Unbridled & FreeHorse Arts
How the partnership began:
On December 6, 2018 Kim Hallin received a seemingly random email message through the website for her newly established equine experiential learning business from a woman named Nancy Munoz. The message read simply: "Hi Kim, I received Karen Rohlf's email regarding her upcoming seminar, watched your commentary, and can't help but feel that connecting with you is part of the plan. That said, I read your October blog, shared it with a few friends, and just wanted to share love and gratitude." (links have been added here for context.)
Of course, Kim was intrigued. She responded to Nancy's email and the two scheduled an appointment to connect via Zoom in the new year.
After that video meeting in January 2019, Kim sent the following message to Nancy: "It was so nice chatting with you this morning. I honestly don't know what it was I said in that interview with Karen that clued you into the fact that we're on a similar wavelength and path, but I'm so glad you trusted your instincts and reached out! I agree that we're meant to be connected in some way or another on this journey."
To which Nancy replied: "I'd have to listen to your interview again to see if it was anything in particular that you said, but my recollection is that it was more your honesty, sincerity, and acknowledgement of the journey at hand, along with an intuition of a need for connection that moved me."
Nancy has since joked that the friendship between the two women represents her one and only experience with anything resembling "online dating". But the truth is, Nancy was simply following (and honoring) her intuition; something many humans struggle to find the courage to do. Kim received Nancy's outreach with a spirit of curiosity and openness. Conscious awareness of what's needed and trusting in higher spirit are qualities Nancy and Kim have in common. These are foundational elements in their relationship, and remain at the heart of their personal and professional collaborations.
Meet Kim and Nancy:
(both pictured here with Relicario)
Kim is the owner/founder/equine-inspired soul guide at Unbridled LLC and the author of Horse Wisdom: Life Lessons for Humanity. She took a leap of faith in 2017, leaving a 20-year career in higher education administration and fundraising to launch Unbridled, where she offers nature-based experiential learning at her small farm in Ravenel, SC. She also supports other horse-loving & spirit-guided humans through a dynamic virtual membership community called The Kinship of the Herd.
Kim earned her bachelor's degree from St. Andrews Presbyterian College (NC) and holds a masters degree in public administration and non-profit management from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She earned (and maintained) the Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) credential from 2003 until 2017. Kim's formal horsemanship background includes extensive training in Natural Horsemanship, Clicker Training and CAT-H although she no longer believes the horse-human relationship should be defined or limited by the paradigms of riding or training. Kim's journey is one of remembering how to live in organic, authentic relationship with horses, self and others as a path toward experiencing The Community of Life, and receiving the inherent wisdom therein.
Passionate about creating opportunities through the transformative power of music, Nancy has produced events ranging from the One World Concert For Peace with the Dalai Lama and the Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year Awards honoring Gloria Estefan, to the Songwriters Hall of Fame Awards with performances by hundreds of artists ranging from Lady Gaga, Pink, Drake, Jennifer Hudson, Jason Mraz and Justin Timberlake to Queen, Cat Stevens, Dave Matthews, Neil Diamond, Dolly Parton, Smokey Robinson and Garth Brooks. While managing noted producer Phil Ramone, Nancy facilitated numerous recordings with artists including Barbra Streisand, Billy Joel, Bono, James Taylor, John Legend, Paul McCartney, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Sting, Tony Bennett, among others. She has had the pleasure of working with many more to include the Muppets and Daft Punk while managing the legendary songwriter, actor, music industry executive and recovery advocate, Paul Williams.
A certified Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) instructor, Nancy has long been focused on a range of humanitarian and philanthropic work to expand individual capabilities through arts and equine assisted exploration for all ages and abilities.
From there, the partnership has been intentionally nurtured with a focus on higher purpose, balanced energy-exchange and conscious community:
In March of 2019 Nancy made a trip from NY to SC to meet Kim and the Unbridled herd in person. The women spent two days together in communion with the horses, getting to know one another energetically, exploring possibilities, leaning into intuition and laying the groundwork for a sustainable partnership: shared values. At that time, Nancy (who works for the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers), was in the final year of an intensive production contract that she had decided not to renew in order to free up time and energy to establish FreeHorse Arts (which was was still in the visioning stage at that time). Nancy knew that the most important step was finding the right humans to invite into the sacred herd of co-creation. Taking an inspired leap of faith, the two women (who still barely knew one another) agreed to move forward, trusting that honest communication and their shared commitment to honoring one another and the higher path forward would result in a mutually supportive collaboration.
Three months later, in June of 2019, Nancy returned to South Carolina with two other women who would later become the co-founders of FreeHorse Arts. Together with Shoki, Puck, Tempo, Markus and Relicario (the Unbridled herd), Kim and Nancy co-facilitated a two-day Equine Immersion Retreat with Candace Mraz and Erin Thomas. Nancy and Kim trusted the horses to confirm whether this small group of inspired women would be well-suited to move forward in birthing both a new non-profit and a potential creative public-private partnership between FreeHorse Arts and Unbridled LLC. At the end of the immersion retreat, the four women agreed to reunite again a month later (July 2019) at Nancy's home in upstate New York. There they engaged in three days of intensive strategic planning and spiritual exploration of self in community. Kim and Nancy also co-facilitated a clinic at Hawk Rise Farm to further investigate their individual and collective leadership styles while supporting participants in connecting with the horses through embodied energy and intention.
The four women continued working remotely for the remainder of 2019, ultimately enabling FreeHorse Arts to begin offering online inclusive arts education in 2020 for people with diverse abilities while continuing to provide nature-based equine experiential learning in the great outdoors during the COVID pandemic.
In November of 2021, Kim and Nancy developed innovative curricula and co-taught an online course through FreeHorse Arts on the Principles of a Healthy Herd. You can watch a video they created that served as the backbone for the course below.
In late summer 2021, Nancy and her two horses, Batamanas and Madya, moved from NY to Richmond, VA, which had become the administrative and creative headquarters for FreeHorse Arts. This move enabled FreeHorse Arts to begin offering in-person equine experiential learning in the Richmond area.
In March of 2022, Kim co-presented with a local professional peer (Anja Cain) at the PATH, Intl. Region III Conference in Aiken, SC, where Nancy and other PATH Instructors traveled to support them and to film the presentation on Guided Herd Observation.
In November 2022, two additional horses (Apache and Lukka) joined the FreeHorse Arts herd in Richmond, allowing for expanded inclusive programing for people with diverse abilities at a second site (Dandelion Springs Apiary).
©️All Rights Reserved, FreeHorse Arts and Unbridled LLC. Score by Chris Caswell/Kazz Song Inc. Additional video footage courtesy of April Anderson, Art As Air Project.
What's on the horizon:
Most immediately, Kim and Nancy are busy developing the curricula for a hybrid online/in-person course called Spirit Embodied that will launch through FreeHorse Arts in September 2023.
The rest of this story is yet to be written, but it's far from over. In the spirit of a healthy herd community, Kim and Nancy will continue to support one another in leaning into their individual and collective intuition to help move the field of equine experiential learning forward with integrity, compassion and respect. Most traditional Equine Assisted Learning programs are built on structured activities and goals for participants to accomplish, whether mounted or unmounted. Inherent in these models is a mindset of relating to both the participants and the horses as tools or objects of the trade, often separating a horse from their herd in order to provide a timed ‘service’ to the human. The Unbridled/FreeHorse Arts model is built upon a deep respect for the power of co-creation and understanding that supporting both humans and horses to be responsible for their own emotions, their own bodies, their own choices, and their own experience (in as safe and respectful a manner as possible), provides the most transformational learning and healing opportunities. Observing and interacting with horses when they are living as close to their natural state as possible (physically, emotionally and mentally) provides powerful opportunities for humans to witness and experience healthier models of community and interconnectedness.
If you'd like to send some energetic support in the form of a financial contribution to the work Kim and Nancy (individually or collectively) are doing in the world, here's two avenues: