All programs listed on this page are open to Eponaquest Instructors only. These continuing education programs are designed to assist instructors in developing new skills in the ever growing and expanding field of equine facilitated learning.
Beyond Words with the Power of the Herd
February 18, 2023 – February 26, 2023
Location: Amado, AZ
Bilingual French/English Workshop – Facilitated by Linda Kohanov
Time: 9:30 am to 5:30 pm daily
Cost: $3000 USD
Fee includes lunch and workshop materials.
Instructors completing this course will qualify for Master Herder and Sentient Communication Instructor certification.
In this nine-day, in-depth bilingual French/English event, bestselling author Linda Kohanov leads an innovative experiential workshop that combines tools from her two latest works, The Power of the Herd and The Five Roles of a Master Herder, with principles and techniques of an approach that Linda calls “Sentient Communication®”. Participants will practice skills featured in each through a powerful combination of equine-facilitated learning activities and step-by-step processes that help people take these principles back to the human world.
Practicing with Eponaquest’s herd of experienced teaching horses offers a unique opportunity to learn how to work with different personalities, from the gentle and cooperative to the shy and highly sensitive to the more challenging dominant horses who demand a refined and committed use of power. “While I love to travel and meet new horses,” Linda says, “there are some limitations to how deep I can take participants at these guest facilities. Working with my own herd allows me to choose horses who I know can safely challenge people and therefore efficiently teach more advanced skills that I cannot cover in the introductory workshops I’m pleased to do in other cities.”
Participants will learn how to enhance the Five Roles of a Master Herder through the use of several key skills featured in the 12 Power of the Herd Guiding Principles, and also have the opportunity to develop and practice specific techniques for cultivating meaningful, mutually supportive relationships with people and animals with the approach that Linda calls “Sentient Communication”. These innovative models bring together the latest research on mind-body science and the healing power of the human-animal bond, with specific techniques for reducing stress, enhancing health, and cultivating meaningful, mutually supportive relationships with people and animals, thus offering a much-needed perspective on how free, empowered people can navigate continuously changing social and economic climates.
Linda’s research to write her two latest books was inspired by traditional herding cultures where tribes must manage large groups of powerful animals without the benefit of fences and with very little reliance on restraints. “Master Herders exhibit a sophisticated understanding of leadership and group cohesion as they move through seasonal grazing lands, facing predators, and dealing with changing climates/resources along the way. This knowledge, virtually lost to modern ‘civilized’ leaders, is based on the little-known fact that among cattle and horses, the herd leader and the herd dominant are often different animals.
“Leaders, Dominants, Sentinels and Nurturer/Companions are all crucial to herd cohesiveness,” Linda emphasizes. “The animals themselves tend to play more than one role, though few are fluent in all the roles. The thing about being human among herbivores ten times your size is that you really do need to perform all these roles well to become a Master Herder, especially in the great unfenced back-country where freedom abides. Humans also need to separate predatory power from the other four roles. When used consciously and judiciously, the Predator role keeps life in balance with available resources. But for the most part, it is important to employ the Dominant, Leader, Sentinel and Nurturer/Companion roles in their non-predatory forms; group coordination and solidarity are reinforced through companionship, nurturing, and sentinel-related activities.
A Master Herder, then, is a well-balanced, socially intelligent leader who also acts as a caretaker and a guardian. These same skills are more important than ever in managing groups of free empowered people, as well as cultivating a finely tuned awareness of nonverbal cues—in oneself an. ”This is where Sentient Communication comes into play, cultivating mindful, heart-centered intelligence for both individual well being and social transformation. “In any living organism, sensory information is crucial to basic survival,” Linda says. “But we need to become more conscious and purposeful in how we manage all this information. After much reflection, research, and development, I came up with the term ‘Sentient Communication’ to describe principles and techniques for cultivating a finely tuned awareness of nonverbal cues—in oneself and others—as the first in a series of steps that enhance our ability to act on these cues by making thoughtful choices. Over the years, I’ve seen how horses, who are exquisitely tuned to nonverbal information, can help people learn to think and respond beyond the limitations of words.”
“Sentient Communication shows us how to elevate instinctual impulses and physiological processes to a language combining purposeful changes in breathing and heart rate, with a finely tuned awareness of emotional cues, body posture shifts, energetic awareness, and intuitive insights that we learn to consciously respond to rather than unconsciously react to. Among many other benefits, this translates into the ability to calm yourself and others, diffuse aggression, gain cooperation, and motivate groups to take productive action.
These skills are more important now than ever before. According to the World Health Organization, stress costs American businesses up to $300 billion yearly and 66% of employees report difficulty focusing at work due to stress. “Counselors across the U.S. also report that the current political atmosphere is raising anxiety and stress in clients at alarming rates. To heal the growing rifts in our culture, we must learn how to calm and focus ourselves and others in tense situations, manage fear and aggression in groups, respectfully communicate with those who hold different viewpoints, and create innovative solutions to age-old problems.
“Sentient Communication helps us move beyond stressful states of disconnection, while dramatically enhancing personal fulfillment, creative problem solving, and success in relationships.” While Linda will share some of the research leading to the development of this modality, she and her colleagues emphasize that people can’t truly master these skills by reading a book or logging into an online course, and that’s where the horses come in. “The nonverbal, interpersonal elements must be practiced experientially, and horses are proving to be exceptional teachers of these skills,” Linda reports. “During the workshop, we will see how these techniques are relevant to working with animals—with pets, in professional horse training contexts, and in the field of animal rescue. We’ll also learn how to translate these skills into human contexts. Whether you’re helping a crying child relax on a plane, managing stressful situations at home or work, teaching your employees new techniques for reaching optimal levels of performance, or taking these principles into community activism settings, Sentient Communication cultivates mindful, heart-centered intelligence for personal well being and social transformation.
For More Information on the Workshop Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org • 520-455-5908
Cancellation Policy: Cancellation up to 30 days prior to the event start date results in a credit of one-half the workshop tuition. There is no tuition credit for a cancellation 30 days or less before the event start date.
Linda’s professional clients include Nike, Raytheon, Kaiser, and Chubb Insurance, among others, including therapeutic riding centers and social service agencies. She has also taught this model at universities and conferences in the US and Europe. “It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you know how to employ all of these roles,” she says. “Understanding the differences between these ‘power tools,’ and how to combine them has been a revelation to leaders, teachers, parents, clergy; basically anyone interested in accessing the greener pastures of humanity’s own untapped potential.”