Kohanov to Speak at Organization Development Conference
Linda Kohanov has been chosen to speak at the annual Organization Development Conference in October. She will reveal how Epona’s equine-facilitated leadership techniques efficiently exercise the leadership presence, nonverbal communication, assertiveness, and emotional fitness skills necessary for training innovative leaders of the future.
Great Cover Story on Epona Center
An in-depth article on the Epona Center was featured in the April issue of Arizona Horse Connection. For an overview of the center’s history, facilities, and varied programs in horse training and human development.
Spring at Epona
Spring has arrived—in so many ways—at the Epona Center. The apple trees are blooming. New leaves on the massive cottonwoods look all the more striking against that cerulean blue high desert sky. Comet is getting ready to have her new foal any day now. And stallion Midnight Merlin will not only be a father in April, he’ll enjoy life as a grandfather come June when son Spirit and his mate Panther are due to become parents for the first time.
The center itself is growing by leaps and bounds. When Linda Kohanov’s first book The Tao of Equus hit the market in 2001, she suddenly had more interest in workshops and private lessons than she could sustain with her then modest facilities. Over the years, she expanded steadily as the demand grew, finally making her way to Apache Springs Ranch in 2005 where her longtime dream of creating an equestrian-oriented retreat center could be realized.
“Still, it’s taken us almost three years to get the facilities, staff, and horses in place to start offering a greater variety of workshops,” Linda says. “Previously, we had to limit our multi-week advanced programs to apprenticeships for educators and mental health professionals who have the resources to start equine-facilitated programs of their own. Some people would actually attend the apprenticeship for personal development reasons because that was their only option, but the extensive hours we spend on the facilitation techniques and theory limits how much time participants spend learning the riding and training skills, as well as creativity, personal empowerment, and intuitive communication skills that we also have the capacity to teach at a deeper level.
“We knew there were many other people who wanted to go deeper into the wisdom that horses have to offer outside the context of starting one’s own center. I’m happy to say that we now have a variety of options for people who want to study leadership, creativity, personal development, and/or horse training/riding skills the Epona way, outside the five-week apprenticeship program. And yet we’ve also developed options for people to receive credit for special interest workshops at the Epona Center that will allow participants to apply to Epona’s three-week Fast Track apprenticeship should they decide they want to start their own program in a few years.”
Previously, the Fast Track apprenticeship program was available only to people who attended the powerful two-week personal development program EASE (Epona Advanced Study Experience), which has a prerequisite of attendance at one basic workshop offered by Epona Approved Instructors worldwide. That’s still the case. Starting this year, however, people who attend a minimum of three workshops of their choice at the Epona Center can also apply to the Fast Track.
“This allows people who have specific interests and talents to get more in-depth training in those areas,” Linda says, “The EASE programs and the five-week apprenticeship currently bring together people with a wide variety of interests, offering a taste of the personal development, creativity, intuition, leadership, and horse training elements. In depth work in any one of these areas simply isn’t possible during those programs, but they do offer a great overview of the vast potential of what horses can teach people, that’s for sure. We’ve also had Approved Instructors request deeper work in specific areas, and so our new selection of advanced workshops allows us to tap knowledge I’ve wanted to share for years, but haven’t had the context in which to present it, or the staff, two-legged and four-legged, necessary to do it justice.”
Some specialty workshops, such as The Horse as Muse with equine artist Kim McElroy, the Writing between the Worlds horse-facilitated writer’s retreat, and the highly regarded Pioneering Spirit leadership clinic, can be effectively attended by first-timers on up through Approved Instructors. Other workshops—such as The Sentient Herd riding and training clinic, Rasa Dance advanced horse dancing clinic, and Keeper of the Mysteries, which explores horse archetypes of initiation and transformation—build on Epona’s emotional fitness and horse relationship skills, and thus require previous attendance at an introductory workshop or private intensive with an Epona Approved Instructor.
Coach Training through the Way of the Horse
The horse’s ability to teach leadership and life skills is tapped to a significant degree in a new four-week program starting in June: Coach Training through the Way of the Horse is a collaboration between Linda Kohanov and master coach/Epona Approved Instructor Lisa Murrell.
“I’m very excited about this program,” Linda says, “because it allows people who want to get into a more fulfilling field, namely professional and life coaching, to learn the necessary theory and skills through that magical combination of engaging lectures/group discussions and independent study assignments, enhanced by powerful experiential work with horses. Over the years, I’ve seen very clearly that people who feel a calling to leave the conventional work force are attracted to the power, freedom, and creativity that horses symbolize and embody quite literally. Yet not everyone has the resources or the energy to want to start their own equine-facilitated human development program. The cost of starting and maintaining a horse facility are significant if you’re building from the ground up. However, you can create a successful professional and life coaching program from the comfort of your own home, and do significant, inspiring work with clients over the phone. Coach Training through the Way of the Horse will cover all the core competencies for future certification with the International Coaching Federation. It is open to newcomers to the Epona work as well as Epona Approved Instructors. The latter may immediately begin combining life coaching principles with their equine-facilitated programs, of course. And newcomers who complete the program may join the three-week Fast Track apprenticeship program if they decide, over time, that they would like to add horses to their coaching programs.”