I am very different than most horse instructors, not only on Corfu but around the world. When folks think of interacting with horses they only think of humans riding horses. This is unfortunately a universal issue and not good for the horse. There is a world of the horse that has nothing to do with humans riding them. This world of the horse, is what I enjoy teaching the most. The language, psychology, emotional lives and the natural behavioral inclinations of the horse are ignored in deference to humans riding horses. Thus the animal is objectified and there is great ignorance of horses worldwide as well as abuse of horses by well-meaning but uninformed humans. At its core the world of the horse is based on trust. Ours is too but not quite the same way. Because horses are prey animals, eaten by any other animal that eat meat (predators), they feel fear quickly and deeply. All unwanted or even dangerous behavior of horses is a symptom of the animal’s fear. Yet, humans tend to simply judge the animal as naughty or bad and then seek to punish the animal for this undesirable behavior. This is the same as punishing a child who says it is afraid of the dark. Part of my mission is to teach humans enough about horses that they can be compassionate in the face the this fearful behavior and begin to turn this fear into trust. When an old fear becomes trust it is a miraculous moment for horse and/or human. Once we have earned the trust of a horse it will try to do most anything we request that is reasonable and asked appropriately. Trust is earned with a horse by becoming its good leader and not its boss. My mission wherever I teach is to assist those humans who care about the horse beyond riding them, how to become this great leader for the horse and have a terrific and safe relationship with them. It is fun, safe, uplifting, inspiring, educational and allows humans the opportunity to consciously to practice compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, respect for nature, talking responsibility, good communication and much more. Mostly there is no riding involved with my programs. Thus, there is no simply trying to survive on a horse’s back. Communicating successfully with another specie is magical. Especially a very large specie like a horse.
Franklin Levinson – A Short Biography
Franklin Levinson has been a professional horseman for nearly 50 years. At 13 years of age he was the youngest registered polo player in the US. In his early 20s he created and ran equestrian programs at large summer camps in N. Michigan. He has always taught success with horses to be a life enriching process for both horse and human and that horses are never naughty or bad. In his teaching he states; “All unwanted behavior from a horse is a symptom of the animal’s fear and never deserves punishment.” He is adamant about humans not merely ‘using’ horses for selfish enjoyment. Franklin’s goal that the horse and human become partners through the inspired and excellent leadership of the human. Additionally, his desire is that the horse be honored and highly respected within any horse – human activity. He was an outfitter and wilderness guide at his ranch on the island of Maui for 30 years (Adventures on Horseback), along the way creating The Maui Horse Whisperer experience. This was the first Equine Facilitated Learning program in the Pacific basin and one of the first in the US. He is credited in Your Horse Magazine 2004, UK’s premier equine magazine, as being the first person to introduce EFL for children with a learning disability to the UK. Additionally, about that same time, he is credited as the first person to bring EFL to Australia. He founded the Australia Equine Facilitated Learning Pty. Ltd. (AEFL) several years ago. With his Training Through Trust DVD, filmed in 2005, he created the first video documentation of EFL for children with learning disabilities. For many years before the Natural Horsemanship bandwagon and craze he taught his brand of gentle, effective horsemanship (Beyond Natural Horsemanship, Successful Training through Compassion, Wisdom, Skill and Trust) and EFL in seven countries annually. For over 25 years Franklin has been published internationally in various print media outlets. Other media credits include: podcasts, webinars and numerous television and radio appearances, on the topics of horse training, horsemanship and Equine Facilitated Learning. He even acted in a western movie titled September Dawn starring Jon Voight. He has recently released his first book, an eBook titled Trust ‘n’ Horses Volume 1. It is available, along with numerous DVDs, through his website’s shopping corral. Visit his website to contact him and view more about his work.