#49 Amanda Held: Creating a Clear Path

How can horses help a person be a better leader? So started this podcast with Amanda Held, an accomplished leader in a variety of settings. She shared compelling stories of what she has seen and experienced, along with quotes like this: “If you ask a question, you have to respect the answer that you get.” Early on, she tells a story of a toxic leader who transformed in a moment after getting a mustang to do something truly remarkable. Except he failed to remark, and it led him to a life defining moment that changed everything.  

More than once, I was moved to tears in this conversation. Amanda truly dances the tightrope between hard-edged science and the magic of an open heart. Several times, I asked her to repeat what she said, because it was so profound.  

So, who is Amanda Held? She would be the first to tell you she is much more than her bio. She truly shines through in this podcast episode. Here’s what her bio says.  

Amanda Held is a Founder, CEO, Horse & Human Potential Practitioner, Healing Facilitator, Published Author, and Air Force First Sergeant. Through decades of studying horse and human behavior, Amanda has developed powerful insights and evidence-based solutions that help both horses and humans actualize their full potential.

Amanda's passion is to deliver powerful event that create a clear path for participants to access deep levels of awareness and move into cohesion and self-mastery. Amanda has earned a place in the 2022 Success Magazine's "125 People of Influence" by spending over a decade empowering veteran, equestrians, mental health practitioners, facilitators, executives, and businesses gain the clarity and confidence necessary to obtain their high-level goals with ease. 

She also accepted the award for the Horses for Mental Health prize winning film at the 2022 EQUUS Film Fest, where we met at the beginning of December. The documentary trailer, HOOVES Healing Our Veterans was produced by Amanda Held and directed by Josh Nagel Productions. A beautiful and powerful message of the healing horses can bring through the wonderful programs providing these services. You can watch the 4-minute video here


  • What is it that makes a horse a better leader than a human? 3:25
  • Treatment Resistant Depression. 8:59
  • What happens when you have a heart-opening experience. 14:31
  • How do you open your heart so you can change? 20:32
  • People that have high Iqs often have a deficit in people skills. 24:32
  • The importance of being authentic and being human. 31:25
  • Horses are their prey animals and they will typically flee before they will fight. 37:15
  • You can’t dance with what’s happening if you’re not willing to dance with the change. 45:19
  • What is entropy? 48:55
  • The difference between growth and entropy -. 55:10
  • Every time you prevent someone from feeling uncomfortable, you’ve robbed them of the opportunity to grow. 1:07:16
  • The root cause of depression is a fantasy. 1:10:02
  • Dancing the tightrope of attachment. 1:14:57
  • Describe what you’re doing on that land for the veterans with the horses. 1:20:33
  • How to empower your clients to be self-led and self-organized. 1:26:02
  • When you can be that person, what will that allow you to do? 1:28:54
  • The universal bitch slap if we ignore the feedback of our environment. 1:34:33
  • Why your life matters to you. 1:40:50

Amanda's Website: https://www.equinewisdominstitute.org/

Website for Hooves: https://www.hooves.us/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amanda.coalethompson

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/equinewisdominstitute/