Megan and her husband, Scott
Hi Megan, tell us about yourself: Do you ride? If you do tell us when and where you started? Do you own a farm?
I’ve been riding since I was 5 or 6 years old. I started out with a pony named Katie who was a typical pony and taught me a lot about being aware and being tough. Ha!
In 7th grade, my parents and I bought my first ‘real horse’, an AQHA mare named Rochester’s Mujer (Rocky). She’d been trained for Horsemanship & Western Pleasure. My second horse was an AQHA mare named Klondike’s Rose (Rosey) who was a granddaughter of Two Eyed Jack and loved to run. So, I used Rocky for Horsemanship & Western Pleasure, Rosey for games & barrels. We had fun entering different classes at our local 4H events. Rosey & I went to a few local rodeos, but the majority of our time was spent out in the woods on trails riding with my friends. We had Rocky bred and her son, Rochester’s Sun Bar (Sunny) is still alive and about to turn 25 this month. He still resides at my parents. The other two passed on in their late 20’s.
My stepdad used to drop me off where we boarded at 5:30am and I’d ride until I had to go to school in the morning, same thing after school, I’d ride until dark. From 7th grade until I graduated, if I wasn’t in school or working, I was with the horses. They were and still are such a blessing to me.
After graduation, I moved to different cities across the U.S. and didn’t have horses again for 16 years. In 2014, I was living back in northern Minnesota and I had the opportunity to have horses again! I bought another AQHA mare, Lil Lady Joe (Joey) who is my heart horse, she goes back to Two Eyed Jack so I have a piece of Rosey in her. She is a beautiful palomino and is such a sweetheart. Following Joey, came another AQHA mare named Steppin’ For Belle (Annie) who like my other red sorrel mare Rosey – loves to run. My third horse is a QH gelding named Earl who is something really special, too. I joke that if I want to ride straight down a trail, I take a mare. If I want to meander all over the place, possibly walk into a tree, I’ll take the gelding.
I love trail riding, horse camping and attending clinics & obstacle courses with all of them. We winter in Arizona, so we can ride down there when it’s miserable in northern Minnesota.
My husband has owned and operated Beaver Creek Outfitters out of Craig, CO for the past 16 years. He takes people elk hunting up in the mountains. They pack in by horses and stay in wall tents. He is now in the process of selling so we went from 50+ horses & mules over the past year to just under 15. The horses would live with us in Minnesota spring & summer, the majority would go west with Scott in the fall. I’d stay home and take care of a handful them and our home here. A friend would take them in the winter as we’re on the road. Things are different around here this year – the pasture seems SO empty! Luckily, we are able to get pictures and still see what their up to.
Tell us about the Healing Barn Movement? Why did you start it?
I’ve been on a natural health journey for over 20 years. We live in one of the sickest countries on Earth and spend the most money on healthcare & prescription drugs…we used to be one of the healthiest. Something is wrong with how the majority of people are taking care of themselves. I made a conscious decision to spend my money on HEALTH care vs SICK care. We created a ‘healing home’ which basically means we stopped giving our money to companies that were knowingly poisoning us.
After one of our horses had a terrible allergic reaction to a drug prescribed by our local vet, the light bulb turned on and I realized I needed to create a healing barn for them and STOP using feed & products that may be doing more harm than good.
I needed to take better care of them. Do my due diligence about what I was feeding, spraying & slathering on them.
We had life changing results that I could not help but share with my friends & family.
At a riding lesson with my friend/trainer, Michelle, I told her I was feeling led to start my own business to help people do what we were doing and asked her if she thought I should. Without hesitation, she said, “Yes. Absolutely. Sign me up. What can I do to help?” I said, “I’m not sure, I’ll find that out and get back to you!”
Thus, the Healing Barn Movement was born and has expanded internationally over the past few years! Turns out, I’m not the only one who wants to know better, do better and use products that are safe for us, our pets and our environment. I love to ‘vote with my dollars’ and only give my money to companies that are working hard to sell a quality product. There are others who want to learn more about all things natural –barefoot trimming, bodywork, equine coaching, natural horsemanship training, etc.
The HBM continues to grow & expand as others join us to learn what we’re doing and add value by sharing the holistic methods they are passionate about! I’m partnered with many female entrepreneurs who are led to educate others about natural health & wellness options.
How long have you been in business?
Since July 19, 2017. My equine chiropractor encouraged me to start a year or two before I was ‘ready’. Before that, I was ‘too busy’ until I realized my purpose and that there really was nothing more important to me than helping humans & horses. You make time for what is important. I do this alongside my full time job and other life priorities, it’s a perfect fit.
Tell us about your natural health journey?
I grew up in northern Minnesota, out in the country. My mom raised my sister and I from a very young age until she married my step-dad when I was in 7th grade. I guess we were poor although my sister and I didn’t know it. ? We loved growing up in the country, playing outside, camping, building forts, skating on the swamp out back, hiking through the woods, etc. We grew up eating venison (which my mom usually harvested for us) and vegetables out of the garden. We didn’t eat fast food and weren’t allowed to drink pop, sugary drinks, etc. We rarely got sick and if we did, we didn’t go to the doctor – my mom would take care of us at home using food, plants, etc.
As I began to get older, I realized that wasn’t the norm. In college, I had a mentor who was passionate about teaching me about what was wrong with our healthcare system in the U.S. He was over the top about corruption in the government, FDA, CDC, etc. But, I began to open my eyes, do my own research and have realized that over the past 20 years that everything he told me has come to fruition and is being exposed. This past year especially.
After college, I sold health insurance for a few years. That career choice still doesn’t make sense to me, but it was a good job and it was an opportunity in a small town I was living in. Most of our clients were Medicare age and I think that was when I had my big AHA moment. To watch people of all shapes, sizes & health or sick conditions walk through the door and see the med lists they were all taking, hear them complain about how awful they felt and say ‘this is what you have to look forward to’ or ‘don’t ever get old’ – I knew I wanted something different for my life and for those I cared about.
I believe with all my heart that God put me here to help those that are wanting something different for themselves and their animals explore another option aside from what the mainstream is programming us to think is normal or beneficial.
What is the curriculum you set up for horse owners?
It starts out with Module 1-3 which basically goes through step by step what we use for the horses, why we use it and how we use it so people can quickly learn how to create a healing barn. The main topic areas are: cleaning products, horse care products, diet & supplements, medications & vaccines.
For each section, I created free downloads that outline harmful ingredients in commonly used options and the side effects of those ingredients. I then put together a corresponding download with safe options & their health benefits. There are different DIY options, recipes and videos as well.
I tried to touch on and answer all the questions we’ve gotten over the years from different horse owners and put the material in ONE place that is off of Facebook which is heavily censoring natural health information. I wanted it to have a ‘community’ option which it does – members can ask questions, share testimonials and share pictures of their horses.
Because I work with amazing women who like me, want to help horse owners – there is a section for our equine professionals. I interview them and they can use this platform to educate on their holistic equine businesses. For example, once a month, my holistic vet teaches us something that pertains to the season we are in and we’re able to ask her questions about anything we might have going on with our horses!
There is a section for Testimonials with miraculous transformations that were possible because we used what I share in the Healing Barn Movement. This makes it easy for members to search for an issue and find out what we did to help our horse recover.
I’m always available for consultations and love being able to hear what is happing with a horse and direct the member to the equine pro that I’ve used and trust and would recommend for that specific situation.
Tell us about the Holistic Animal Care Conference?
In October 2018, I attended my first Animal Care Conference in Utah. It was AMAZING. I was surrounded by like-minded people who were searching for safe options for their animals. I left there with pages and pages and pages of notes and so many great ways to help our herd.
Because traveling to Utah wasn’t an option for many people who were starting to do what I was doing in northern Minnesota, I decided to bring them a Holistic Animal Care Conference where I could bring my horses, share testimonials and demonstrate what we were doing live.
Our first one was in 2019. I rented a small arena & buildings at our local fairgrounds. I was working with my holistic vet who traveled the US speaking at different events and I asked if she’d help me out and be a presenter. She agreed. ? I asked a few other friends who I trusted because they helped our horses & I felt confident recommending what they did to others – my equine chiro, our equine massage therapist, my friend who is my natural horsemanship trainer & does incredible demos at liberty, under saddle, etc.
We had almost 100 people there!
To date, it has been an in-person event as it is hands on, live demos, etc. Our first year was a one-day event, the last two have been two days and that works the best as we have so many great speakers now! We moved the location to Michelle’s indoor arena which offered us a lot more room. Some of us bring our LQ horse trailers and camp onsite. There is also a hotel within 5 miles. We have group campfires, potlucks & cater in pizza Saturday night. We’ve had people fly in from across the United States to join us. It is so much fun!
Most of what we cover is available in the Healing Barn Movement online course so the in-person event is a fun extra for all of us to get together, meet in person, etc. With our live Zoom calls monthly, we can meet and see each other the rest of the year on there.
I’m planning to host similar events in Arizona starting this winter or next.
Tell us about one of your mentors in the horse community.
Dr. Barbara Fox, DVM has been such a blessing to our horses lives which directly makes our lives better! I was referred to her by a friend years ago and am so grateful for her expertise and the great friendship that has developed. She was diagnosed with breast cancer years ago. She let them remove the lump but declined all other traditionally recommended treatment options.
She decided to take control of her health and help her body heal itself, which is what God designed them to do. She’s been cancer free for 15 years. After she saw what she could do for herself and began down this path, she decided to go a more holistic route in her veterinary practice. She consults with people all over the world. I’ve learned so much from her – most of it is in the Healing Barn Movement. I admire her immensely, she is incredibly strong, determined and passionate at educating people on safe ways to take care of their pets.
What do you do for fun/days off?
I love learning about anything natural health related – recently I’ve started diving into dowsing so I’m reading up on that, practicing and Dr. Barb is mentoring me. ?
I love trail riding. I’m blessed to live within 20-30 miles of many HBM members & other friends who love to ride horse together. We try to meet up on Wednesday nights to ride and visit. We also have a lot of trails behind our house so friends will trailer over here to ride back there together.
I love horse camping so one or two weekends a summer I take trips with friends to do that.
I’m taking a Liberty Clinic & an Advanced Riding Clinic from my friend that helped me start the Healing Barn Movement. So, once a month I go to her arena/obstacle course. Most of us bring our LQ trailers so we can camp together one or two nights there while we’re learning cool things with our horses during the day.
And, fortunately, I love what I do so I get to have fun all day long even when I’m ‘working’. ?
Please Contact Megan Gesell at:
Thanks Megan for all the interesting information!!! Megan’s Business ad can be seen at www.horses4yc.com