Along with his horse, islander promotes personal growth
Jamestowner Brian Reid built a business in town as a home remodeler, but he said success didn’t bring happiness. He kept searching for something more. Reid always had liked self-improvement books, and eventually he found himself leaning towards a career helping people remodel their lives.
Reid discovered his 13 principles of self-fulfillment – dubbed “The Way of the Horse” – one day while sitting outside a stable with his shire mare, Brenda Lee. He was working his way through a stack of self-improvement audiotapes and books, but he couldn’t put the puzzle together.
“Everyone in personal development is saying the same thing,” he said. “To thine own self be true.” But nobody could seem to deliver the message in a way people could grasp.
He happened to glance over at his horse and realized she embodied the truth. His horse was living the message every minute of her life. “That’s Brenda,” he said. “She demands the truth.”
“The horse was never inconsistent,” he added. He said that Brenda literally solved the puzzle. “I found a way to make sense of all the things I’ve been teaching in personal development.”
Reid now travels across the country giving inspirational talks and holding workshops that promote personal development. The business is called Horses Know the Way Home. His next Rhode Island workshop is set for June 30 in Wickford.
Islander John Murphy vouches for Reid’s method, and credits him with getting him back into shape after years of inattention to diet and fitness.
“He’s for real,” Murphy said.
Murphy dropped in on a class Reid was teaching at Jamestown Fitness about nutrition and exercise. Murphy’s wife, Mary Jane, was participating. She suggested Murphy should consider joining.
“She pushed me,” he said. “I attended the first session. It was good, but I wasn’t really making a personal commitment.”
Then Reid insisted everybody in the group had to set a goal and pick something challenging. The goal, Murphy said, had to require some effort over a period of time.
Reid challenged him personally in front of the group and put him on the spot – Murphy agreed to make the Save the Bay swim from Newport to Jamestown. He had done the Save the Bay swim before – albeit a long time ago.
“I did it four years in a row when I was in my 40s,” said Murphy, who was a lifeguard growing up. Now 67, he was confident he could manage the swim. He also took Reid’s challenge to heart.
“I was publicly committed,” he said. “I couldn’t back off.” Murphy said Reid is a good teacher and inspires people.
Reid said he started to sprinkle in examples about Brenda Lee while he was teaching fitness classes. Eventually, he found people paid better attention when they physically interacted with the horse.
“I’m not that good,” he joked. But Brenda changed the whole workshop dynamic. When people touched the horse, they felt something they loved and something they thought was beautiful. They also started to feel their own power.
Reid has owned Brenda since she was a year old. He bought her from a New Hampshire breeder. She weighed 800 pounds and was not even full-grown yet.
“She looked like a little shire,” he said. Originally he was looking for a Clydesdale because he wanted a horse so big he couldn’t hurt it riding. He had a horse when he was 19, but he was so worried about hurting its back, he couldn’t enjoy riding.
Reid said he weighs 270 pounds, but Brenda is so big he can jump on her back and she hardly notices. At 2,300 pounds, she literally weighs a ton now.
“I can jump on her back, and it’s like a mosquito hitting her,” he said.
Reid said he used to lean on Brenda when he was coping with his remodeling company. His business exhausted him and he found himself going to the stable after work where he would fall asleep on her back.
“I’m snoring while she’s eating grass,” he said. “I can give her the weight of the world on her shoulders.”
Reid said Brenda will go over to people during the workshops and nudge them if she feels they’re holding back or if they’re about to experience an inner change. He believes all horses have that capacity.
Horses are a mystery because they’re domesticated animals, but they’ve also held on to the wild, he said. He added that a horse is a window into nature, and they lead easily into the principles of selffulfi llment.
If movie directors want to capture strength, power and beauty, Reid said, they can’t miss if they film a horse galloping across a beach.
“If you do not judge,” he said, “you access all you are.”