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Tapping into Horse Sense

At Tucson’s Epona Center, these horses teach the art of emotional balance.

This article appeared in our October 2004 issue.They call this sunlight pale fire — winter in the desert, when the world is a cool palette of smudged greens and dusty clay. Here, amid creosote and cacti, stands Merlin, a thousand-pound black stallion that looks like a splash of night. We walk toward each other, and over the fence we touch noses. He’s one of nine horses at Epona Center, a collective of horse professionals, educators, and counselors in Tucson, Arizona, who teach the therapeutic and healing potential of working with horses. Epona, the 10-acre compound that is home to this small herd, was founded in 1997 by author and trainer Linda Kohanov. Her books, The Tao of Equus and Riding Between the Worlds, have inspired a new horse-whisperer therapy. In this blend of shamanic journey and psychotherapy, the horse, with its wild beauty and mystery, guides us into our subconscious. “Horses actually respond to and reflect what is going on with people behind their social masks,” says Kohanov. “People who’ve been seeing a counselor for years can make emotional and behavioral changes for the better …

Jill Neimark was, in 2003, articles editor at Science & Spirit magazine and has written for The New York Times, Psychology Today, The Los Angeles Times, and Natural Health. She lives in New York City.

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