Meet the Practitioner

Shelly and Ameike Round Pen

Horse Path to Heart’s Quest

Shelly Neto 

Shelly is a retired registered nurse with 38 years of experience. The last 18 years of her career, she worked in an acute psychiatric hospital where clients were treated for emotional crisis.  In her experience, she came to see how broken our mental health system is, how the accepted treatments are complicated with side effects while being less effective as would be hoped.

Shelly did not feel fulfilled by the work she was doing.  Fortunately, she found and graduated from Melisa Pearce’s Touched by a Horse program.  While in the program, she was able to do her own work to resolve unfinished business from her past.  This freed her up to embrace her whole self with compassion, discover and live by her values, imagine and create her life’s vision, and find peace and joy.

Shelly was able to realize her vision with the help of her husband of 42 years, Mitch.  They were led to a property on the coast that matched her vision.  After a great deal of hard work, they converted the neglected, overgrown property into a place they could comfortably live and that could accommodate horses.  After she become an Equine Gestaltist and retired from nursing, they moved there from the bay area and she started her practice.

Gestalt and Horses

Gestalt is a process of transformation into wholeness.  A Touched by a Horse practitioner holds their client as an equal who is capable of finding their own answers from within themselves with the guidance and support of a coach.  They see them as a whole person who is made up of many varied and equally important parts that, with awareness, can be brought to the fore in order to strengthen the individual in whatever situation they find themselves in.

The gestaltist aids the client by increasing awareness of themselves, their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.  They assist the client in working through unresolved issues from their past so that they can leave the pain behind and move forward to create the life they desire.  This is done using experiences created by the gestaltist for the client to do in the moment during a session.  This is Not talk therapy.

Equine Gestaltists partner with horses in order to gain further insight about the client.  Clients work with the horse from the ground in a round-pen.  Horse experience is not required and riding is not part of this work.

Horses are prey animals who have evolved to be highly sensitive and intuitive about their environment, other animals, people, and situations they find themselves in.

Because they have an innate awareness of the energy patterns that surround individuals, depending upon how they are feeling and thinking at any particular moment, they read the energy of the client.  They then share this information with the gestaltist, who uses that information to enhance their own insight so that they can support the client with what they need.

Horses are also able to tune-in to the client’s energy and affect change in the way the client is feeling emotionally.  That is why people often feel better after simply spending time with a horse.  With both a horse and gestaltist, the possibilities are magnified greatly.

Shelly and Horse Path to Heart’s Quest

Shelly works with her clients at her property, Hearts Quest Ranch, near Davenport, California.  The property is quiet, private, surrounded by nature, and has a view of the ocean.  Just being on this special property brings a sense of peace and well-being.

Ameike is Shelly’s horse partner.  He is a sweet, intuitive horse who likes people and provides a unique and supportive experience that clients enjoy and benefit from.

Shelly and Ameike work with people who are searching for their personal path that will guide them toward the life they desire.  Do you long to create the life you dream of? Make choices that serve you well? Develop more self-awareness? Become confident that you are worthy of peace and joy? Find self-compassion?  We are here for you.  Call Shelly for an appointment to come and see us at Heart’s Quest Ranch.



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