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Meet Maria Delavan of Horse and Soul in Conroe

Today we’d like to introduce you to Maria Delavan.

Maria fell in love with the idea of horses during the 1996 Olympics. While visiting her grandparents in Canada, she watched the equestrian competition with complete awe and wonder. As a result of that moment, she began pursuing riding as a sport, competing in Hunter/Jumpers and eventing throughout her childhood, then taking a break just before she started college.

It was her grandest passion and her safest refuge growing up. When with the horses she felt free and known. After taking a break for a few years while attending college in Southern California, Maria picked riding back up as the result of some counsel from one of her mentors.

As soon as her feet hit the dirt out of her little convertible and she took a deep breath of horse smell, the passion flooded back into her like a tidal wave. From that moment she knew she had to combine her passions of helping people find freedom and horses. Her trajectory was set and caused her to move to Colorado in 2010 after graduation to pursue a Master’s degree from Denver Seminary.

While in Seminary, horses miraculously were given to her to pursue this passion and she started Horse and Soul, which at the time operated as a riding academy that specialized in mentoring young girls and proving them a safe place to learn skills that could be applied to every area of their lives. She taught them to work ethic, service, and communication.

Several years later, after meeting her husband, Mark, she and her family moved to Conroe, Texas where Horse and Soul began to take a new shape. This time, instead of operating as a riding academy, Maria became certified in Faith-Based Equine Assisted Philosophy which partners with horses to expose unhealthy thought patterns and offer healthy alternatives so people might live confidently in their personal lives, families and in their workplaces.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
There have been a few bumps in the road. Being an entrepreneur is never easy. While I was single and operating my business in Colorado, it took me a good two years to become profitable. Money was tight, but I always had everything I needed.

In 2015, I felt like she had finally made it. Her business was booming, and she had a successful show team and was traveling and speaking at retreat centers in Wyoming and Colorado. Because of that success, moving to Texas at the end of 2016 was difficult for Maria. Giving up my company and clients in Colorado to help my husband advance in his career was a challenge, and it took me about a year and a half to adjust and figure out what Horse and Soul were going to offer moving forward.

During this time, I also found out I was pregnant with a baby girl and gave birth in November 2017 to my daughter, Colette. Adjusting to this new life was disorienting, and I had to recalibrate my life to accommodate this beautiful new person I am responsible for. At the same time, one of the values I hold dear is the pursuit of dreams and it is a priority for me to show my daughter how anyone can achieve anything and follow their dreams if they work hard and live with integrity.

Through some wise counsel and research, I was able to find Unbridled Faith in Mankato, Minnesota that offered a certification in Faith-Based Equine Assisted Philosophy and I started on my journey. I now am managing to be a part-time stay at home mom and a part-time Executive Director of Horse and Soul– and loving every second of both.

Please tell us about Horse and Soul.
Horse and Soul help people live hopeful and confident in every area of their lives. We help everyone from women coming out of addiction in need of healing and freedom to corporate executive teams needing help with organizational processes and communication – and everything in between.

We have served families on the verge of divorce and children who struggle with harmful anger. The way we help is by partnering with horses in activities that help expose unhealthy thought and behavior patterns quickly and replace them with truth and healthy thought patterns to release people, families, and businesses that are whole.

We are different from most other Equine Assisted Learning opportunities because we carry and offer joy, peace, and freedom in our work. We are so proud of how we maintain the dignity of our participants. We wholeheartedly believe that our participants already have the answers inside of them. It is simply our job to create a space for those insights to come out. Once they do the client’s life, family and business will never be the same!

We have testimonies of children discovering new tools for communication with their parents and peers, companies struggling with communication now openly having communication and organization that provides simple roadmaps for their clients to increase productivity and sales, and marriages getting quickly to the root of their struggles and therefore able to fix the issues at the source.

We love helping people live a life that they find restful and free of anxiety. A life where they feel free to be themselves and feel known.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My favorite memory from childhood would have to be when I received my first horse. His name was Turbo and he was a Mustang. I got him just before my 11th birthday and my mom actually kept him until he died just a few years ago. He was almost 30 years old.

I remember being so surprised when my mom decided to buy him for me. My riding instructor owned him and told me casually in my lesson one day that he was for sale. I told my mom about it when I got home that day and to my complete surprise she called up my instructor and told her that we would like to buy him! It was better than any Christmas morning I could have ever imagined. My beloved school horse was officially mine!


  • Individual Sessions $50
  • Marriage and Family Sessions $100
  • Corporate Sessions are $50/person

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Hernandez Photography

Getting in touch: VoyageHouston is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.


  1. Courtney Skiera-Vaughn

    January 31, 2019 at 12:15 am

    What a beautiful project and ministry!

  2. Pat Terry

    February 2, 2019 at 12:25 am

    This is such an awesome and amazing way to help others find who they truly are

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