Last year, author and equine-facilitated learning pioneer Linda Kohanov launched a new modality for understanding, learning, and practicing what she calls Sentient Communication™. Titled Beyond Words: The Art and Science of Sentient Communication, it has quickly become one of her most successful programs to date. Interest in the concept alone demanded that she schedule multiple seminars at her home base in Arizona over the last six months. In June, Linda will travel to Europe, offering two workshops on the subject in France. And she has already scheduled yet another four-day Sentient Communication workshop at her Arizona ranch in the fall. (See the end of this newsletter for links to these upcoming events.)
Numerous participants have offered glowing reviews of the principles, tools, and horse-facilitated activities that together create an innovative approach to mastering nonverbal awareness, connection, and communication, one that is proving to be remarkably effective in helping people form deep, mutually respectful human-to-human and human-animal relationships.
“Each activity built on and enriched the next one, and all stood out as amazing, heartfelt learning experiences,” marveled Patty Forward who attended the February Beyond Words workshop. “Linda’s informative presentation [on what she characterizes as ‘the grammar of sentient, nonverbal communication’] set the stage with applicable examples to solidify the concepts that we practiced with the horses. Wow…to find this missing piece of the Sentient Communication puzzle was fantastic!”
Barbara Rector, co-founder of the Equine Facilitated Mental Health Association and a major innovator in the field, also attended the February event. “It was by far the most significant Eponaquest seminar yet,” she reported. “I spent several days basking in the integrated heart energy of our group, studying and practicing Sentient Communication with the horses and the wonderful people who attended. It was a remarkably spiritual experience, even as it also had a very practical side and an emphasis on research-based tools and information.”
“What an adventure in heart, body and mind!” echoed Mary Hoisington.
“The experiences were well thought out and coordinated, unlike any I’ve experienced before,” said Delana Lands, who has her own long-established equine-facilitated learning practice. “One of my experiences with the horses was cathartic, bonding, draining, very special and relevant to a current life event. Much appreciated. Another activity offered a full definition of boundaries as a way to connect (not be a wall). This was a huge mind shift for me. Yet another energetic experience of ‘strength to power’ was hugely impactful and is still sinking in. I also very much enjoyed Linda’s presentation on the elements of Sentient Communication, the clarity and the way the concepts and research were presented. Dr. Ann Baldwin’s presentation of the latest research on the healing effects of the horse-human relationship helped me to not just learn new things and review some things I already knew, but to understand the science more deeply.”
“I had profound experiences that will be pivotal in my own work, which is more than I had dared hope for before I came,” noted Barb Ganske, an avid equestrian who owns a family-run business. “It was a particularly fantastic workshop because the horses all had different personalities and different key pieces to teach, and also because of the deep level of personal awareness exhibited by the participants, some of whom were skilled therapists. I was surprised how effective the [technique of] heart breathing can be to engage horses. And I was pleased that Linda also incorporated elements from her most recent book The Five Roles of a Master Herder. I had read it before, but I was happy to hear it from the source and see how these roles fit into her new work on Sentient Communication.”
Heart Breathing is one of the more simple yet powerful skills that Linda teaches during the Sentient Communication workshop. “It’s something I learned from horses over a decade ago, and it seems to have a magical effect when you use it with animals and people,” Linda says. “I use it with wild birds and deer even. But since I have been working with Ann Baldwin, PhD, and doing some of the research we present in the Sentient Communication workshop, I have learned that there is actually a scientific explanation for it.” You can see a video of Linda employing this technique with one of her horses on YouTube at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bm7GiqzQm_4
“The breathing skills were very useful and gave me insight into rehabilitating my new dog,” said Robert Wagener, who was also amazed that one of his sessions with the horses resulted in physical healing. “I was very happy to have my shoulder and hand issues released!”
“This was one of the bests workshops I have ever participated in, and that includes EFL [equine-facilitated learning] and other personal development workshops,” said Karen Montealegre, who is an Eponaquest Instructor practicing in Costa Rica. “I received so many insights, and deep, from-the-heart connections with myself, the group, the facilitators, the herd, and the beautiful land surrounding Linda’s ranch. The workshop helped me become more conscious of the way I am in the world. I realized that I have been aware of many of the elements of Sentient Communication all my life, but without consciously knowing it or naming it. By breaking down and outlining ‘the grammar’ of what is beneath and beyond words, this program helped me better understand myself, my relation to others and to my environment.”
“Linda was the person I hoped for and so much more—present, kind, focused, skillful,” noted Ellen Harrington. “I love the mind-body connection and I very much appreciated how this was emphasized with some real tools for how to use it more consciously. In the first exercise with the horses, I learned a lot about the disconnect between my head and body. When I finally got into full alignment and felt mutual respect and connection with the horse, it was powerful. Wow. The group experience with horses was really fun. I loved it when the energy of the entire ‘herd’ became CALM through the coherent breathing we learned. This workshop exceeded my expectations!”
For those living in North America, your next chance to attend the four-day Sentient Communication workshop at Linda’s Arizona ranch will be October 19 through 22. (No horse experience, or previous interest in horses, necessary.) For more information on the concept of Sentient Communication, as well as a more complete workshop description and registration: https://eponaquest.com/workshop/beyond-words/
Upcoming Sentient Communication Events in France
Linda Kohanov is taking this new modality to Europe this summer, where she will lead a one-day seminar on the subject near Paris in June, and a three-day advanced equine-facilitated Sentient Communication workshop for a small group of participants near Toulouse.
“I wanted to be able to offer an introduction to the principles and tools that a larger audience could attend,” Linda says. “The opportunity arose when my Eponaquest colleague Eva Reifler invited me to be the keynote speaker at a national conference she is hosting in France on the healing power of the horse-human bond. (For more information on the June 1-3 Equine Facilitated Learning and Human Well Being Conference, location and registration: https://www.billetweb.fr/salon-du-bien-etre-avec-le-cheval )
“On the two days following the conference, at the same venue near Paris, Eva organized a couple of day-long seminars that will allow me to cover some topics in more depth. The first seminar is on The Power Behind Nonviolence, which includes skills associated with what I call emotional heroism in dealing with aggressive or frightened people and animals. The second seminar is on Sentient Communication. I will cover the ‘grammar of nonverbal communication’ with a look at some of the relevant scientific research. I’ll show how why equine-facilitated activities are so effective at teaching the skills involved through some demonstrations with horses. But there are also some experiential pieces I can teach to a larger group. People will learn the difference between congruence and coherence, and why both are essential to fostering mutually-respectful, supportive relationships with adults, children, and animals—at work, home, school, and in human therapeutic contexts as well as in animal rehabilitation and rescue contexts. Participants will also learn how to employ key breathing techniques and body postures that enhance personal well-being and professional success.”
A three-day advanced workshop in Toulouse is limited to eight people who will have the opportunity to practice these and other Sentient Communication skills through direct personal one-on-one and small group experiences with horses. “This in-depth experience will be similar to the four-day workshops I have been doing in the United States,” Linda says.
For more information on these events, see the links below:
June 5, 9 am to 5 pm: Sentient Communication (near Paris)
link to ticket shop available in English.
June 9 to 11: Beyond Words: The Art and Science of Sentient Communication (3-day advanced intensive near Toulouse)
June 4, 9 am to 5 pm: The Power Behind Nonviolence (near Paris)
website in English to buy tickets:
And, once again, here’s the link to the next Sentient Communication event in the U.S. October 19 through 22: https://eponaquest.com/workshop/beyond-words/
Both of the paintings featured in this newsletter by equine artist Kim McElroy are images from The Way of the Horse: Equine Archetypes for Self Discovery available via Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Way-Horse-Archetypes-Self-Discovery-Exploration/dp/1577315138/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1524166374&sr=8-1&keywords=way+of+the+horse+equine+archetypes