by Kim Lex
Refined in the Fire Coaching LLC

Introduction: “Forging Consciousness” is an innovative capstone project that explores the intricate interplay between farriers and equines while integrating principles of Equine Gestalt Coaching®. Drawing upon over three decades of equestrian expertise and two decades as a professional farrier, this project embarks on a transformative journey to dissolve limiting beliefs, address unfinished business, and cultivate healing within the farrier-equine dynamic.

Significance: This capstone project is driven by a personal journey of promoting personal growth, self-love, authenticity, and discovering personal truths. It also aims to nurture a deep partnership with equines. The project takes a holistic approach by focusing on physical health and well-being and ensuring the longevity of both horses and humans.

Purpose: This project aims to improve the farrier profession by integrating EGCM®. It focuses on addressing the unconscious emotional baggage and limiting beliefs that farriers may have. By doing so, it can enhance communication with both humans and horses, establish healthier boundaries, and promote self-care practices. Ultimately, this project aims to prolong careers within the farrier profession.

Setting and Participants: The capstone project was situated across over 35 unique farms in the picturesque southern Wisconsin region. The project involved the attentive care of over 250 horses on a 6-week year-round service rotation, providing support to the horses and their owners or caretakers.

Capstone Description/ Process: Understanding one’s consciousness involves recognizing inner dialogue concealed by a pleasant facade, particularly in interactions with horses. Stressors like professional success, feelings of inadequacy, and fear can impact the equine environment. Unresolved childhood experiences shape subconscious patterns that affect interactions. Attaining balanced authenticity is crucial for professionals like farriers to tend to the needs of the horse and establish boundaries for safe working conditions.

Capstone Results/ Impact:  The connection between the physical well-being and emotional balance of horses could mirror our own subconscious psychosomatic experiences. This applies not only to the horses but also to their owners or handlers, highlighting the importance of understanding and addressing the emotional dynamics within the human-equine relationship. I am now more in tune with my true self and have incorporated the Gestalt I-Thou practice, grounding, and energy-clearing techniques. These practices enable me to restore harmony and balance within myself in any situation. I strive to be fully present for each client, whether equine or human, even when under pressure and in chaotic situations. Furthermore, I can establish healthy boundaries to ensure the safety of all involved and to provide enduring, high-quality care.

Capstone Evaluation: For five years, I assessed this project by observing the physical and emotional reactions of the horses to my presence and interactions. During this time, I underwent a personal journey towards self-awareness, addressing and resolving my own limiting beliefs and unfinished business. As I worked through these issues, focusing on self-compassion and love, I noticed a significant change in the horses’ behavior. Many of them became more trusting, cooperative, relaxed, and receptive to hoof care. I believe this change occurred because the horses sensed a decrease in my fear-based emotions, which they had previously wanted to escape from.

Future Directions: The Equine Gestalt Coaching Method® (EGCM®) has shown me the significant role that horses can play as partners in my healing and coaching practice. In the future, I plan to introduce EGCM® to the Farrier community and present at conferences. The question I’m considering is whether a group of “tough” individuals, such as farriers, would be open to the concept of Forging Consciousness and exploring personal growth to enhance their farrier career, relationships, and overall well-being.

Acknowledgements: With deepest gratitude, I extend my heartfelt appreciation to my farrier mentor Dean Johanningmeier, to clients, and, of course, to the horses. It has been an extraordinary privilege to serve as a farrier for over 20 years. I am profoundly grateful to my EGCM® mentor and teacher Melisa Pearce for her remarkable ability to teach and share an incredible modality of healing. My life is forever changed. My thanks also go out to Brenda Westwood EGCM® coach and Risa August GCM® coach along with my GCM® cohorts “Forces of Nature.” And the love of my life Matt Harried.


Hoobyar, T and Dotz, T (2013) NLP: The Essential Guide to Neuro-Linguistic Programming. HarperCollins Publishers

Pearce, M. (2019) What the Heck is Gestalt? Touched by a Horse, Inc,

Van Der Kolk, Bessel (2015) The Body Keeps the Score. Penguin Books