Hidden Wisdom

Regardless of training technique, riding discipline, challenges or goals, the Connections 101 online course will help you work more effectively with the horses, rescue animals and pets in your life. And it will enhance your relationships with people as well.

Linda Kohanov, author of five books on the transformational power of the horse-human relationship and the healing effects of the human-animal bond, has discovered the secret behind why the finest equestrians and animal advocates are so effective, regardless of the varying training and rehabilitation techniques they employ. In her new, self-paced online course, Connections 101: Life Wisdom from the Herd, Linda shares the neurological, physiological, psychological, emotional, and nonverbal communication principles that are the hidden foundation behind what many refer to as a special talent, a healing gift, an indiscribable animal magnetism, or a mysterious ability available only to “horse whisperers” and other exceptional trainers. In this engaging course, Linda sums up over 30 years of research, anecdotal evidence, practical skills, and brand new, as-yet unpublished scientific research she and her colleagues have undertaken to show you how to tap this unrealized resource to optimize all your relationships: at home, at work, at the barn, the kennel, the rescue center, the veterinary clinic, and beyond.

“It all goes back to a mid-1990s article I read on the highly respected horse trainer Ray Hunt,” she says. “He was one of a handful of internationally recognized trainers associated with what became the ‘natural horsemanship’ movement. The interviewer described what it was like to attend a Hunt workshop, outlined the basic concepts he used, and then quoted Hunt as saying that there was an indescribable ‘one other thing that makes it all work. And I don’t know what that is.’”

“For some odd reason,” Linda continues, “I was forever thereafter obsessed with finding out what that mysterious one other thing is and how we might teach it more effectively to other people who work and live with animals. Great trainers seem to stumble upon it through experience, but the key elements are hard to describe and teach. They are often unconscious in the trainer who is focusing on creating training techniques. This one other thing exists beyond any training technique the innovator comes up with. It is the foundation that makes it all work.

“As it turns out, this same hard-to-describe principle vastly improves our relationships with other humans, especially when we make the processes and skills involved more conscious, and translate them to human situations.”

The Key Insight

After 30 years of research, Linda can now sum up what this one other thing is in a single sentence: Gifted animal trainers, and leaders of humans for that matter, use their nervous systems to center and regulate others into states that are not just psychologically, but physiologically, supportive of trust, connection, adaptability, and engagement with life.

“Yes, so that is one sentence,” Linda laughs. “But it’s a complex observation filled with all kinds of related scientific insights and behavioral nuances that can be broken down into steps. These steps help you train your own body, mind and spirit to achieve an optimal state of being. The various techniques and principles build upon each other, becoming very powerful as we learn to combine them, to use them improvisationally according to the needs of different individuals and different situations. These steps involve using emotion as information to help us read the environment and course correct. They involve using breathing as a language for various productive effects. They involve not only understanding that feelings are contagious, but how to tell which feelings originated in you, and which feelings really belong to others. The course ultimately shows you how to use all this information to make better personal choices, and how to help other people and animals manage this information to become more centered and thoughtful in the midst of challenges.”

Connections 101 offers seven hours of self-paced lessons, divided into convenient 7- to 20- minute segments, with plenty of photos and video to illustrate the concepts and tools presented. This is not a Zoom course. It is a professionally edited, sonically and visually engaging production that you can return to over and over again to practice the skills and revisit the studies and teaching stories that bring this material to life.

“After writing books for 20 years, trying to communicate all kinds of nonverbal insights exclusively in words, it was really fulfilling to create a course that can actually illustrate some of the processes that happen beyond words,” Linda reveals. “My staff and I also had fun re-enacting key experiences that led to some exciting insights that science can now explain. And we also re-enacted some rather impressive scientific studies that show how amazing our bodies and minds really are when we free ourselves from limiting forms of conventional knowledge.”

With an emphasis on emotional and social intelligence, nonverbal communication, breathing, and interpersonal mindfulness skills that work across species lines, Linda purposefully avoided outlining any particular training, riding, or therapeutic techniques. “The point is that the skills presented in Connections 101 create a universally relevant foundation that will enhance any training, riding, or therapeutic discipline as long as the use of that discipline is employed with mutual respect and the desire to connect, regardless of the individual species involved.”

While Linda is recognized internationally as an innovator in the field of equine-facilitated learning (EFL) and a respected writer on equine-facilitated therapy (EFT), she also was careful not to overemphasize any particular therapeutic or experiential learning techniques. “Yes, many of these principles and skills are taught in Eponaquest-based equine-facilitated personal development and leadership workshops,” she says, referring to her business Eponaquest Worldwide, which also trains instructors and counselors in these techniques. “Eponaquest Instructors who have learned how to teach these skills use them in counseling, coaching, riding, training and animal rehab contexts. But these same principles and techniques can support facilitators, therapists and clients in any EFL/EFT or conventional mental health context. Riding instructors will find the course useful in handling challenging students, two-legged and four-legged. And of course, recommending that your human clients take the course will give them some skills to better manage their own and others emotions and behavior at the barn or the rescue center, or in adopting an animal that may need special care.”

“If you do decide you would like some additional support or coaching in some of the skills presented, I have trained a core group of my Eponaquest Instructor colleagues to assist you online or by phone. These Connections Instructors know how to support the skills featured in my online course, and they are available to assist as requested, even with facilitators and clients in other EFL, counseling, riding and training fields. They offer specific support for the Connections 101 content while remaining respectful of all riding, training, and animal-assisted learning and therapy disciplines.” For a list of recommended Connections instructors, contact info@eponaquest.com.

“I also have to emphasize that you don’t need previous interest horses, or in the EFL and EFT fields to benefit from the skills I offer in the video course. These skills are presented in a progressive way, so that they build on each other. By the end of Connections 101, you will be able to make sense of feelings and behaviors in people and in animals that were previously mystifying if not downright irritating.  The course will help you more effectively manage those previously confusing feelings and behaviors in yourself and others. You will learn how to speak in ways that diffuse defensiveness or aggression in other people, enhanced by nonverbal communication techniques that allow you to change the tone of a room without saying a word.

“I can promise you that these skills will improve all your relationships, human and animal alike. This dual purpose is crucial for animal advocates. As well all know, interpersonal difficulties with people at the barn, kennel, veterinary clinic or rescue center can be more confusing and disruptive than animals with physical and behavioral challenges. Learning to work more effectively with coworkers, clients, bosses and volunteers will also help you better support the animals you are assisting in rescue and training organizations.”

A Special Bonus for Animal Lovers

For those interested in how to employ these skills with animals, Linda has an article titled “Emotional Fitness and Coregulation Skills for Equestrians, Pet Owners and Animal Advocates,” available in the Bonus Materials section of Connections 101.

“I recommend that people read this article after they complete the course,” she says. “It will help to target the skills you learned directly to riding and training contexts.”

Additionally, Linda will offer a bonus Zoom question and answer session in April geared to this topic in particular, exclusively for those who take the course (included with the course tuition): Again, you want to complete the course, and read the bonus article, before joining this two-hour Zoom meeting, which Linda will also record to make available to those who can’t attend the live session. “This is why I’m scheduling it in April,” she says, “to give people plenty of time to absorb the videos and practice the skills a bit before we meet on Zoom.”

A Powerful Music Video

The Bonus Materials section also features a music video that Linda created with her husband, Grammy-nominated composer and recording artist Steve Roach. “The music and the slowly unfolding images of horses and nature are designed to encourage a state that is optimal for working more effectively with animals and people,” Linda says. “It’s a fun way to access a scientifically-based nervous system shift that puts you into an optimal state of relaxed alertness, helping you manage stress, think more creatively, and connect with others more deeply.”

15 Percent Off

Those who enroll in the Connections 101 course by March 10 will receive a special rate of 15% off. Just use the following coupon code during the registration process:  15animal

Here is the link to learn more about the course benefits/content and to enroll: https://nelda.tv/connections-with-linda-kohanov/.

For additional questions, contact Eponaquest Worldwide at info@eponaquest.com.

Linda Kohanov is an internationally-recognized author, speaker, riding instructor and horse trainer. She is a pioneer in the field of Equine-Facilitated Learning and a respected writer on the subject of Equine-Facilitated Therapy. In 1997, she founded an Arizona-based collective of horse professionals, educators, coaches and mental health professionals exploring the potential of the horse-human bond. That organization, now called Eponaquest Worldwide, has grown to serve clients on six continents. Her first bestselling book The Tao of Equus was selected as one of the top books of 2001 by Amazon.com and received appreciative reviews in publications as diverse as Horse and Rider, Natural Horse, IONS Noetic Sciences Review, Spirituality and Health, and Strides. Four more books followed, including Riding Between the Worlds: Expanding Our Potential through the Way of the Horse, Way of the Horse: Equine Archetypes for Self Discovery, The Power of the Herd: A Nonpredatory Approach to Social Intelligence, Leadership, and Innovation, and her latest The Five Roles of a Master Herder: A Revolutionary Approach to Socially Intelligent Leadership. Linda’s books have been translated into French, German, Dutch, and Czech, and are used as texts at universities. Her websites: www.eponaquest.com and www.masterherder.com.

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