Maria Elizabeth Smith
EAD Facilitator / Certified Life Coach
Maria Elizabeth Smith of "Heart Centered Equestrian" is a master horsewoman and equine behaviorist. When Maria founded Equestrian Arts Foundation around 15 years ago, she was fairly new to Equine Assisted Development work. Her interest actually started as a natural extension of her horse training business.
The more Maria learned about the psychology and behavior of horses, the more she discovered that people and horses needed the same things to be happy and healthy. We all need the feeling of CONNECTION and the feeling that we have POWER over our own life experience. And we all suffer in similar ways when we don't have them.
Maria found that in her horsemanship training sessions, she was already coaching students in a way that included personal development. Horses are among the most sensitive, perceptive, fast learning animals, and they read a person's body language and intentions effortlessly. When a person needed help with their horse, they actually needed help with trust, communication, confidence, self-awareness, and leadership. These are the qualities that every horse responds to.
Now Maria focuses on training people to train their own horses, but she used to specialize in rehabilitating horses with extremely challenging behavior issues. She knew that they were products of their environment, just like any struggling human. And she met them with compassion, seeing them and treating them like the best version of themselves, as she unwound the tangle of fears and behaviors that lead them to be in her arena. Eventually, the best version of these horses was revealed, because it was truly always there.
Her goal was to help the horse discover a path out of old patterns by their own choices, as she set them up to succeed with new understanding, new strategies to cope with stress, and new faith that people were inherently good. The amazing thing was that Maria felt like she was growing as a person every time she connected deeply with a horse to rehabilitate them. At that point, she knew that she had to find a way to bring horses and people together to help each other.
Maria went on to become a Certified Master Life Coach and has spent the past couple of decades in continuous self-education on the topics of Holistic Health, Behavior, Learning, and Communication, and Corporate Team & Leadership Development.
Maria is available for private Equine Assisted Life Coaching sessions for those interested in exploring self-improvement or team & leadership development through horses and horsemanship.