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Beth Anstandig

Natural Leadership invites us to learn about ourselves by studying and experiencing how other animals and animal groups live, relate, survive, and thrive. It turns out that the simplest signals of our bodies are the source of key information about our needs. AND, the signals of our bodies give us information about the needs of our herd members. Humans are herd animals just like our equine friends, so we function best when surrounded by a stable and supportive herd of people who are committed to our well being and who are radically honest about what they notice about our needs.

To say it more bluntly, we need people who are willing to give us timely and direct feedback when they see us struggling. The quicker the feedback, the more efficiently we can make adjustments and minimize our stress. Remember, our mammal system is not designed to sustain stress over time. We are all about the efficient return to EASE as an optimal state of being.

Our Circle Up Experience herd is dedicated to normalizing our need to learn basic mammal skills. Natural Leadership is something we learn throughout our human life cycle as our needs shift and change, as we develop and evolve, and as we allow our beautiful lives to become more complex and expansive.

If you are ready to learn more about Natural Leadership, our herd is growing to better serve you. 

Brad Lande-Shannon | Stephanie Holdenreid | Judith Forrest | Amy Hublou | Diane Hunter | Andy Robson

Meet our growing team, who is ready to help you discover the power of equine-assisted learning with Circle Up’s Natural Leadership training, team building, and personal development program. Our unique approach partners people with horses for hands-on activities and experiences at a local ranch.

In addition to our location in mid-coast Maine, we continue to operate in San Francisco (Bay Area), California. And we have grown to include ranches in Portland, Oregon; Southern Marin County, California; Boise, Idaho; and Austin, Texas. To learn more about our offerings and working with us at one of our Circle Up locations, click here.


Brad Lande-Shannon, Core Facilitator

Brad Lande-Shannon, Core Facilitator

A long-time C-suite executive himself, Brad has a first-hand understanding of the pressures and stresses that face company founders, leaders, and high performance teams. This is partly why he first turned to Natural Leadership as he faced his own professional challenges.

“From my earliest interactions with Beth, I felt at ease,” he says. “She modelled Natural Leadership with me. I got to see it and feel it in action as a recipient. I felt safe, supported, and recognized.”

Like Beth, Brad grew up with a love of horses, having competed with the National Cutting Horse Association as a youth and now as an adult amateur dressage competitor, he’s combined his deep horse expertise with his executive leadership coaching. Over the course of his career, Brad’s guided thousands of leaders on values, purpose and emotional intelligence and well-being.

Certified in the 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership and following training from The Center for Equus Coaching (formerly The Koelle Institute), Brad enrolled in the Natural Leadership program.

“It has impacted me in many ways, but mostly I notice myself being less reactive and less frequently triggered by life circumstances or relationship dynamics,” he says. “I have a stronger ability to pause and be intentional about my interactions. I use all of my senses, including body intelligence, when making decisions, micro or macro, and not just my overworking mind. I’ve learned how to stabilize my own nervous system and bring calm, focus and ease to a team.”

Compared to other programs, Brad says Natural Leadership is, “deceptively simple and multi-dimensional in its use cases to apply and teach.” Brad has an equestrian facility that offers Natural Leadership facilitation, coaching and programming at Awake Ranch, near Portland, Oregon, which he acquired with his husband in late 2022.

“We are home to 16 horses, three goats, and two cats surrounded by Pacific Northwest trees and on farmland that regularly displays exquisite sunset and sunrise views.”

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Stephanie Holdenried, Core Facilitator

Stephanie Holdenried, Core Facilitator

Stephanie Holdenried was born, raised on and a partner in a multi-generational family ranch in Northern California (she is the 6th generation). As a kid, she ran livestock enterprise projects and worked various jobs on the ranch involving irrigation and orchard/vineyard maintenance. Before studying to become an equine-assisted facilitator, she spent her post-university career working in family-owned businesses in ranching, the wine business, and adventure travel — and knows well the dynamics of working with relatives, legacy, and evolution. 

Stephanie has mentored and coached thousands of clients on their personal and professional development journey with horses as her partner. She’s worked with individuals exploring new ways of being, teens and adults in recovery programs, and corporate professionals in leadership development. She also co-founded Marin Ranch School, an innovative learning space for kids. 

Through the horse and sheepherding world, Beth and Stephanie’s paths crossed.

“I met up with Beth to work sheep with our Border Collies at her ranch in California,” says Stephanie. “Guided by Beth, I saw and experienced scope through the eyes of my dog. We tapped into the ancient laws of nature and natural leadership, and life hasn’t been the same since.”

“I’ve studied natural horsemanship and horse behavior for years, and Beth’s Natural Leadership model draws on those principles providing a clear structure and container of awareness that can be applied to a variety of leadership scenarios outside the corral. I use this framework now whether working with a client, negotiating a family situation, or helping a friend.”

Stephanie continues, “For me, personally, having Natural Leadership in my toolbox helps me organize my thoughts and tune into my body’s innate wisdom when I need some direction or problem solving. I am so excited to bring Natural Leadership into my existing and new equine-assisted facilitation work.”

A lifelong horsewoman, Quarter Horses and Rocky Mountain Horses are Stephanie’s current favorite rides. She loves exploring the wilderness and horse cultures around the world by horseback. Other expertise includes training a Mustang, in-hand groundwork, deep dives on equine pain and brain science as well as exploring non-dominance training methods. 

She works out of a 14-horse historic stable property set amid a National Park on the coast in Marin County and lives with her partner, Mark, of 15 years, their two Border Collies, a cat, and a hunky Quarter Horse gelding. She has two children who are successfully adulting.  (Best accomplishment yet!)

Stephanie is a Certified Equine Interaction Professional – Educator (CEIP-ED), a Certified Nutrition Consultant (NC), and Heart Math-trained. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. 

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Judith Forrest, Core Facilitator

Judith Forrest, Core Facilitator

With over three decades of consulting experience, Judith blends her background in psychology, business leadership, and organizational development with equine-facilitated learning to enhance her clients’ professional and personal development. This equine connection led Judith to The Circle Up Experience and Beth Anstandig’s Natural Leadership Model.

“When I first met Beth, I observed that she embodies the kind of leadership I believe we need more of. I am both impressed and touched by the clear and beautiful way her Model provides a map for how we can honor our animal bodies while we learn to collaborate with one another in harmony with nature.”

As a native Northern Californian who finally settled a few miles from where she was born, Judith has a deep passion for the region. She serves as president of the Board of Directors of Ocean Riders of Marin in Muir Beach, CA, a non-profit organization committed to providing a place for horses and the public to interact with them within Southern Marin County, where land for horses is limited.

But it’s not just the horses in need. Judith explains, “Over the last decade, I have observed the accelerating pace of change, and numerous other cultural factors take a toll on my clients.” She continues, “There are many business, leadership and organizational practices that are in need of significant updating to meet the many challenges we face.”

Using the Natural Leadership Model, Judith works with leaders who “need support and guidance to reconnect (or connect) with their inner alignment, grounded and natural leadership capacities.”

Judith is a licensed psychotherapist, co-founder of Perspective2, a leadership and organization development consulting firm, and a certified equine education professional. She is trained in multiple coaching practices and organization development models. Judith was a senior facilitator with the popular Interpersonal Dynamics course at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She holds a BS in Speech Pathology and Audiology from California State University, Chico and an MS in Clinical Psychology from California State University, San Jose.

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Amy Hublou, Core Facilitator

Amy Hublou, Core Facilitator

A licensed marriage and family therapist, Amy has been in clinical practice for more than 20 years, providing a variety of therapies, including Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, farm-based therapy, and Ecotherapy (nature-based). She facilitates Natural Leadership programming for CUE at our California location and at her Eagle, Idaho Imagine That Farm, which she also integrates into her own Natural Leadership self-practice.

“As an equine-assisted therapist, I was very aware of concepts around awareness, communication, trust, and boundaries, but the Natural Leadership model consolidated all of these concepts and gave it a more expansive framework from which to work,” she says. “It’s also more interactive, engaging, and solution focused than other equine programs.” 

Amy doesn’t consider herself a horse expert, but as a youngster, she had a horse for five years. “When I was with my horse, I was fearless. It gave me freedom, discipline, connection, and love,” she recalls. “As an adult, I realized I was missing that, and I returned to horses as I searched for that connection again.”

Along with a herd of goats, ducks and chickens, Amy now has six horses. “I love being with my horses and in their company. I like the psychology of horses, the herd dynamics, and their personalities.”

Amy primarily works with clients and teams that are in caregiving roles, including parents, and helping professions, such as mental health and education.

“As groups who inherently want to help, we overextend ourselves and are left depleted. There is a need for a paradigm shift, a culture shift, and a mindset shift,” she says. “Natural Leadership has helped me to develop some accountability with myself in the practice of taking care of myself.”

Amy, along with Beth and another psychologist, is also the co-founder of the nonprofit Imagine That Ventures, which provides immersive outdoor experiences for those in the helping professions to promote well-being and resilience. 

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Diane Hunter, Core Facilitator

Diane Hunter, Core Facilitator

Diane’s relationship with horses and her journey into equine coaching developed later in life following a thriving, fast-paced corporate career and after becoming a mother. In 2009, while navigating the challenges of parenting a non-speaking child with autism, she followed her intuition to attend an equine retreat experience that changed the course of her life.

That pivotal weekend opened her awareness to the world of non-verbal communication and natural leadership. “I arrived feeling depressed, stuck and scared. After the experiences with horses, I returned home with a whole new perspective on how we communicate. I had also found a new commitment to change my way of being with my son. I felt hopeful, inspired and grateful, and it awakened a desire that led me on a powerful journey of healing and love.”

Wholeheartedly committed to this newfound awareness, Diane immersed herself in mentorship and diverse training. She established her integrative coaching practice, sharing the profound impact of equine experiences. It was during this journey that she crossed paths with Beth.

“Beth and I first met where there is no place to hide – in a round pen with a horse. The combination of her presence, heart, clarity and inner strength drew me in.” Beth’s Natural Leadership Model has deeply resonated with Diane since that first encounter. “It serves as a meaningful framework for understanding the non-verbal, embodied aspects of communication and relational leadership.”

Diane’s combined high-tech corporate experience, extensive coaching training and her personal journey with her son allow Diane to offer a unique, multifaceted perspective to her clients. “I am profoundly thankful for the opportunity to introduce the Natural Leadership Model to clients eager to awaken their innate leadership qualities.”

In addition to her training as a Core Facilitator with The Circle Up Experience, Diane is certified as a Master Equus Coach and Facilitator with The Center for Equus Coaching, a Level-1 Internal Family Systems (IFS) practitioner and a certified Mind-Body Coach. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. She offers equine experiences for individuals and small groups at a local ranch in Los Gatos, California.

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Andy Robson, Core Facilitator

Andy Robson, Core Facilitator

Andy Robson is a mother to two young girls and three giant dogs. Before starting a family, she had a career managing global product operations for Dell, working extensively in Asia, Europe and the Americas. 

Andy has an Industrial Engineering degree from Purdue University and an MBA from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas. Before settling in Austin to start a family, Andy lived and worked in Taipei, Taiwan. 

Andy has a lifelong passion for horses and has been riding since the age of six. She is immensely excited to be converging that passion and energy with her love of helping others and connecting people. Andy hopes to help others reconnect with their inner selves and find their own true North Star.

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If you are inspired to create a Natural Leadership Equine Experience for your organization, Circle Up can help you identify a core theme or topic and design a transformative experience.

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