Foreword for Open Heart, Open Mind
by Sharon Wilsie
Author of Horse Speak
Founder of Wilsie Way Horsemanship
Heidi Potter has been a standard name in quality horsemanship for the Southern Vermont region for many years. In my own work with horses, I have come across her students in many settings and have heard nothing but praise.
I’ll never forget my first meeting with Heidi, when she asked me to come to her farm to provide a consultation. I found her to be charming, knowledgeable and eager to learn as much as she could about yet another system. Her hunger for learning, I believe, is what supports her excellent gifts as a teacher. It is rare to find someone in this profession with as much experience as she has, to still be so open and humble.
Since our first encounter, I have been lucky to enjoy Heidi’s company in many settings, and her straightforward, honest approach to both horses and life has come as a breath of fresh air.
Her book is aptly titled, “Open Heart, Open Mind,” because this is absolutely her approach to her work.
Whether she is sharing her personal experiences with her own path as a Martial Artist, or imparting her thoughtful approach to helping people with practical, heart-centered support aimed at improving the horse/human bond, her stories are enjoyable. Heidi’s writing walks the path of both personal reflection and professional advice.
I believe whoever reads this book will thoroughly enjoy it.
“As our Centered Riding experiences show us, we can always learn something new. Most of us take these “Aha!” moments and tuck them in a mental file or jot them down for future reference. Heidi Potter took those moments one huge step further – she wrote a book about them! And the title reveals how she made that journey from learning to sharing what she learned: Open Heart, Open Mind – A Pathway to Rediscovering Horsemanship”
Heidi is a Level III Centered Riding clinician, Certified Horsemanship Association Master Clinician/Instructor and Horse Agility Accredited Trainer. To this special blend of expertise, Heidi brings many profound life lessons learned through the martial arts – lessons she says “…enhanced my horsemanship, my teaching and my everyday life.”
Right away in the book, you can sense the strong connection between Heidi’s Centered Riding background and her martial arts experience. Both disciplines have common elements through which the practitioner can gain knowledge, understanding and skills that deeply impact her life.
Heidi lists these common elements on page 29, as “Breathing ~ Centering ~ Grounding ~ Energy ~ Awareness ~ Mindfulness ~ Blending.” Many will sound familiar to us, as Centered Riding practitioners. But as Heidi points out, she experienced them “…first in the dojo [martial arts class] and secondly when I got involved with Centered Riding.” This reminded me of Sally Swift’s path in developing Centered Riding, how she encountered various key systems of mind/body awareness, and bodywork and movement modalities. Then she eventually applied them to riding and to life, and came up with Centered Riding!
Heidi goes on to discuss these elements in a clear, accessible way, including exercises and anecdotes that make the book very personal, memorable and engaging to read. That personable style continues throughout the book, which I found very informative and quite delightful.” Read more >
Excerpt from a review by Mary Trafford, published in the Centered Riding Newsletter, Fall 2017
“Heidi Potter is an accomplished horsewoman who believes in a mindful, natural approach to training and teaching. In her new book, Open Heart, Open Mind, she shares the journey that has made her the horsewoman she is today.” Read more >
Excerpt from Equine Wellness, April/May 2017
“It is rare indeed to find a teacher of Heidi’s caliber who is open-minded enought to study and apply different methods, evolving them into a coherent philosophy – and then to share her insights in a really good book!” Read more >
Excerpt from a review by Nicki Esdorn, published in the Icelandic Horse Quarterly, Issue Two 2017
Comments from Readers
“This book is beautiful and heart-centered. It is filled with many ways to connect with creatures, large and small. I trust its readers will treasure it. Let me add, I’m not a horse owner.”
“This book is very interesting, keeps you reading and fabulously informative. Love it! I am also using the ideas shared as I prepare for my retirement.”
“I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying your book. I plan on finishing the last page and starting all over again! It has arrived a time in my life when I need it most and is filling me with inspiration. I cannot thank you enough for sharing your stories and your insight.”
“My Friday night: a beer and a good book. I’m really enjoying your book so far. It is really interesting to read about your martial arts experiences and how they relate to horsemanship. Your martial arts training is quite different from the Taekwondo that I trained in. There are some similarities, but they certainly are very different arts. Just found my favorite quote so far. “Opportunities for growth and learning really flourish when things go wrong.” This is so true in horsemanship and everywhere else.”
“This book is so beautiful and well written.”
“This book will open your heart and your mind. You’ll learn what is possible with horses when you bring balance and harmony to your horsemanship. Heidi’s unique journey takes us from dreaming about her first horse to showing us that every relationship is different and requires a mindful approach. She gives the reader practical advice by sharing her real life stories. What makes Heidi’s approach unique is the plethora of experiences from various disciplines she brings to the horse arena. You will be hard pressed to find many people that approach horsemanship in this manner. Thank you Heidi, for sharing your insights and journey.” – Dr. Jeannine Berger DVM, DACVB, DACAW, CAWA – VP of Rescue and Welfare at the SF SPCA and first of all horse admirer.
“I’ve been dipping into your book. Love it!! You write well and keep it entertaining and on point. The photos are good, the inserts summarizing the actions required are excellent! I am so impressed!” – Cathy Drumm, Trainer, Coach, Clinician
“Heidi Potter’s Open Mind, Open Heart is a gem of a book. Potter weaves principles from the martial arts, Centered Riding™, and her own unique insights into a style of horsemanship that is not only fresh and inventive, but also infinitely practical. Heidi Potter’s book is as close as you can get to having an inspiring teacher right there in the barn with you.” – Karen Elizabeth Baril, Freelance writer whose features appear regularly in Equus Magazine, the Equine Journal and on infoHorse.com.
“I LOVE your book. Every time I go out to feed, do my chores or spend time with my 5 Horses I am “mindful and quiet”. My heart becomes so overwhelmed with the love, connection and peace I feel. I feel we have more communication than ever before. Thank you Heidi”