August, 2011 News

The latest news from Epona founder Linda Kohanov features links to a full chapter and an in-depth overview from her upcoming book The Power of the Herd.

Read a Timely Chapter from The Power of the Herd

As the old saying goes, “Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.” That’s exactly what’s happening in U.S. politics right now. The high level of conflict we see on the news is not evidence of our country’s decline, however, but a symptom of its continued stagnation. In-fighting, back-biting politicians, frustrated citizens, callous opportunists, and media feeding frenzies that gleefully spread rumors, lies and propaganda, these features of modern democracy are actually as old as George Washington’s presidency. How do I know this? Why do I care? And perhaps more importantly, why should you care?

Remember Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity? “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Well, as it turns out, the U.S. has essentially been having the same intensely heated debate—using the same worn out, ineffective strategies—for the last 230 years. No wonder we all feel so crazy! The first step out of the asylum, however, involves actually recognizing that at a multi-generational level we’ve been doing all kinds of fruitless things over and over again, in the name of freedom, no less!

So last week, I called my editor Jason Gardener at New World Library and asked him if I could post an entire chapter from my book-in-progress The Power of the Herd: Building Social Intelligence, Visionary Leadership, and Authentic Community through the Way of the Horse because I was getting tired of hearing so many misconceptions about the history of democracy on talk radio and satellite TV. This puts me in a most unfamiliar position as I have never thought of myself as a history buff or a politically-minded person. But literally and metaphorically I’ve been following horses around for the last 20 years, writing books and developing workshops on what these amazing animals have to teach people.

In 2009, I was surprised to discover how dramatically these powerful, non-predatory creatures have influenced our most progressive human leaders over the last 3,000 years—and, in particular, at crucial turning points in our own country’s development. Quite unexpectedly, the horses trotted me down the winding road of U.S. history and dropped me off on George Washington’s doorstep for a good nine months of research. Then they herded me on over to Andrew Jackson’s era to watch the nineteenth century’s feistiest, backwoods leader fight a real, honest-to-goodness duel—over a horserace. That our seventh president won this deadly contest, against a much better marksman, not only reveals important features of Jackson’s character, the incident sheds considerable light on the admirable strengths and debilitating weaknesses of the modern American psyche.

As it turns out, these key moments in history provide significant perspective on our current social and political challenges, a topic I deal with specifically in Chapter 9, the book excerpt I’ve posted on the website. However, considering that readers will be jumping into the middle of a slightly unconventional, multi-disciplinary look at the evolution of leadership and power, I’ve also included a separate overview of The Power of the Herd to cover some of the major themes and definitions that lead up to this discussion. And I plan to include excerpts on other important topics in the coming months. Feel free to print and share this information with others, including your non-horsey friends and family members. I just ask that you contact me for permission if you decide to quote or reproduce these ideas in a more public forum. (My email is

(You can follow the links below to our Power of the Herd preview page on the Epona website. You can also log onto the website at another time and click on the Power of the Herd page. Two options are listed: a book overview — and the chapter itself — You can jump right into the featured chapter if you like and catch up later on the concepts/definitions overview. Or you can start with the book overview, and gain some background that will enhance your understanding of this new take on a pivotal time in U.S. history.)

It is my hope that rather than being doomed to repeat history unconsciously, we can all become occasional history buffs to more fully understand where we’ve been, so that we, as concerned citizens and leaders of the future, can consciously alter our counterproductive behavior and move on to greener pastures.

The Power of the Herd: An Advanced Workshop

Because the book has gone into much greater historical, scientific and philosophical depth than originally anticipated, the publication date has been moved to fall 2012. Even so, the research and insights have already profoundly influenced my work. Over the last year, I’ve added some of these tools to the Epona Apprenticeship Program and to our popular four-day leadership workshop Pioneering Spirit. (There are two Pioneering Spirit workshops scheduled for fall, both of which are filling quickly — October 2011 Pioneering Spirit and December 2011 Pioneering Spirit.)

These programs, however, haven’t been able to go nearly as deeply into the advanced skills I’ve been researching and developing. For this reason, I’ve created an in-depth, two-week visionary leadership program. Limited to four people, The Power of the Herd (POH) will combine tools to heighten visionary abilities in conjunction with leadership, organizational, personal and interpersonal skills, with the goal of supporting participants in following, focusing and manifesting their dreams, whether that dream includes transitioning to a new career, writing a book, launching a new business, or further refining a current business or community project. I will be sharing many of the unexpected conundrums that I encountered in launching my own unconventional business 15 years ago, including a number of difficulties and solutions that I’ve yet to find referenced in all the leadership books I’ve had to read in recent years.

The two-week advanced program emphasizes tools and solutions for wrestling an innovative idea or goal from the warm fuzzy energizing world of dreams and inspiration, and making it real in the practical realities of 21st-century life. The small group of four participants will offer a learning lab for exploring how innovative authentic communities can support individual and group needs simultaneously. At the same time, I will be offering private consultations as a part of the tuition to address personal projects and/or confidential issues/questions. Guest facilitators/consultants include Mary-Louise Gould (holotropic breathwork) and Bob Wall, executive coach and author of Working Relationships and Coaching for Emotional Intelligence.

Participants will gain a deeper understanding of their leadership strengths and challenges by taking the Simmons EQ Profile before the first workshop and after the second week. I’ve found this tool, especially as interpreted with great nuance and sensitivity by Bob Wall, to be a marvelous short cut to gaining self-awareness on issues that I can then efficiently address in working with the horses and/or with a coach, and I’m very excited to be able to include this in our extensive toolbox for The Power of the Herd. (See below on how to take the Simmons EQ profile at any time, whether or not you can attend Epona’s advanced leadership program this year.)

Since this workshop is already half full based on word of mouth, I’m not planning to formally list it on the website at this time. Please contact me directly at for the details, and we will set up a phone interview/question-and-answer session. The dates for this two week program are November 14 through the 19, and February 20 through 25. (POH is a stand alone program that can also be used as a pre-requisite for the Epona Apprenticeship Program as well as advanced post-graduate training in leadership for those who’ve already attended the apprenticeship.)

Epona’s New Advanced Riding Program

For those of you who would rather spruce up your riding skills than concentrate specifically on leadership skills, Epona faculty member, advanced horse trainer and riding instructor Shelley Rosenberg is featuring her own two-week program, the  Epona International Integrated Riding Program (EIIR). Shelley was my riding instructor for many years, and one of the original founders of Epona Equestrian Services when the organization was started by a group of horse trainers back in 1997. A Grand Prix level dressage trainer and judge, who has also trained and shown in Western disciplines, Shelley has taken the Epona concepts to a whole new level in the riding arena, and has been teaching extensively in Europe as well. She was instrumental in rehabilitating and breeding my stallion Merlin in a more humane and enlightened way, and though I’ve learned a lot from her over the years, she continues to help me troubleshoot health and training challenges with my own herd. For more information:  The dates are November 13 through 19, and February 5 to 11.

A Tool for Self Awareness and Leadership Development

Since we began collaborating back in 2008, author and executive coach Bob Wall has become a valued friend and colleague. He has both attended and helped facilitate Epona’s popular leadership program Pioneering Spirit, and has become a real advocate for the power of equine-facilitated learning in teaching important leadership and emotional/social intelligence skills.

Bob also specializes in interpreting the Simmons EQ Profile. Rather than taking a test and relying on a printed report, Bob makes a call to everyone who takes the Profile to review their results, explore insights, and consider developmental opportunities to be found in their scores. I take this quick test once a year, and I’m amazed at the valuable, richly nuanced insights it gives me (For more information on taking the test, contact him at 203-450-2160 or His website is I also recommend reading his books, Coaching for Emotional Intelligence and Working Relationships, both available on Bob has found the EQ Profile to be so reliably effective that he offers a money back guarantee. If you don’t find the test and his phone consultation valuable, you don’t have to pay.

I’ve asked Bob to write up a bit of information on how the profile works. The Simmons EQ Profile is useful for:

Expanding self-awareness

The Profile is a good way of seeing in yourself aspects of your own character that may be invisible to you but painfully obvious to those who work and live with you. The Profile can sensitize you to fundamental shifts in your way of operating that can have a dramatic impact on your relationships and leadership. It is what we don’t know that we don’t know that we stumble over.

Staff selection

The Profile provides a way of choosing between two or three candidates for a position in your practice. It can help identify personal strengths and developmental needs that won’t otherwise become obvious until you‘ve worked with people for a while. This tool can help you avoid disastrous hires, even when candidates might otherwise seem to have the experience and training that is suited for the position.

Clinical applications

While many of your clients’ developmental needs will become apparent as they work with horses, the Profile provides an accurate look at people that provides a good starting point in conversations directed at their development both in and out of the arena. It can also serve as a measure of progress as you work with clients over an extended period of time.

Individualized interpretations

I make detailed interpretations of every Profile by phone. I’ve been using the Profile for more than 20 years and these telephone conversations provide far more value than simply taking an instrument online and relying on a printed report to understand the results. The calls feature both interpretation of the results and coaching/counseling. I am trained as a clinical psychologist and I have been doing leadership, team, and organizational development for more than 30 years. Our conversations will focus on expanding self-awareness as well as discussing strategies for development where it is needed.


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