The Water Calls: One Woman’s Journey to Reclaim Her Dignity and Freedom

In The Water Calls, Ariana masterfully crafts a mythical journey 
for any woman to embark on to find her wings, her voice, 
her “yes,” and her “no.”

What began as Ariana Strozzi Mazzucchi’s desire to understand her traumatic divorce became the revelation of a heroine’s journey. Written through the eyes and voice of “Emma,” Ariana unravels a lifetime of conditioning to fit in—to be “the good girl” and “the good wife”—convinced to hide her intuitive powers and deeply connected relationship to the natural world.

Through significant life moments, Ariana shares how her animal guides, sacred relationship with horses, and the healing lessons gleaned from nature helped her heal old wounds and betrayals—and reclaim her dignity and freedom. Her personal reflections reveal how a modern-day spiritual warrioress finds her way back to her shamanic way of being.

Each chapter, many adorned with her illustrations, provides inspiration from nature and her animal friends that ultimately guide Ariana through her most vulnerable and challenging undertaking: to stand tall without apology. At the end of each chapter, Ariana offers “opportunities to contemplate” and “time in nature reflections,” inviting readers to awaken to their personal transformations and take a stand for their original selves.

Author:  Ariana Strozzi Mazzucchi
Publication Date: August 22, 2022

Available at:

Link to
Link to

Ariana Strozzi Mazzucchi

Ariana Strozzi Mazzucchi grew up on the back of a horse on the coastal hills of Northern California. She enjoys sharing her love of animals, land, and nature with anyone who crosses her path. Her mission is to reconnect people to the natural world for the sake of saving the Great Mother Earth and all her creations.

She believes that time is of the essence. We need to take the reins in our own hands, form herds of like-minded people, share our dreams, and stand tall in the face of adversity. We need to awaken our spiritual longing and interconnectedness to all life and encourage possibility and hope in a time of uncertainty.  

Ariana is a pioneer in the field of incorporating horses into human education and learning, coining the term equine-guided education (EGE) in 1999. She began pioneering this work in the 1970s, training horse and rider in a variety of disciplines and winning champion awards in dressage, jumping, eventing, gymkhana, reining, and working cow horse.

During this time, she realized that horses were listening to subtle forms of energy, intention, and imagery. She believes she grew up knowing this, but her consciousness expanded immensely once she brought it into cognitive form. She began to see people as animals also and went on to study animal behavior at UC Davis, where she graduated with a degree in zoology in 1984.

Ariana spent several years working with birds of prey and other wildlife at the UC Davis Veterinary School and managed several animal and equine facilities. The birds and wildlife taught her many of the same lessons that the horses had. She felt a need to bring the magic of animal communication into the world of people and began studying human dynamics—aikido, leadership, and somatics—becoming a Master Somatic Coach in 1996.

The seemingly separate worlds of horsemanship and self-mastery began to blend together and ultimately shifted her orientation from traditional horsemanship (in which we control the horse’s behavior through a system of cues and orders) to seeing the horse as a sentient being who can actually guide us into a deeper connection with ourselves and our whole lives. 

She started to bring people out to work with the horses, not to learn how to work or ride the horse, but to practice energy awareness and centering. It was then she realized that the horses gave each person a truly unique experience that directly related to every other area of his or her life. This led to the beginning of Leadership & Horses™ in 1989.

Ariana’s students come from all walks of life, including youth, mothers, coaches, therapists, managers, small business owners, entrepreneurs, and corporate executives. Horses and the natural world have taught her to become more curious about helping people find their own reconnection to the natural world so they can come back into balance in their lives and have a better chance of staying on their destiny’s path.

She learned that the healing power of land and animals is profound beyond measure and also learned that our path is right in front of us once we get out of our clogged, logical appeals and rationalizations. Finally, she learned that it takes time to slough off and let go of the deeper underlying stories and experiences that stop us from being free in spirit and purpose.

Ariana Strozzi Mazzucchi is the author of the books, Equine Guided Education: Horses Healing Humans, Healing Earth; Horse Sense for the Leader Within; Planning Your Business in the “Horse as Healer/Teacher” Professions, and the DVD Intuitive Horsemanship™, as well as essays in the books, Being Human at Work and Horse Crazy. She cofounded the Strozzi Institute and has been in numerous agricultural board of director positions. 

In addition to her love of horses, Ariana is an avid rancher, plant medicine grower, winemaker, artist, and mother of three. As an artist, she loves to work in a variety of mediums, including scratchboard, sumi painting, oils, acrylics, beadwork, and watercolor.

To learn more about Ariana, visit

What Our Readers Are Saying…

“A remarkable woman with a remarkable life! I am so grateful to have been allowed access to Ariana’s history, art, and guided exercises, as The Water Calls takes us on a gentle journey inside ourselves and reawakens our beautiful connection to Mother Earth and all her creatures. The first layer of Ariana’s story and wisdom is refreshingly simple and direct … and then, after a time, there comes a moment when we notice that all along it was weaving circular webs into our very being, slowly and powerfully absorbed like a soft spring rain, until by the end we are saturated and utterly transformed. A book to savor slowly and then read again and again.”

Amy Ricafrente, Owner of Amy’s Kitchen 


“Emma’s journey is a tapestry of wisdom-rich stories and poems beautifully woven into the reflection of Ariana’s life. Through the eyes of nature—horses, birds, coyotes, and more—Ariana was guided to uncover aspects of her life through the magic of animal wisdom. As I read this book, I laughed and I cried. I saw humanity through a new lens. Ariana is a teacher, guide, and mentor to all, and the sharing of her most vulnerable Self touched my heart with love.”

Kami Guildner, author of Firedancer: Your Spiral Journey to a Life of Passion and


“Ariana’s stories are private treasures that don’t reveal themselves to the voyeur; rather, they are a feast for the famished feminine soul. It feels as if each word was set free from the magic place in between worlds, instinctively and vividly reminding us of who we really are and have always been. The Water Calls takes us on a journey that is utterly vulnerable and exquisitely powerful, leaving us hopeful, heartful, and head over heels in love with Mother Nature and all her creatures!”

Maryanne Comoroto, PhD, Author of Hindsight


“Ariana Strozzi Mazzucchi has beautifully crafted a must-read tale for every woman on a spiritual journey. Through her trials and tribulations, she shares how her animal guides, her sacred relationship with horses, and the healing lessons gleaned from nature helped heal old wounds and betrayals. At the end of each chapter, she offers reflections and time in nature prompts, revealing the inner workings of how a modern-day spiritual warrior finds her way back to her shamanic way of being in this world. This book is a recommended read for any intuitive, highly empathic, and earthbound being in transition.”

Kathy Pike, Author of Life Lessons from the Heart of Horses, Horse Spirits Speak, and Hope from the Heart of Horses

Readers’ Favorite Review

“It is nourishment for any human soul that seeks to find answers. It’s a must-read.”

The Water Calls: One Woman’s Journey to Reclaim Her Dignity and Freedom by Ariana Strozzi Mazzucchi is an unforgettable true-to-life story of one woman’s journey. It is simultaneously an opportunity for us readers to get to know ourselves, as well as to tap into the latent connection we have to Mother Nature and what she has to offer. It is about how the author learned to set herself free after she emerged triumphant from struggling to make sense of her chaotic divorce. She shares her personal story as an invitation for you to explore your journey to free yourself from the shackles of other people’s judgments and expectations. Each chapter presents a poem that expresses an artistic sense of her personal experience, which she claims is presented in a pure state both spontaneous and intuitive.

Ariana Strozzi Mazzucchi’s combined narrative, verses, and images are profoundly evocative, making you sense the most powerful things in nature. It is a testament to the healing properties of the natural things around us, particularly animals, that guided Mazzucchi to decode the riddles of her existence with their untainted wisdom. The rhythm and sounds of her tales resonate, giving you a sense of renewal, of rebirth, as the most natural things yield fascinating revelations when you pay attention to them. The Water Calls isn’t simply written from the viewpoint of imagination. It is written from the heart and mind of observation and experience. It is nourishment for any human soul that seeks to find answers. It’s a must-read.”

Ariana Strozzi Mazzucchi’s combined narrative, verses, and images are profoundly evocative, making you sense the most powerful things in nature.”

Click for More Readers’ Favorite Reviews