buster

I don’t know about you but the bugs are really bugging me this summer! I go to the barn and come back with 20 bites! Of course I don’t want to use chemical bug sprays on my horse or myself so I found this from HGTV and think it’s AWESOME!  You can use the crockpot idea around the barn to keep the bugs at bay while you are working there. For a natural (chemical free) solution to bugs ON your horse click here 

Peace and Good Rides,

Laura

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIY BUG BUSTER

Healing Through Horses

For a long time I have been wanting to find interesting people and interview them about their passion, project or particular skill.  My first interview is with Anastasia Hirst, an Equine Facilitated Wellness therapist that is shooting a documentary film with her fiance’ about the healing power of horses. Continue reading

Connecting on a Deeper Level with your Horse

I am sure we can all agree that being around our horses makes us happier. But, it turns out, this relationship with your horse is not only good for your mental health, but your physical health as well. Continue reading