The Tao of Equus Now in Paperback!
Six years after its original hardback publication, and its subsequent translation into French, German, and Dutch, The Tao of Equus is finally available in paperback. Retailing for $15.95, it’s now shipping to major bookstores and is available through mail order services like Amazon.com. Author Linda Kohanov was asked to write a special Preface for the paperback edition, in which she explores the unexpected popularity of the book and her initial challenges in writing this influential exploration of the horse-human bond. Scroll down to end of this newsletter for an excerpt.
Summer Camp for Adults!
At 5000 feet above sea level, the new Epona Conference Center at Apache Springs Ranch is a dramatic destination for summer retreats. By August, late afternoon monsoon storms begin to turn the high desert grasslands into a startling green wonderland.
“It actually looks like Ireland here for a good two months,” marvels Linda Kohanov, “a virtual horse heaven of rolling sapphire hills accented by the striking, dawn-of-time precipices of the Santa Rita Mountains. Streams are rushing through red rock canyons, and wildflowers are blooming. While mid-afternoon temperatures reach the 90s, mornings are prime for hiking and riding; late afternoon storms create flamboyant sunsets, and the evenings are perfect for moon watching. Summer in Sonoita is the most colorful time of year here. Nature seems to pull out all the stops, and her expanded palette of color, weather, and sensation can’t help but inspire those of us humans interested in expanding consciousness and creativity.”
Linda has created two immersive summer retreats for people interested in doing just that. The first is a new, fully residential version of one of her most popular workshops: Black Horse Wisdom, designed to exercise intuition at all levels. The second, Writing between the Worlds, is a seven-day writer’s retreat for those who would like to expand their writing skills, exercising both the creative and the practical sides of expressing soulful experiences through words—and getting published. Each workshop is limited to eight people, with rooms and meals included.
“Living with the horses 24 hours a day, not having to worry about cooking or driving, means that we get to immerse ourselves fully in horse time, and that does wonders for the individual participants as well as the authentic community that forms naturally during a week together,” Linda says. “In the past, we had to be so careful about going too deeply into creative or intuitive/shamanic work. These are altered states of consciousness, accessed more quickly and powerfully through work with horses, of course, but still at odds with conventional human agendas. When I’m writing a new book, for example, I’ve been known to get lost driving to the grocery store. Deep creativity is quite simply a different state of mind, and doing all the practical things that everyday life demands can so easily pull you out of it.
“A couple of years ago, we actually had some people get pulled over by the police for suspicion of driving under the influence after an evening session,” she laughs. “We had just finished an inspiring, really quite amazing journeying/healing session with one of our horses, and apparently certain participants were driving too slow, looking a bit lost. While they most certainly passed the sobriety test and were sent on their way, this phenomenon ultimately proved to be a limitation. Even going late enough to do something simple — like meditating with the horses in the moonlight, which is a real boost to my own creativity — is pretty much out of the question when clients have to drive down a country road in the dark to find their hotel.
“I’m happy to say that won’t be a problem this summer. I’ve actually timed the workshops to add some evening programs that draw on moonlight inspiration with the horses. That luminous crescent of a new moon at twilight is sheer poetry, and even a half moon lights up the landscape, making evening hikes, drumming sessions, and mediations among the horses a magical experience. A more open, expanded schedule is the essence of aligning with horse time — and receiving the full benefits of the inspiration they have to offer. These animals are active at all hours of the day and night, sleeping intensely here and there, but mostly moving through life in a deeply expansive, relaxed, mindful state. Workshops with a 9 to 5 schedule can’t possibly embrace the powerful nuances of equine consciousness.”
“Interestingly enough, we’ve also found that our recent retreats attract more international clients, which has been an enriching development for all the participants.” Now that Linda’s books have been translated into several languages, Epona’s audience has expanded significantly, making it even more apparent that the wisdom of the horse is universal, bringing together people from many walks of life in a most satisfying way.
Black Horse Wisdom
This powerful workshop is for people who would like to exercise their intuitive abilities through reflective and active engagement with horses, journeying, and interactions with mythic equine images and archetypes. Linda Kohanov, composer Steve Roach, and Epona Advanced Instructor Carol Roush will coach participants in multiple intuitive/creative techniques, including accessing the Horse Ancestors (the collective wisdom of horses), simple yet profound animal communication techniques with members of the Epona herd, visionary/journeying experiences with live music, and ways of using Linda’s upcoming Way of the Horse wisdom cards (art by Kim McElroy) and guidebook for personal reflection and guidance. This retreat is limited to eight people.
Writing between the Worlds
This in-depth writer’s workshop draws on Linda’s extensive experience as a professional journalist and best-selling author. For anyone who would like to expand their writing skills and learn how to market their work, while accessing greater creativity through reflective work with horses. This workshop is designed to give participants plenty of time to write in the inspiring setting of historic Apache Springs Ranch, while also offering writing hints, creativity expansion exercises, private consultations/editing sessions with Linda, and advice on getting published, from newspaper and magazine articles, to engaging agents and book publishers. Epona Ranch Manager Shelley Rosenberg, author of My Horses, My Healers, will also discuss the benefits and details of self publishing and marketing. Composer Steve Roach will offer live musical experiences to boost creativity and intuitive confidence. Workshop is limited to eight participants.
For more information on all Epona programs, including introductory and advanced workshops at the Epona Center, training/riding instruction, the Epona Apprenticeship Program, and workshops throughout the world held by Epona Approved Instructors, check out the Epona website at www.taoofequus.com
Excerpt from Linda’s new Preface to The Tao of Equus Paperback Edition:
When I began writing The Tao of Equus in 1995, I felt intensely alone — and more than a little crazy. My horses were awakening something in me, something profound and, at that time, indescribable. I could see these animals were having a life-changing effect on other people too. It’s just that we couldn’t talk about our experiences without sounding far too emotional or mystical — and vague, always much too vague.
So we chattered incessantly about the surface of all things equine: tack, breeds, training methods, lameness issues, therapeutic options, conformation, and competition. Over time, many of us became distracted by those details, losing connection to the powerful yet ever elusive spirit of the horse that drew us to the barn in the first place. As a result, we felt betrayed and frustrated at times, yet we were unable to describe why without sounding whimsical, unrealistic, and frighteningly, embarrassingly, irrational. How does the average riding student or instructor express, in polite conversation, that she found her soul in the eyes of a horse, only to lose it in the business of training and competing? What happens when she consciously admits this, even to herself?
My reaction to this dilemma was to ask a thousand more questions, and for some odd reason, to strive to answer them: How do horses inspire us, open our hearts, and enliven our souls? Are there training principles and therapeutic approaches that can enhance, rather than suppress this ability? Why would such graceful, regal beings carry our species around the world in the first place, enduring our sometimes violent, sometimes comical moods and infernal shenanigans? Is it because they’re lacking significant brain power? Or are they sensitive, highly evolved beings, protecting us, nurturing us, gently guiding us, waiting for us to wake up to the wisdom they so patiently hold while we work through our adolescent fantasies of power and conquest, often at their expense?
Even in the late-1990s it was laughable, if not dangerous, to ask those questions, at least in public. As my book neared release, many friends and acquaintances distanced themselves from me. Most had experienced mysterious, soul-invigorating interactions with horses, but they weren’t willing to formally ally themselves with someone who might actually lecture or write about it. I too was losing my nerve. After the galleys were sent off to the printers, and I no longer had any recourse, I would wake up in the middle of night hyper-ventilating, convinced that I would be tarred and feathered, burned at the stake, or carted off to the nearest mental ward upon publication. Had I written this same book 200 years earlier, I most certainly would have experienced one of these dubious fates, or at the very least, been ostracized.
Instead, when the book arrived in bookstores and started actually selling, the reaction was very different from what my fears had predicted….The popularity of the book you now hold in your hands is evidence that many people are recognizing the transformational power of the equine-human relationship, acknowledging that their love of horses represents more than nostalgia, sentimentality, or recreation. Something is going on between us and these magnificent creatures. It may be hard to put into words, but this book is my sincerest effort to figure it out. I hope you’ll join me on that journey.