Merlin’s Spirit Program for Teens and Their Parents: A Three Day Equine Facilitated Learning Workshop


December 28 – 30, 2017

Time: 9:30 am to 5 pm

Facilitated by Linda Kohanov and Charlotte Richardson

Tuition: $1500 for each teen/parent team (additional family members can attend for $500 per person) Tuition includes lunch and materials.


A longtime dream of Eponaquest founder Linda Kohanov, The Merlin’s Spirit Program for Teens and Their Parents is finally becoming a reality in 2017. Named after her stallion Merlin and his son Spirit, the program offers an efficient and engaging way for families to practice social intelligence, leadership, conflict-resolution, anti-bullying, and relationship skills through safe, and fun, ground activities with horses. The curriculum is designed to teach leaders of the future how to excel at home, school, work, and life.

“We are launching the program during the winter break when families have time off from work and school, and can appreciate the beautiful weather at our Southern Arizona desert oasis,” Linda reports.

The Merlin’s Spirit workshop is appropriate for children ages 12 to 18. No horse experience is necessary for teens or their parents to enjoy the benefits of experiential learning with the Eponaquest herd.

“I’m very excited to collaborate with an accomplished educator as a partner in creating and executing this very special curriculum,” Linda says.

Over the last 20 years, Charlotte Richardson has worked primarily in the public school system, and currently teaches middle school special education and general education English Language Arts in a Tucson school district. A K-12, cross-categorical certified special education teacher, Charlotte has taught many grade levels, but for the past 14 years has taught 6th, 7th, and 8th grade.

In 2015, Charlotte added horse-facilitated learning techniques to her educational toolbox by graduating from the Eponaquest® Apprenticeship Program. Her school principal was so intrigued by the emotional/social intelligence and leadership skills Charlotte mastered that he asked her to teach the Eponaquest tools and principles at her school, five days a week in the classroom, with monthly trips to the barn. In 2016, Linda asked Charlotte to become a faculty member for the Eponaquest Apprenticeship Program to teach other professionals how to incorporate this work into programs for middle and high school students.

“Charlotte Richardson is a pioneer in bringing horse-inspired wisdom to the public school system and helping students translate it into purely human settings,” Linda says. “So when I finished my last book and finally had the time to develop a horse-facilitated program for teens and their parents, I knew she was the perfect person to enlist in this endeavor.”

In watching the public school program unfold, Linda and Charlotte realized that one of the biggest challenges in establishing such a class was that students were going home with sophisticated tools their parents didn’t have. “It’s extremely difficult for a child of practically any age (even as an adult) to teach his or her own parents how to become a more balanced, emotionally and socially intelligent parent and leader,” Linda says. “ This is why we felt that the next level of working with younger generations had to involve programs where children and their parents learn these skills together. This is the main focus of the Merlin Spirit Program for Teens and their Parents.”

In the three-day Merlin’s Spirit workshop, teens and their parents will learn how to:

  • Manage emotions and use them as information for enhancing life and relationships
  • Be assertive, not aggressive
  • Set boundaries, and respect others’ boundaries
  • Gain the trust of more sensitive horses, and translate these skills to working with sensitive people
  • Gain the cooperation and respect of more dominant horses, and translate these skills to working with more dominant people who may also have a tendency to bully others
  • Connect meaningfully with sensitive and dominant individuals—and everyone in between
  • Read nonverbal signs of stress in others, and help calm others
  • Motivate stubborn or resistant individuals
  • Handle aggressors in any social system (family, work, school, church), holding them accountable for hurtful or unproductive behavior, without alienating or shaming them
  • Calm and focus others in a crisis
  • Facilitate connections between those who might otherwise avoid contact
  • Nurture and support others without stifling their attempts to makes choices and/or take care of themselves
  • Read nonverbal communication in self and others
  • Collaborate with others and work as a team

“This is an equine-facilitated learning program, not equine-facilitated therapy,” Linda emphasizes. “We are particularly adept at serving in those people who often fall through the cracks in educational services—where extremely gifted students are given certain opportunities on the one hand and people with learning disabilities, trauma and emotional challenges are provided with additional services on the other hand. Children and parents who fall somewhere in the middle are often left to figure out important life, relationship and leadership skills on their own. The Merlin’s Spirit Program is designed to support those teens and parents who would like to explore and practice the tools to truly enjoy and excel in life.”

For More Information or Assistance Registering: contact Sue Smades at or 520-455-5908.

To add additional family members—adult relatives and/or siblings between ages 12 and 18—please contact Sue Smades at or 520-455-5908.


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