Ep 9: Linda Kohanov - Epona Quest

Rupert Isaacson: Welcome
to Equine Assisted World.

I'm your host, Rupert Isaacson.

New York Times bestselling
author of the Horse Boy.

Founder of New Trails Learning
Systems and long ride home.com.

You can find details of all our programs
and shows on Rupert isaacson.com.

Here on Equine Assisted World.

We look at the cutting edge and the best
practices currently being developed and,

established in the equine assisted field.

This can be psychological, this
can be neuropsych, this can be

physical, this can be all of the
conditions that human beings have.

These lovely equines, these beautiful
horses that we work with, help us with.

Thank you for being part of the adventure
and we hope you enjoy today's show

Welcome back to Live Free, Ride Free
where we talk to people who are living

Self actualized lives, and we'll
find out what can we learn from them.

How can we help ourselves to self
actualize More better, more fluidly,

more joyfully, more happily and also
just their amazing life stories.

And I've got Someone rather
incredible with me this week.

I have Linda Kohanov, who many of you
horsey folk out there will know from

The Tar Equus and her other books.

But the Tar Equus was the
groundbreaking one that I think

Brought to everybody's attention at
the start of the twenty first century.

Really a new paradigm For looking
at the experience of horses through

a very, very different lens and how
that could help in one's life, not

just within one's equestrian sphere.

For those of you who do not know, who
are not horsey About the Tao of Equis.

I'm going to let Linda
talk to us about that.

But suffice to say, you probably
know that Equis means horse, and

you probably know that the DAO or
the tau means what it means, which,

of course, is a whole other thing.

So how could the DAO Well, the towel,
one can pronounce it either way.

That which is not, that which at
the moment one thinks of it is no

longer, That which is everything,
that which is everywhere, the

DAO, and the horse be connected.

And How on earth might that
help us self actualize?

Well, in fact, it seems that people over
many, many generations of humanity for

at least four or five thousand years.

We've been seeing a connection.

And Linda has been bringing it to
our attention in our Generation in a

particularly interesting and fruitful way.

So without further ado, Linda,
welcome on to Live Free Ryd Free,

and thank you for being here.


Linda Kohanov: you, Rupert.

It's a

Rupert Isaacson: pleasure.

So, Linda, I think I did say
a little preamble there, but I

know I didn't do you justice.

Could you please tell
us who you are and what

Linda Kohanov: do you do?

I'm best known for writing five books
on what humans can learn from horses.

So, essentially, There's there's many
different elements to this over the years.

There's a mystical side, a spiritual side.

There's a personal development side.

There's a Leadership Factor.

So these books are really about
what horses have to teach people

about becoming better humans.

And it seems like that I could write
a whole encyclopedia of wisdom that

horses keep teaching all of us, that
we keep seeing from different angles.

And As we go deeper, we realize that
they have a lot more to teach us, I

believe, than we have to teach them.

Rupert Isaacson: If you were going
to Preach to the unconverted.

I think that those of us who are
horse obsessives, and I know a lot of

the people listening are, absolutely
would See the connection immediately.

But imagine that you had
really no connection to or

contact with horses at all.

Why the horse?

What makes the horse So special in
the relationship between the the

human and, if you like, the universe
and the cosmos and consciousness.

What's special About this
relationship with this animal.

Linda Kohanov: It goes back thousands of
years, and there's a lot of Scientific

evidence now to show that the animals
that we, quote, unquote, domesticated

were actually domesticating us as well,
that we we coevolved With these animals.

And there are certain things that you
learn from dogs and cats and birds,

certain ways you're affected by them.

But most dogs, Cats and
birds are actually predators.

So when you come to a really large
powerful animal like the horse,

they actually teach you how to be
Powerful, but in a non predatory way.

And I had to after a while the word
the term non predatory because a lot of

times people, These are large herbivores.

They're vegetarians, obviously.

And a lot of times, they're preyed
upon in nature, but they're fully

capable of protecting themselves.

Predators very rarely will
attack a full grown horse.

Usually, they're slinking around the
edges looking for the young horse or

the injured horse we're the horse who's
wandered off without paying attention.

So large nonpredatory animals like
horses are capable Of protecting

themselves and even performing altruistic
acts to protect other herd members.

For many years, especially in the
natural horsemanship field, People

would talk about horses being prey
animals and humans being predators, and

this is where a lot of the dysfunction
happens in these relationships.

And that's True to a certain extent,
but humans actually are omnivores.

We have the eyes forward
like a predator, of course.

And we can strategize, and
we can Stock, in other words.

And at the same time, we have
the teeth of a vegetarian, a

digestive system of an omnivore.

We actually have Aspects of both
predatory and nonpredatory wisdom.

And if we can stop over identifying
with predatory behaviors

They were used in conquest.

When you think about the whole world being
settled by conquest and enslaving other

Races and enslaving other animals, you
realize that there's been an overemphasis

on predatory behavior in our culture
throughout the world Because it's all

about, you know, stepping in and taking
over the lands and rights of others.

So we've grown up in this Predatory
environment, but that is not who we are.

We actually have a lot
more potential than that.

And From the horse, we
learn how to be powerful.

You have to be powerful
if you're around a horse.

You can't be a shrinking violet.

You you can find Courses that will
take care of you if you're if you're

really looking, and that's that's fine.

But if you're really gonna step in as
you have been a horse trainer and rider

So you know you have to engage a kind
of power and presence, but it can't be

predatory or the horse won't trust you.

And so they teach us that.

And For my fourth book called The
Power of the Herd, and it was looking

at a nonpredatory approach to social
intelligence leadership and innovation,

I was researching the presence of the
horse in various cultures throughout time.

And one of the things I noticed was
that many like, an out actually,

outrageous percentage of innovative
leaders Across multiple cultures,

we're also either exceptional
riders or exceptional trainers.

So and a lot of people don't realize that
the Buddha was an exceptional horseman.

And when I really looked at his
background and began to discover more

about this, and I do talk about this
in the power of the herd, It struck me

that a lot of the skills that the Buddha
perfected that he later translated

into meditation and mindfulness Were
actually things you really need if

you're gonna function with horses.

So I feel like, in some sense,
the horses were teaching him a lot

of the things that eventually He
translated into purely human terms.

But there's also people
like George Washington.

In the US, I don't think there's any
way On the planet that we would have

won that war without George Washington.

And George Washington was
considered one of the best

horse trainers in the colonies.

And you can see from the way he operated
with people that he had that knowledge

that he learned from the horses.

Winston Churchill was an
exceptional equestrian.

We often think of him as this this
beefy guy smoking a cigar all the time.

But when he was younger, he was in
the cavalry, and he was a great rider.

I'm not sure about his
horse training orientation.

You know, Elizabeth the first,
Elizabeth the second Catherine

the Great, Ronald Reagan.

Even if you don't think of him as somebody
that you're in sync with politically,

in including any of these people,
actually, What you can see is that

his presence and his ability to engage
with and motivate large populations

to follow him in a certain direction
Is very much like what happens when

you learn how to ride and train well.

And he was a very fine rider And spent a
lot of time riding at his ranch when he

was taking time off from the presidency.

So there's just multiple examples of this.

And so I've really been looking
at this throughout history.

One of the other elements too is that
from a mystical viewpoint or spiritual

viewpoint, In multiple cultures throughout
the world, in multiple mythic complexes

and religions, the horse is considered
not only a sacred gift From the gods.

But the horse is also an animal that can
take People from this world to the other

world and bring them safely back again.

So a lot of mythology involves forces
taking someone To the other world.

And by that, we mean other states of
consciousness or even other dimensions

and then actually bringing them back.

So the horse is like a psychopomp
and a guide throughout history

and and around the world.

So this is why I find It's so
rich to bring horse wisdom into

the human world because they have
things to teach that we've lost

sight of in our city based culture.

Rupert Isaacson: It's interesting what
you're putting your your finger on there.

Obviously, you know, any aristocratic
or military leader Since we domesticated

the horse has, to a large degree, been
a horseman because we know that this

process of conquest that you talked about
happened largely On the backs of horses

which I've always found intriguing.

Your you point out that, you
know, you need to have the power

presence To affect a horse.

At the same time, if you bring the
predatory aspect of that to the

horse, the horse, as you say, will
not trust you because he's gonna think

quite rightly that we might eat him.

And he'd be right, by the way,
because if we got hungry enough,

we'd eat every horse in our barn.

We wouldn't be happy about it, but they're
right to be a little bit skeptical of us.

But Then, of course, we've taken
this predatory behavior to our

fellow human on the back of a horse.

This we know that we've done.

However, although history recounts
that well, I I feel that you put

your finger on something else there,
Which is many of these leaders

were not necessarily warlords.

And you started with the Buddha, and it's
interesting that you say that Siddhartha,

As he would have been as the prince before
he became what we know as the Buddha.

I hadn't thought about it in that
regard before, but, yes, you must be

absolutely right because if you were
a Prince of North Indian, Southern

Nepalese kingdom at that time.

You would have de facto been a
horseman both chariots and riding.

He there's no way he could have
not been with his upbringing.

So you're absolutely it's it's
intriguing that you bring that up.

So here's my question.

Because we have to get over.

We have to be powerful without
being predatory in order to

be effective with horses.

Do horses teach us tact?

Do horses teach us diplomacy?

Linda Kohanov: If if you're really going
to have a horse form a real partnership

with you, you have to learn that.

And you have to learn that
tact and diplomacy at a at

a wholly nonverbal level.

So it's not just about what you're saying.

It's your Whole body that's
radiating and then also responding

thoughtfully from moment to moment
to what's going on with the horse.

And so In the nineteen nineties,
psychologists determined that

only about ten percent of
human communication is verbal.

Ninety percent of the messages
that we send back and forth to each

other are in that nonverbal range.

And a lot of times, people now just
rely on words, and a lot of times,

they're conveying Something completely
the opposite with their body language.

When you're with a horse, you
have to learn how to have an

intention and a focus And have your
entire body be in sync with that.

So if you're conflicted, the horse
is just not gonna respond as well.

So Bringing all of that
into play is essential.

And, really, there you know, the average
rider Can engage serious forms of

maybe even disturbing levels of tack.

And I mean by this, you know, saddles
and bridles and spurs and webs to

motivate a horse just out of the horse
just trying to get along in the world.

But if you're gonna have a real
partnership with the horse, you're

actually gonna be transformed
from the inside out, and it's

going to affect Your entire life.

Rupert Isaacson: Do you think that this
happens Because in order to really achieve

that union with a horse, The horse sort of
forces us to engage with our higher self.

Linda Kohanov: Absolutely.

And it it it is an interesting combination
with horses too because it's dual.

So you have to engage your
higher self, Ultimately.

But it has to be fully
grounded in this world.

So they they actually teach
us a grounded spirituality.


And the fact that they lure us into
other states of consciousness or other

worlds Doesn't mean that we are not
supposed to be here now completely

embodied and focused on the moment when
we're interacting with them physically.

You could sit over a fence with a horse
and have the horse essentially take you

into an altered state of consciousness
where you can kind of Lose track of

your body and where you're at and
really go off into these other worlds.

But if you're gonna interact with a
horse And if you're gonna go inside the

fence and ride that horse or lead that
horse somewhere, you have to be able to

engage some level of embodied presence.

So They're constantly making us exercise
both sides in in ways that I think

other people and animals rarely do As
a way of interacting with you yeah.

Embodied spirituality
is what they're bringing


Rupert Isaacson: us.

This this brings me to another thought,
which is that Many people, I think, are

unaware that the horse was, I think, the
the last riding animal to be domesticated

or, as you say, maybe domesticated us.

I know that we started with the
reindeer, which is a relatively easy

horse as long as you weigh sort of
under a hundred animal as long as

you weigh under a hundred pounds.

Then I think it goes to the camel.

Then I think it's the I think the ass
and the elephant are roughly Concurrent.

And then it's the horse.

And I've often wondered about
that, why the horse was so late.

And then, of course well, yeah.

The horse works, of course, in
three dimensions, and the horse

is this really complicated animal.

mIght some might say, well, an
elephant's really complicated, but I

think an elephant's Brain is a way of
looking at the world is perhaps closer

to ours and more intuitively ours.

So what is it about the horse that we Why
why do we create this mythology around

the horse and the spirituality of the
horse in regard with us And not these

other riding animals that we've also had
these long relationships with because One

does not find quite the same mythological
engagement and quite the same spiritual

engagement with these other animals As
with the horse, why do you think that is?

Linda Kohanov: Well, I think they
were working on us creative and

Creatively and spiritually long
before we were capable of riding them.

They're just so athletic and so fast, and
you have to really know what you're doing

if you're gonna try to ride one of them.

But the interesting thing is that
our relationship with the horse

goes back thousands of years
before we were able to ride them.

And There is significant evidence now
that they were drawing us out years

before we had the technology to get
on their backs and and ride them.

And the reason I say this is because
When we began to understand the the

cave art in France and the Lascaux
cave and the another older cave

that That escapes me at the moment.

There's Lascaux, and I can't
remember at this moment.

The Chauvet.

The Lascaux and Chauvet caves.

In these caves, you see this strange
evolution where You have an obsession

with cave art related to horses.

And they thought at first that
people were hunting horses.

But as it as it turns out, as they really
started to look at bones left around the

caves, they found out that the correlation
between animals eaten and the animals

Painted wasn't wasn't really related.

So there's a lot of deer meat and deer
bone not deer meat anymore, obviously,

but deer bones around those Caves.

They were eating deer, but they
weren't eating so many horses, but

they were obsessed with horses.

And even to the point where they were
By the time you go from the Chauvet cave

which is much older, it's like thirty
thousand years old, to the Lascaux cave,

which is about, I guess, twenty thousand
years old, You see that that they're

painting even more horses later on.

And in the Chauvet cave in particular,
which is the older one, They have

two alcoves, separate alcoves with
horses in them set apart from all

the other animals, lions, rhinos.

They they don't really have
wolves painted in these caves,

by the way, interestingly enough.

And so In these alcoves, horses are coming
out and looking at you as if they are

stepping Forward and engaging eye contact
with you and really looking at you.

And this looks to me like the the initial
somebody was really Trying to convey

that initial moment where a horse reached
out to us and didn't run off and then

began to invite us into a relationship
On the ground for thousands of years

before we were able to ride them.

And there's a lot

Rupert Isaacson: of Go ahead.


I didn't mean to interrupt

Linda Kohanov: you.


It's okay.

I was just blown away when I
when I began to realize that.

And I I recently revised the DAO of Equis.

It's gonna come out in
a revised form in June.

And so I went ahead and added this right
in the introduction To talk about how

we have this perception of the horse as
being an evolution that happened later,

much later, But it seems like it was
working on us for thousands of years

and probably changed certain members
of the culture who were lured Out of

early agricultural settlements where
horses might have been attracted to

people learning how to plant grain and
things like that And luring some people

out into this nomadic lifestyle Mhmm.

That eventually caused people to
Form these interspecies societies.

And I find the reindeer people I
talked about the reindeer people in

the Dow of Equals because I found
them very interesting In that some of

the reports anthropological reports
state that these people consider

themselves half human, half reindeer.


And there are certain horse
cultures where they consider

themselves half human, half horse.

So a lot of these cultures you
find, They're they truly were

engaged in an equal partnership
that was mutually transformational.

Rupert Isaacson: It's interesting.

There's a couple of things
which spring to mind here.

You talk about an animal
species domesticating the human.

And I'm I'm as I'm sure you're aware
of and some of our listeners may be

aware of, there is a Fairly well founded
theory that civilization as we know

it, I e agriculture and industry that
comes out of agriculture, Is based

upon us being domesticated by a certain
type of grass that we call wheat.

And that this happened, Oh, between
twenty and fifteen thousand years ago,

somewhere in what's now Kurdistan,
you know, in those upper plateaus at

the the source of the the Euphrates.

And that this particular type of hardy
grass developed a relationship with us

as much as a relationship with them.

What I haven't considered until now,
and this is intriguing to me, Is of

course, what would have been eating
that grass if not herds of wild horses?

And we know that those areas of
Eastern Anatolia and the Southern

Caucasus Going up around to the
north of the Black Sea and so on.

This is sort of the cradle of where we
find the earliest horse civilizations.

Makes sense.

So Did the did the grass domesticate
us and then the main species

subsisting upon that grass, then
take that domestication further.

And then another question comes to mind
from that, Which is it's often assumed

that herding herding of herbivores
predates Farming as a sort of interim

period between straight up hunting
and gathering and, Planting of crops.

But what you're suggesting there is a
potential other way around, which is

that perhaps we began to be domesticated
Seasonally by some of these plants.

Then some of the animals coming in
and being attracted to those made us

think, perhaps we could herd these.

wHat do you think about that
as a as a motif, really?

We don't have to say it's a belief because
don't have to believe one way or the

other, but these things are interesting
concepts to motifs for the brain.

What what what do you feel
feel and think about that?

Linda Kohanov: There are
people who say that outright.

There are scientists
who say that outright.

So it's it's what I call the OASIS theory
is that humans learned how to plant these

grasses On purpose and take care of them.

They had to guard them, you
know, because there are other

animals coming in to eat them.

And and they have to be more settled
in order to stick around to guard these

Plants as they're starting to grow.

And as they're sitting there guarding
the grasses that are growing the

wheat, Then animals are coming up and
they're chasing them off, but they're

starting to observe their behavior.

And sometimes they're chasing
them down and eating them.

And then you have some people
just sitting out guarding these

these these wheat fields, and they
start to notice the horses and

and become more intrigued by them.

And having less of a a hunter mentality
and more of a naturalist mentality if

you're guarding the weed like that.

And so they're observing
the horse behavior.

They're they're seeing young horses.

They're starting to reach out to them.

They the horses are Getting
used to their presence.

And, eventually, maybe somebody
actually holds out a hand of grain

to feed one of the Younger horses
that they've they're enamored with.

And then through that interaction,
eventually, the horses would have

lured Some of those people, some
of those more adventurous people

into this nomadic lifestyle.

So there are actually Scientific
theories that suggest that we had

early agriculture, and we started
to move towards Settled lifestyles,

at least semi settled, to take care
of these agricultural situations.

And then Some people were lured into
a nomadic lifestyle with the animals

that were attracted to those settings.

So that there's agriculture
and then there's two branches.

There's a There's a kind of
agriculture that headed toward city

based lifestyles, and then there's
a kind of agriculture that headed

toward nomadic pastoral lifestyles,
And they branched off from there.

Rupert Isaacson: Yeah.


And your your point about
Animals domesticating us.

I have actually I have actually
witnessed and experienced this twice.

Those listeners who know
my pre Autism background.

I I was a human rights activist and
journalist in the Kalahari area of

Southern Africa for a long time.

My family is all Southern African.

So I lived with Khoi San hunter gatherers
because we were working on their land

claim issues to get them legal title
To their ancestral lands in South

Africa and Botswana for many years.

And so I had a couple of experiences
there Where, for example, we were

making camp in an area that Had
almost no human footprint at all.

And within about ten days, the jackals
of that era, the black backed jackals,

which would be quite quickly beginning
to circle our camp because they could

smell the goodies, Were at the point
where they would come and accept meat

from the hand, I'd say, within ten days.

And but all of the initial overtures
in terms of The charming, almost puppy

like behavior and invitations, the sort
of getting down with the front legs

and then looking up and cocking the
ears and cocking the head To the side.

They're sort of what we think
of as invitation puppy like

invitations to play from a dog.

They were exhibiting that towards us.

And, So did did we domesticate
them, or did they domesticate us?

Then I had a similar experience with
birds of prey, Also in Africa, Zimbabwe

where my father's from where we were
canoeing down the banks of the Zambezi

for And it's sort of extended time.

I did it once, and then I sort of went
back and did it again a couple of times.

And What happened was that the
guides had learned that or rather the

kites, Bode Praetis called a kite.

Had learned that where the camps
generally were along the river,

if they circled there'd be stuff.

And the guide soon learned that they could
throw bits of meat up into the air, and

the kites would swoop in and grab it.

And then the kites began to swoop in
this playful way to, if you like, to

instigate the very, very intelligent
birds, The guides into doing this.

Who domesticated who?

I would have said until recently,
well, we domesticated them.

We we were in this place, we as
humans, And then we did this.

They they were lured by our, you
know, goodies, and then we did

behaviors that domesticated them,
but perhaps that's not the case.

If that's not the case, what do you think
would have motivated and prompted the

horse To come and engage with an upright
ape with the eyes in front, which clearly

is a predator as well as an omnivore.

We absolutely do hunt.

I've, you know, hunted with the bushmen.

And they for example,
they will hunt zebra.

So, they would've we would've
hunted equines, you know, up

here in the Northern Hemisphere.

So given that we did probably
hunt them, what do you feel

Made them reach out to us.

Why would they reach out to us
given that we're a dangerous lot?

Linda Kohanov: Well, I think they
were reaching out to people who were

less dangerous in the beginning.

So you have people who have
more of a hunter mentality.

But, you know, as you know, in But,
you know, as you know, in a lot of

these cultures, they have hunters
have tremendous respect Yeah.

For the prey.

They're not they're not torturing them.

They're not Hunting them
to virtual extinction.

There is a there is a symbiotic
relationship, and that's that is

even related to the prayers that they
say before they hunt, after they've

killed an animal, before they eat an
animal, they're thanking this animal.

There is this feeling of
a mutual support system.

And and horses are being used are used
to being hunted by all kinds of animals.

And when you see Pictures now on
YouTube or videos on YouTube in

Africa, you see that a lot of times,
these large herbivores, Whether

they're zebras or wildebeest, will
live in the midst of predators.

And there will be predators
milling around in the vicinity,

and they don't automatically Right.

So they have some herd members acting
as sentinels, and they can read the

behavior of a predator when it's on
the prowl and a predator when it's just

Relaxing or wandering through the field
on their way to a good nap somewhere else.

And so Horses and other animals that
are herbivores have thousands of years

of living among predators and being
able to tell when they're in that

hunting mode and when they're not.

That's Also Yeah.


And so when people say, oh, you know,
the the horse thinks you're a predator

when you get on his back To ride.


He doesn't because he can tell that you're
not acting like a predator at that moment.


And if you are acting in a hyperdominant
predatory manner, That horse is less

likely to let you on their back.

So that's one aspect of it.

The other thing I think is that, They
called us out, you know, that that there

is a horse consciousness that reached
out to us Just like those jackals reached

out to you or those they sensing also
because we're we're planting grain

That's that's getting better and better.

We're taking them to pastures
and we're guarding them.

We're acting as guardians of
them From other predators.

And so there's this way in which you you
create this mutual support System with

another species that appreciates that.

I mean, there's the horse has now
proliferated around the world because

Their association with humans.


They you know?

So there were there were advantages to
the relationship from the beginning.


Rupert Isaacson: Yeah.

These are these are
these are valid points.


I was I'm just minded, I was in Namibia
earlier this year, and you're dead right.

We were watching a Pride of lion,
who were deciding whether or not

to engage with a very large herd of
zebra, who were deciding whether or

not They should be worried about this.

And what was interesting was it was
the the pride was actually three grown

lionesses who were the hunters and
Some half grown cubs who obviously

needed, you know, to learn the trade.

And so they would stalk a bit And
try a little rush here and there.

And you could see that the the you could
see the zebra sort of looking and go, meh.




We'll move off a little bit, but we
can tell you're not really a threat.

And but they were keeping an eye
on where the three lionesses were.

And When they moved, the
herd would shift accordingly.

But for sure, no rush was made in the
In the time that we were watching them.

aNd if that is most of the time, I guess,
if you're a human predator or Or a or

a feline predator or a canine predator.

Every time you try to make a
kill, you're expending energy.

Most Hunts will not be successful.

How many times do you want to expend
that energy before you run out of energy?

The Animal.

Your hunting is always faster
than you wildier than you.

So I can see, yes, from what you
say that Why would they engage with

us when we're tricky predators?

Because, well, we don't
always behave that way.


And do you but do you feel because a
lot of people would contend that horses

do not really think rationally, that
they represent the more Irrational,

emotionally based intelligence that
they're not the strategic communicators

that Perhaps we or wolves or hyenas or
other pack based predatory things are.

You know, we have language.

We use that To to strategize.

Do you feel that consciously Horses in
this early phase of contact with humans

were Able to take it beyond the okay.

They're not behaving too aggressively,
and they've got some grass that we like.

Do you think that there was
something else going on?

A curiosity?

Linda Kohanov: Absolutely.

Horses are incredibly curious, and
they're very powerful and fast.

And so they can afford to entertain
curiosity in a different way

than you might see a rabbit
be curious about something.

Because, You know, the rabbit's not
powerful and capable of, you know,

really I mean, you see, rabbits
are constantly looking around.

It's like, is it safe to
be out here in the open?

Because they and they have to
run off immediately, whereas a

horse has more of a presence.

And if they're in a group of empowered
horses together, They know they

can run off a lot of predators,
especially the less experienced ones

and especially when they Draw on
that power of a fully empowered herd.

So their curiosity is something that was
Captured in those early cave paintings.

When you see the horse coming out
of the alcove looking very curiously

And, invitingly the painter,
the way he's portraying that.

So, yeah, because they're powerful and
fast, they can afford to be curious.

And they are.

They we don't know how their
consciousness works exactly, but we see

through their behavior how they are.

And how easily they will override their
basic survival instincts when they are

when they feel connected To others.

And so, I mean, if if a horse
was purely an instinctual animal,

there's no way You would get such
an animal to go onto a trailer.


They don't go into small enclosed spaces.

If If a horse were a purely instinctual
animal, there's no way they would ride

into war, into the smell of blood,
Into the screams of horses and humans.

You know?

So they when they have a connection to
Certain humans, they will go into war.

And one of the things that I also
illustrated in the power of the herd, for

instance, is that George Washington Had
this ability to pick exceptional horses

who were exceptionally brave, so he
didn't see them as bundles of instincts.

He saw them as individuals, and he
would choose horses to go into war who

had a natural presence and bravery.

And there's one description of A bunch
of soldiers stuck on a bridge with

the with the enemy coming toward them.

And one of the guys describe who
was one of the soldiers describes

how they were, like, Really, really
scared at that moment as you would be.

And he actually looked up and saw that
George Washington and his horse were

right next to him And that the horse was
just had this presence of being really

centered in the midst of this threat,
And that he actually leaned against the

horse and borrowed the horse's courage.

So We have to stop thinking of
horses as bundles of instincts and

realize there are individuals, yes,
who are going to be shy and run off.

There are individuals who
don't want to accept a rider.

We know that.

There are individuals
who love to be ridden.

There are individuals who
love to go out on trail rides.

You know?

There are there are individuals who
will reach out to children Who were

in states of distress that normally
would cause a horse's nervous system

to go into a flight or fight mode.

That was so clear with Rowan and Betsy,
The horse that reached out to him when

he was in a state of real turmoil.

With horses, they're
they're highly empathic.

So if if Somebody's in a state
of turmoil at that level.

A lot of horses would simply
spook and run off, but some horses

have the capacity to step in and
help to coregulate that person.

So these are natural healing horses.

Not all horses are gonna be that way.

So I think when we look at them as
individuals, we get to see certain

talents and orientations, and we don't
know how conscious they are of this.

But a lot I A lot of people act in
different kinds of ways, brave or

caring, who are not conscious of
what they're doing at that moment.

There's a kind of stream of Of an
orientation or a talent that lures

you into places where you gain more
and more confidence, and you're not

even conscious of how you got there.



Rupert Isaacson: I I I I would agree.

I think that, you know, there's
this there's this cliche, Then

like all cliches, of course, it's
based in a truth, which is that,

you know, the horse is your mirror.

If you go Grumpy to the horse.

You might get a bit of a grumpy response.

If you're afraid, he might
be afraid, and so on.

But but, of course, I
feel it goes beyond that.

I and and this idea with the higher
self and curiosity, I think What one

sees often with horses is is that
really defines this their species as

herbivores, maybe even more than others
when you observe them together It's

it's it's playfulness this this seeking
out of of play and entertainment.

And when I'm Got my horse trainer hat on.

What I'm often saying to people
is don't be a horse trainer.

Be a horse entertainer.

Be interesting to the horse.

Be be worth interacting with, you
know, so that when the horse sees you

coming, they think, oh, you know, This
might be good crack, you know, today.

What's he got you know, what's shaking?

Rather than, oh, shit.

Here comes that, you know, person
that makes me Just endlessly do the

same thing and is always a bit, you
know, frustrated with me for not quite

understanding what's in their brain.

I wonder if it's this aspect, this
playful aspect of the horse that has

the potential to bring out, if you
like, this higher self because in us.

Because when horses are playful
together, as we know, they're quite

rough, and they're you know, When
horses are really playing together,

a weak little monkey like us is it's
not great to be in the way of that.

There's a reason why we
call Rough play horseplay.

Yet you can engage with them.

And as you say, that that they will
modify their behavior Like Betsy did

with my son, for example you know, in
in a way which I thought I knew horses

quite well until I observed that.

And then I realized, oh gosh.

I Really don't know horses
as well as I thought I did.

In fact, I need to
revise everything I know.

This is really interesting.

This is a good thing, Which
brings me to my next question.

And I think

Linda Kohanov: also I mean, I
just one little point here Yeah.

Is that, you know, when they when
They'll say they're not conscious

or they don't have logical capacity
or strategic thinking or whatever.

I mean, I have several horses
that know how to open gates.


So, I mean, I have to put one out there.

They'll get out, and they'll
let everybody else loose.

And I never taught them
how to open these gates.

And I even have a horse that,

Rupert Isaacson: You just provided
them with rather rather interesting

puzzles for them, which is very nice of

Linda Kohanov: you.



Well, I mean, I I I have some temporary
corral panels that I set up, and I've, you

know, sort of put a chain around the gate.

And then I've had horses figure
out how to loosen the pins, pull up

and loosen the pins, and get out.

You know?

So You have to just you have to
realize they're strategizing.

They can totally run mazes on my
property because I have all kinds of

different sections of corrals that
are if I open them up, they know

how to get from one to the other.

They know exactly what to do.

So these are things they
learned on their own.

They figured it out for themselves.

So there is logical
strategic thinking in horses.

We're It's just that when they're
out in the, you know, like, zebras

in the Kalahari or something like
that, They they don't have a need for

that kind of strategic intelligence.

They're paying attention to other things.


Rupert Isaacson: it this This is the
question I'm I'm is it this playfulness

and this curiosity bring that we
something in us responds to that.


The what to us is play
and curiosity, if not joy?


And so It seems to me is is it do you
think that that's perhaps the difference

between Symbolic relationship with
horses and the other animals which we

ride, like Reyders, donkeys, camels,
elephants, water buffalo, and others.

Do you think it's this aspect of
playfulness And inquisitive curiosity.

That brings up this Special sort
of meta love that we seem to have

for this animal across cultures.

You know, one finds horse cultures
in every continent except Antarctica.

Is is that what it is?

And is that why horses have this
ability to sort of heal the human heart?

What what what To bring us back to joy.

What what what are your
thoughts about that?

Linda Kohanov: Horses experience
a full range of emotions, And they

move through them very quickly.

They're very emotionally agile animals.

So if they're angry at a stallion
that's Coming in too close, you know,

the mayor will sort of, you know,
pin her ears and then crescendo if

the stallion isn't paying attention.

She'll then, You know, squeal
and turn around and bite.

And then if he doesn't back off, then
she'll turn around and mule kick the guy.

And then, you know, maybe ten minutes
later, you see them hanging out

together under their favorite Free.

So that's emotional agility to move
from anger, which is about setting

boundaries, and then move to a sense
of peacefulness and connection.

And they experience they definitely
experience sadness and grief.

I've seen it a lot.

A lot of people don't realize
that, but I I have talked about

it quite a bit in my books.

They experience incredible joy and
peacefulness and contentment, and

yet they move through all of those
emotions very efficiently and go

back to grazing as I like to say.

Whereas humans hang on to certain
emotional states and retell the

story over and over and over again.

So this is one of the things that we
learn from horses when we begin to

see them as teachers is how to be more
emotionally agile and how to Feel an

emotion in its purest form and get the
message behind it, change something

in response to that message, and then
let it go and go back to grazing.

So there's an emotional intelligence
in horses that we can learn from

that we've lost sight of in our
city based cultures, in our Focus

on language and telling stories over
and over and over again rather than

being in the present in the present.

It's not that we don't Want
to tell stories or shouldn't

tell stories, we should.

But to fixate on them at the expense of
being present in life is part of our Sort

of human psychology that's gotten out of
control over time with our focus on words.

But Horses engage in incredible moments
of joy and contentment and peacefulness.

I talk about Standing among a
group of horses huddled together

on pasture about how I'm often
privy to a secret bliss, Really?

Rupert Isaacson: Privy to a secret place.

They're dosing.

Write that down.

Please go ahead.

Privy to a secret place.

I love

Linda Kohanov: that.

I mean, sometimes they are
dozing, but sometimes they're not.


They only seem to be dozing.

They're actually engaged in this
Collective, subsonic reverie so deep

that I feel like it vibrates through
the bones and And expands the heart,

leaving the ears untouched so that
you're you're when you're with horses

and you really Slow down and stop
being so fixated on your human agenda

and just enter into their world.

You begin to Expand into areas of
peace and joy and connection that

sometimes people have never experienced
with a member of their own species.

So it's it's very profound, and I
think this is part of the reason why

horses being with horses is so healing.


Rupert Isaacson: put.

It's interesting that almost all of the
metaphors that we use around horses are

always Superlatives or positive things.

If you compare a situation or somebody
or something to something equine,

That person's a real stallion.

That person's a real stud.

That you know, that person has got a, you
know, I suppose suppose you say kick like

a mule, but it's really a type of horse.

That person gosh.

There are so many, I think,
equine references in our culture.

We know that Shakespeare was
a great horseman and Falconer.

And he he's peppered his plays
with it all the, you know,

hold your horses, hold hard.

You know?

But that, generally, You don't
use a metaphor of a horse

to say someone is rubbish.

You you usually use a metaphor of
a horse As a as a as an emotional

strengthener that's positive.


One of the things which you pointed
out about this emotional agility.

I wrote that down too.

I like that.

Are you familiar with Gulliver's Travels,
you know, the the the eighteenth century

English novel that was made into a Disney
made a famous film about you know, you've

got Gulliver who's The Lilliputians,
the little people, they tie him down.

So that's that's one of the he
goes to the island of Lilliput.

He goes to the island of Brobdiagnag
where he encounters giants.

But he also goes This was not in the film.

He goes to the island of the Hui Hinnoms.

And the Hui Hinnoms are horses, but
they're horses that speak English and

live And a sort of a a a a a life that
reflects eighteenth century England.

And there's this he has Great admiration
for them because they seem to have

exactly, as you just pointed out, a sort
of emotional agility and perspective

where He's taking tea with a very
elegant mare, a very elegant sorrel

mare who's serving him tea in her house.

And it comes up in the course
of the conversation that her

husband has recently died.

And Gulliver's, oh, I'm terribly
sorry to hear that, my lady,

and, you know, my condolences.

And and she says, oh, no.

Why why would you say that?

He he led a very, very good life.

We had a An absolutely
lovely time together.

He's been dead about a day
and a half, and I remember him

well, and my present is good.

Do horses bring us into
the present moment?

Linda Kohanov: They do.


But I've also seen horses Engage in
extensive grief so that I mean, we

we would say that that's incredibly
emotionally agile of this, You

know, Lady Mare in that book.

I need to go and read that because I've
never I never knew that part of the book.

I need to find that.

So she's showing extreme
emotional agility.


He lived a good life,
you know, all of that.

And and it doesn't seem
like she's grieving.

But in reality, horses do grieve
Because part of it is because our

nervous systems sync up, and we
know that from the polyvagal theory,

For instance, of Steven Porges.

We know that we are, as mammals, and that
includes sources, designed to connect

with each other, To experience safety
through connection and that that it's

really impossible or difficult for us
to heal or, Even evolve as a lone wolf.

I mean, even wolves don't really
engage in lone wolf behavior.

So mammals are are designed to socially
engage and to use their nervous systems

to coregulate each other so that one
one is distressed, Others will reach

out and calm that horse and vice versa.

And a lot of people didn't understand
that this is actually a Feature of

the nervous system of mammals until
recently when doctor Porges came out

with his theory, and it explains a lot.

So one of the things that happens with
horses when they are allowed to form close

lifelong partnerships is their nervous
systems sync up and affect each other.

And so when one of these horses
dies, the other horse really

feels like their nervous system is
missing something huge if you just

wanna put it in scientific terms.

So I've had horses, and I don't I
have several horses who I've raised.

I've had multiple generations of a
certain Herd of horses that they were

never separated from their parents.

They were weaned, and then they were put
back in with their parents and brothers

and sisters and cousins And uncles.

And when one of those parents dies,
the horse that's closest to that parent

will actually Shut down and become
incredibly depressed because there was I

can see in certain instances where they
were in such See, co regulating each

other for years and years and years.

But then when that physical
presence is no longer there,

there's something huge missing.

There's like a part of them dies
with the other being that dies.

And that's the same for spouses
or parents and human children.


Rupert Isaacson: Why is it though
that why is it that horses bring

us into the present moment?

There's a really good quote from the
Tower of Equus where you you talk about

when you're when you mount a horse,
you must Put the past where it belongs.

You must be in the present, and
you must have your mind on the

immediate sort of optimistic future.

Why is it that horses put us into
the pre why do we need to be in

the present moment with horses?

And why is it that we do seem to go
into that State of unawareness of

anything else when we're with a horse.

What what what what
what's doing that in us?

Linda Kohanov: Part of it
is because they're so big.

You have to pay attention.

You have to be present if you're
gonna be around them or you're

getting knocked around and stepped on.

And If if you're really present, and
I know you know this, Rupert, because

you are a fine rider, you can feel a
worse I don't I don't know whether I

should say thinking of spooking, or
you can feel a horse's intention to

spook in your body before they can get
their thousand pound body to do that.

And if so if you're really present,
you can move with a sudden sideways

leap because you're you're there's
a part of you that's already sensed

it's about to happen, And you can't
do that if you're not fully present.

You know?

That's how you topple off and and
get dragged or left in the dust.

So I think When you're with horses
and you're really doing serious things

with them, like riding or training
young horses or rehabilitating abused

horses, The more present you are,
the more you can actually feel what's

about to happen and do something to
shift it before it gets out of control.


That's the advantage of being present.

Rupert Isaacson: Yeah.

I could see yeah.

I I I think that the presence of
imminent danger It's exactly as

you describe, which one is whether
one's next to or on top of a horse.

It's just there.

As you said, it's a thousand
pound animal that can respond

Violently to small things.

And when one's on it you know, one of the
things I often think is so interesting

about riding is How one has to go
completely against nature and intuition.

You know?

The the horse was not designed
really to carry monkeys yet.

There we are sitting on one.

And with our top heavy you know, heavy
head and shoulders, we're not really

designed to sit on a moving barrel yet.

We sort of Evolved to be able to do
that if we put enough work into it.

And then we want to, as, you know,
sight apes, Solve our problems

with our eyes and our hands, which,
of course, might work against us

with horses if we grab on tight.

And then, of course, we we want to
go into a bit of a of a crouch if we

feel afraid, which naturally we're
going to on the back of a horse.

But because if we do that, we're
gonna tilt forward and go out

the front door let alone transmit
our fear to to the to the animal.

Yet and and, of course, it doesn't
really make an awful lot of sense

for a horse to let us come near.

You know?

Every herb of all has to be, if you
like, trained from the wild as a baby

To accept the presence of humans.

And yet, miraculously, if we put enough
work into it together, it seems to happen.

What I'm wondering is is thing.

Go you go go ahead with this.


What what what do you think about

Linda Kohanov: about that?

Well, here's the thing.

We have to stop thinking of ourselves
as apes that just showed up out

of the blue among herds of horses.

This is not true.

We're talking about at least I I think
it's about six thousand years of evidence

of actually riding horses, But longer
evidence, as I say, with the cave

paintings of people being inspired by
them and intrigued by them and engaged.

And through those
interactions, we have evolved.

So we're not purely Oh, I would agree with

Rupert Isaacson: you there.

But but nonetheless, one has the the
horse, when it's a very young horse

even ones that one has bred oneself,
their first reaction to a human

is, you know, and they might come
across for a bit of a sniff, But they

kinda wanna get behind their mom.

You know?

And even the mom who is
used to us is like, okay.

But this is my baby.

You know?

Be cool.

And then, of course, when we climb up
on horses, when we're learning to ride,

we're entering a completely unknown
Three-dimensional space where we have to

basically create a body map with an animal
that we may or may not really understand.

He has to create a body map with
And we have to sync our nervous

systems up, and then we have to
learn all this technical stuff.

And it's jolly difficult, which is
why relatively few people do it.

Otherwise, everyone would be doing it.


But, nonetheless, it happens.

I always feel that there's some
aspect of the miraculous with that.

I I agree with you that we've had
thousands of years of interaction

with these animals, But it it
seems that every single time,

we're still starting from scratch.

I mean, every time I start with
a new horse that comes to me for

train, I'm starting from scratch.

Every time I'm writing a new book,
I'm starting from scratch just because

I wrote a a book, you know, before.

It doesn't mean that when I sit in front
of that blank page I know that one.

You know that one?


You know that And I'm sure a lot of

Linda Kohanov: people god.

Every time I think it's gonna be easy
and it's absolutely not, it never gets

Rupert Isaacson: easier.



You you sort of kid yourself
it's gonna be so that you begin,

and then you're like, oh, shit.

Why did I Why did I let
myself in for this again?


Oh, here we go.

Another five years.

But the the yeah.

There's this miraculous thing where
you, yeah, you look up and then

then, boom, there's this book.

And, Oh, I've just added another
one by the in to the cohen

of, you know, Uh, library.

And then you have called immediate amnesia
because you're beginning the new one.

Writing Sometimes brings us into the
present moment, but I don't think it

brings you know, one sometimes has to
find one's way into the present moment

with the pursuit of the human arts
because it's one is contending with

one's own nervous system and brain only.

I think there's this thing, do you
not agree of contending I'm finding

relationship with a whole other nervous
system and brain that is not our own.

It's not a dance partner that's human.

It's not a lover that's human.

It's not Someone that we
can stop and say, hold on.

Hold on.

Can we just rewind there?

What did you mean by that?

Or could you touch me differently?

Or you stepped on my toe or or whatever.

We have to evolve this
other language, don't we?

Um, uh, what do you feel about
the miraculous In the human horse

relationship, which, for me, is that
Immediate boom straight into the present

moment whether you want to or not.

You're just there.

You don't even have to try.

To me, that is miraculous.

And it it seems that mythologically,
You know, we we're always equate

equating horses to the miraculous.

You mentioned Pegasus in the Tao of
Equus, you know, very eloquently.

What is the winged horse if
not an expression of miracle?

You know?

What is your feeling about the
miraculous with horses and humans?

Linda Kohanov: Horses have a connection
with this world here and now where I

also believe horses have a connection
to a much wider view of consciousness,

whether that's spirit, whether
that's god whether it's the great

mystery, whatever you wanna call it.

And, you know, a lot of a lot of
people Who do trans transpossession,

let's say, in certain cultures.

They call themselves
horses when they do that.

And the idea is that the spirit's
coming in and actually riding you.


And horses just seem to have
a capacity for that with Human

riders as well as actual spirit.

So I've seen horses act in ways
that are not related to how their

personality is in normal life.

And it seems like they're being they're
being ridden or possessed for a moment,

you might say, or opening themselves up to
An influence of a larger spiritual nature.

I've seen them take on the personality
traits of people people who have

passed In the presence of certain
people who are grieving, let's say.

Now that's miraculous for sure.

And So I think this ability to to be
very powerful and present, but also

being This may be why horses are agreed
to be ridden, actually, is that they are

capable of also expanding Into allowing
another form of intelligence to come

in and actually run things for a while.

So that by eventually having a human
being able to ride, maybe that was

just a small physical Manifestation
in their minds of the idea of being

ridden by larger spiritual forces.

There's also a group intelligence
with horses that I encountered in

the Tao of Equis where I talk about
accessing the horse ancestors.

aNd, You know, there's just ways in
which they are open to what's happening

in the moment in this physical world,
but they're also equally open, it seems,

in the moment to spiritual forces.

And it's hard to be around them
For years and years and years

where you see the miraculous things
that they do with people at times.

It's out of character For the
individual horse at the time without

actually realizing, oh my god.

There's something else going on here.

There are other forms of intelligence.

There are there are things
that we can allow in too.

Because when you're writing a
book, you're you're accessing

another form of intelligence.

It's it's, In this case, when you're
writing, it's a it's it's a slightly

dissociative Presence because actually,
I had a person study this and talk

about discordant dissociation where it's
survival dissociation where you associate

because you're going into flight or fight
mode, and you're trying to just survive.

Whereas there's also concordant
dissociation, which is a form of

dissociation that artists engage and
writers so that you know, how you

when you get into the State, you lose
all contact with what's going on.

And four or five hours later, you realize
you're starving, and you didn't even

realize it was five hours that went by.

And during that time, you almost feel
like you're downloading something.

You know, sometimes you're staring at the
blank page, and you're like, when when

can I get this thing to to Take over here?



And then when it takes over,
it's there's also a feeling

of ecstasy associated with it.

And studies of of people who go into
creative states, and they show that,

yes, certain endorphins are released
in states of creativity that reward

you for going into those states.

So there's an interesting interesting
aspects of horses that let us in on

certain Mysteries of the universe that
we wouldn't be noticing otherwise.

And like you were saying earlier, just
to ride a horse, you have to do all kinds

of things that are counter Dingshul.

So that when a horse spooks,
rather than roll over into a fetal

position and grab on, because that
causes the horse to go faster.

You have to sit up, and you have
to start breathing, and you have to

sink into the saddle In order to have
any hope of staying on the horse.

So horses are teaching people, and people
are teaching horses all the time to

do things that are counterinstinctual
So that we can begin to use our

nervous systems for higher purposes.

Rupert Isaacson: Beautifully put.

To be able to do things that are
counter instinctual, well, those are

jolly useful skills if one's going
to Be alive and thrive on planet

Earth in whatever sphere, I guess.

I feel that there's some aspect of
dream In our relationship with horses.

You know, as you say in the
shamanic, for example, when I was

in Mongolia with the shamans There.

They talk as to the shamans
in Tibet of the wind horse.

You know, everybody has a wind horse,
which is sort of your luck, your mojo,

your but you can also ride the wind horse.

It can be an Cool thing.

To an altered state of consciousness
if you're a trained shaman to

get, Instructions from the spirit
world or the ancestral world.

The word in Mongolian for the wild horse,
what we would call the Provalski sources,

the takin, which means, Revered one.

The venerable one.

Honored one.

This idea of of of this
repository of power.

And these are not the horses they ride.

These are the horses that exist
outside of of their domestication.

We Have this idea of horses carrying us.

You know, you've talked about
this essentially between worlds

as well as two new worlds.

You know?

We the conquistadors went on the
back of the horse through the Yes.

But the idea also of riding the
wind horse, the dream horse.

At some point, you were
dreaming about horses.

I realized that We're you
know, about an hour in.

I have been so into nerding out on
all this that I've forgotten to ask

you anything about How you got here?

To live free and ride free.

When was there a little girl
version of yourself Dreaming about

this relationship with horses.

And how did you come to this
point now where this is your

life, this is your work?

Talk us through the biography,

Linda Kohanov: please.

I was always enamored with horses,
And I was one of these kids that

would just beg for a horse every year,
and my parents were afraid of them.

We actually had enough land to have
horses, but they were afraid of horses.

And So they you know, I would have
to sneak off, actually, because they

wouldn't even let me take lessons.

I would have to sneak off and go
through the woods, and I found

this old horse traders farm.

And I could come up to the back of his
property, and He would have this transient

herd because he was a horse trainer.

And some of them were ex race horses.

Some of them were ex riding horses.

Some of them were really old that you
knew that this was their last stop

on the way to the, you know, the the
slaughterhouse or something like that.

And some of them were very dangerous, and
some of them were very calm and Suite.

And I didn't have bridles or
halters or a riding instructor.

I would just go back there and
spend hours and hours and hours.

I even built a little fort right next to
the the pasture where the horses were,

and I would just sit out there for hours.

And I would lure certain horses
over to the fence if they were

amenable, and I would get on them.

And I would just kinda
ride around bareback.

And I, Of course, I had no real control.

I was just a little kid, but the
horse would let me on its back

and carry me around, certain ones.

And you could tell the difference between
the ones who were and engaged and the

ones who were frantic and dangerous.

And so I would just learn
over time how to assess.

And if I hadn't have learned to
assess, I probably would just

be, you know, I would be dead.

I would have died with one of these
racehorses running over me or something.

So, um, so that was a a way
of developing this expanded

nonverbal awareness of horses.

And then I would hire myself out at the
fair to people just to groom horses.

And so and it was, I mean, it was such
an extreme interest, but at the same

time, I was I was also a musician.

aNd What sorts of music?

The the viola.

You play the violin?

The violin, viola.

I I play the viola.

I I was actually a music major.

I got a full Scholarship to
be a viola major in college.

And so I played in a lot of
symphonies and chamber music groups.

But as you're growing up and you're
learning to play an instrument like this

And you're playing in lots of chamber
groups since I was ten years old.

And then in in high school, we had
orchestra Five days a week, and I

was in chamber music groups as well.

So I'm spending hours and hours in in
this place with the horses that I was

sneaking off to see and with the music in
this Place of nonverbal awareness expanded

nonverbal awareness and engagement
with others in a nonverbal setting.

anD you have to be really
present also as a musician.

You learn how to To actually
be in symphonies where you're

portraying strong emotions at times.

And, you know, when you have a brass
section behind you And you're they're

projecting out to a full audience.

That is moving that that sound of those
brass instruments behind you is Actually,

rattling your entire nervous system.

And in the middle of that, you have to
stay present with what you're supposed to

play, But you have to be emotive enough.

So if you're, like, riding the wings of
the angels into ecstasy and you're not

present with what's happening at the
same time, you know, the both Lies out

of your hand, and it hits the conductor.

And he falls off, and the whole
thing comes to a crashing halt.

So with music also, you learn how
to be present in the midst of wild,

Strong nervous system invigorating
things that are happening.

So I think those two things together.

And then when I started to to write,
I was also a music journalist.

So I was learning how to I was
learning how to write about things

that were hard to put into words.

So by the time I was got my first
horse when I was in Tucson working as a

classical radio announcer and a jazz radio
announcer sir, and a music journalist.

I I I noticed how easy it was For
people in Tucson to have horses.

You don't have to have barns.

You don't have to worry about
ice and snow and mud here.

You can just have a nice Shade cover
for the horses in your backyard

and have a couple of horses.

It's not a big deal.

So I and finally in my
thirties, I said, you know what?

I'm getting a horse.

Because, actually, I wanted to get
a horse to get as far away from

people on a regular basis because
people were driving me insane.

Because I had You know, most
people suppress emotion.

The average person's taught to
suppress emotion and wear a mask

of whatever's socially acceptable.

Musicians are taught to express
emotion, and they're rewarded

handsomely for it in some cases.

But both of these Suppression and
expression exploits are two sides

of the same dysfunctional coin.

And so when I got my first
horse, I was just Like, these

musicians are driving me crazy.

These regular people are driving me crazy.

I just have to get out of here.

And you know what?

I have enough money finally.

I'm getting a horse.

And so I got my first horse to get
away from people, but what I noticed

was that the horse Was showing me a
different form of emotional intelligence.

So people who express emotion never get
The message behind it and change something

response and go back to grace, and they
just express and express and express.

And people who suppress emotion Never
get past that first step either.

You know?

So when I noticed horses having
this four point method of emotional

agility it was like they brought
me back into the capacity to engage

with people in a more productive way.

So the four step method
was I could see it.

It took me about five years to put
this into words, but horses feel

the emotion in its purest form.

Then they get the message
behind the emotion.

Then something in response to
the message, and then they let it

go, and they go back to grazing.

Whereas most people
don't get past step one.

Expressors Feel the emotion, but
they never get the message and

change something in response.

There's all kinds of musicians we see
who get rewarded For engaging in ill

fated relationships so they can write
the next hit song about, you know, she

done me wrong or something like that.

Or in rap music, They'll put themselves
especially in the early rap music, they

would put themselves into situations
that would drum up large amounts of rage.

And And so then they wouldn't really
get the message behind that either.

They're just rage, rage, rage,
or sadness, sadness, or crying

in your beer country music.

And Putting Putting a tear in your

Rupert Isaacson: beer.

To live a life.



Putting a tear in your beer.


Linda Kohanov: Right.



Putting a tear in your beer.

So, um, so when I was with horses,
I'm like, oh, they have the answer.

You know?

The suppressors don't
even get to step one.

They do everything they
can To not feel an emotion.

The expressors feel an emotion, but
they never get to the other steps.

And then I noticed horses were
doing this very intelligent

thing, And it changed my life.

Rupert Isaacson: So talk talk
us through it step by step.


Step one, step two, step three,
step four, and at what point you

You really first observed this.

Linda Kohanov: One of the things I
first observed, and this seemed magical,

it seemed miraculous, Was that when
I would go out to the barn, people

would say they were fine, You know?

Or or act like everything was okay or act
really macho about something or another.

But I could actually Tell what
emotional state they were in by

the way their horse was acting.

It didn't didn't take me very long
to start noticing that pattern.

So, You know, horses will act,
consent, and then act out sometimes

the exact emotions somebody's hiding.


Rupert Isaacson: you were keeping your
horse, Your first horse at a barn where

other people were keeping their horses,
and you got to observe this interaction.

Linda Kohanov: Yes.

And for a while, I was like, wow.

That is fascinating.

How is that even possible?

And, I mean, now there are ways that
I can explain it and which That's

why I've written a number of books,
and I do explain it more in my video

courses where I really go through
what it what is, How are horses doing

this, and what are they teaching us?

And how are humans doing it too?

We're just not conscious of it.

Is that emotions are
contagious, basically.

And when you suppress an emotion,
actually, it causes your blood

pressure to rise, and it causes
the blood pressure of everyone

interacting with you to rise also.

That's a study in social
intelligence by Daniel Goleman.

And so horses just as empaths And
being more fully present than we

are, have the capacity to sense the
emotion underneath the mask or facade.

And they will Act it out
or just walk away from it.

And when a person becomes congruent,
when the person actually acknowledges the

hidden emotion, The horse will often come
back over and engage even if you haven't

done anything to solve the emotion.

Because, Like, one of one of the most
powerful things I ever saw was a woman

who had been raped who was coming
out to do some work to be feel more

empowered and step back into life.

And she went in with this horse named
Sam, and she, She started crying,

and the horse just went and flipped
his mane and walked away from her.

And she was like you could
imagine what she felt.

You know?

She's being rejected by the horse now.

And she's like, well, everybody's
just telling me I should just get over

this and everybody's, you know, um,
they're just tired of all of my tears.

And and I said, no.


I don't think that's what's going on.

I think There's an emotion underneath
the tears that you're not acknowledging

or because this horse act what do you
think that horse was was conveying?

What emotion do you think that horse
was conveying as he, like, tossed his

head and sputtered sort of marched off?

And she goes, well,
you look kind of angry.

I said, yeah.

And I said, so is there any
anger underneath the tears?

And she realized that, yes.

I mean, anger really is an emotion
that's about that rises when somebody's

overstepped a boundary with you.

And it's the emotion.

The intensity of anger is
is supposed to let you set a

boundary if you use it properly.

And so that's One of the ultimate
boundary violations is to be raped.

So, yeah, she had sadness, and her
life had been turned upside down.

But underneath was this Absolute
outrage at her entire life

being turned upside down.

So she started to access this anger,
and she started pounding on the fence

post and talking about this, You know?

I'm really starting to to show the true
body language associated with anger.

And that horse turned around and came
back over And wrapped his head around

her as she pounded on the fence post.

So it was like the horse Didn't was less
upset about whatever she was feeling than

the horse was more aggravated by the fact
that she was hiding a strong emotion.

And once she accessed the strong
emotion, as long as she wasn't directing

it at the horse, the horse was like,
I can be here with you in that.

You know?

And so when people are crying sincere
tears of sadness or grief, horses

will often come over and comfort them.

But also, if there's sincere anger
that's legitimate that's being accessed,

I've seen horses walk over and be
present with a person during that too.

So, You know, when we're when we're
afraid or we're feeling vulnerable, the

worst as long as you acknowledge that,
One of these more therapeutic oriented,

healing oriented horses will come
back over and actually do what Steven

Porches would call coregulating you.

The horse will reach out and be present
with you and connect with you in

the midst of this authentic emotion.

So there's so many brilliant
things that horses do emotionally.

And, you know, that four point method
and then You know, I I did some research

into various emotional intelligence
authors and found some useful definitions

of the various emotions that I put
into an emotional message chart.

And so I teach that as well.

And the horses generally respond to
those emotional definitions So that, you

know, negative emotions aren't mistakes.

They're not designed to torture us.

They are course correcting emotions,
And they're uncomfortable because

they're asking us to change something.

If we were comfortable, we wouldn't
bother to change something.

So when horses teach us how to
use emotions as Course correcting

signals, and then we learn how to
move through them and then go back

to grazing, your whole life changes.

It Truly changed my life.

Just that one piece, let alone
all the other wild things I've

learned over time with them.

Rupert Isaacson: Let's go
back to these four points.

Can you what what are the four points
of that constellation, and can you

walk us through how they progress?

Linda Kohanov: Sure.

So the first step is you feel
the emotion in its purest form.

Rather than suppressing it, you
actually notice that it's there.


The next thing you do is you get
the message behind the emotion,

then you change something
in response to the emotion.

You take its advice on some
level, and then you let it go

and you go back to grazing.

So in the case of fear, a
horse would say, I feel fear.

And horses can transmit fear
at a distance to each other.

I've been in that position
where I've felt it.


So I you know, horse says, okay.

I'm feeling fear.

And then what is the message behind fear?

Well, there's a threat in the environment.

So you go, what's the threat?

What do I do to move to safety?

And then so you get the message.

What is the threat?

And then you move to
safety is the third step.

So the first step is feel the emotion.

The second step is Get the
message behind the emotion.

The third step is change something
in response to the emotion.

So, yeah, I see there's a lion walking up.

I get the message, yes.

This lion is on the prowl.

Now I'm gonna run.

And then when I get to a position
of safety, I'm gonna let it go,

and I'm gonna go back to Grace.

Horses, as far as I can
tell, don't stay up all night

debating why God invented lions.

They just like, oh, The
lion's on the prowl.

He's a threat.

Let's run.

They get far enough away, and they
get their sentinels up Who are

ready to, you know, protect against
the lion, and then they just all

lean down and start grazing again.

It's brilliant.



Rupert Isaacson: is.

I've I've I've observed the same behavior
in, Hunted deer getting away from

wolves or or or other other predators
predator prey things where, Let's

say an animal was pursued quite hard,
sometimes was even grabbed but got away.

Sometimes what one will see is a
sort of shuddering off of the or the

cortisol, all of the stress hormone.

But then as you say, they don't
then go for ten years of therapy.

They return to their previous
behavior Pretty quickly.


So it it it is is the great
lesson that we're learning

from horses here resilience?

Linda Kohanov: Yes.



And they are they are they can also
be in states Put in states of learned

helplessness or appeasement or, you
know, certain kinds of post traumatic

Stress reactions you'll see in horses.


But when there's when there's
there's a shift in the environment

and a real connection with somebody
who truly understands dance, how

to help them move through this.

They generally move through these things
much quicker than the average human does.


So they are more

Rupert Isaacson: result.

I would agree.

And and, interestingly, having
spent so much time with hunting

and gathering people, I have
seen them undergo great trauma.

You can imagine some of the unpleasant
things that happen To people in those

situations when other people are trying
to come in and get their land and so on.

And what I've observed every time is
is is an extraordinary resilience where

they don't lose their quality of life.

They don't use their
lose their playfulness.

They don't lose their ability to be happy.

anD you said, well, why not?

You know, this this terrible
thing happened to you again.

It's not the first time.

And they're like, well, yes.

But we grew up, you know, dodging
elephants and lions, and we do

accept that, yeah, If it reaches
a certain point, it becomes

untenable, and we will shut down.

But until that point arrives
we will Be resilient.

And I learned much from them because
they had at their core of their culture,

if they're lucky, you know, a shaman,
A healer who's trained to go into an

altered state of consciousness and,
you know, help with this process.

I wonder if in Our society where,
of course, you know, we went

through the witch burning centuries.

We sort of put to death anybody who male
or female who knew anything about herbs,

let alone could access the spirit world.

And so we broke that tradition.

But having been around, say, not just the
Kalahari sun bushmen, but also, you know,

for example, You know, horse and reindeer,
shamans in Mongolia, they have this, and

they're using the power of the horse.

Do we have with horses
a shaman in our midst?

Do we have a healer in our midst
when we're lucky enough to be Part

of a horse culture, even if it's, you
know, a sport horse culture in a barn.

And then here's a question.

If we do have this shaman in our
midst, if the horses Heal us in this

way, showing us this resilience,
walking us between these walls.

How do we not be parasitic on them?

How do we make sure it's symbiotic
with all our intense monkey stuff

that we tend to bring to things?

Linda Kohanov: Well, I think you know,
horses lure you back Into a deeper

connection with nature and being present.

They're they're transforming us Just
from that action alone and causing us

if we if we will sit in the presence
of horses and allow them to influence

us, We begin to feel and hear and see
things that we're disconnected from,

and so we feel connected to a much
larger Vision of the universe that's

fully aware and conscious and, in some
sense, benevolent in so many ways.

And We begin to notice things.

And, you know, you just reminded me, and I
I was looking this up as you were talking

about You know, because I'm a I was a
music major, and I I also bring music

into a lot of the workshops too because
it's a form of nonverbal communication.

It opens creativity and
Mind body awareness.

But there's all kinds of musical
mysticism associated with the fact that

the ancient Greeks were more obsessed
With what they called the music of the

spheres, the music of the stars and the
planets that's actually you can't really

hear it or Feel it unless you really
slow down and become really present.

And they were they were really obsessed
with this more than actual music that we

make out of instruments Or with our voice.

And I just saw in this Facebook post
recently A reference to the lost

world of the Kalahari, and Lawrence
Vander Post was was living amid

the bushmen in the Kalahari Desert.

And He describes how shocked they
were that he couldn't hear the stars.

They actually felt really bad for him,
like he had some major disability.

And so, I mean, horses lead us back
into that deep connection with nature

Where we can begin to feel things
we've never noticed before, and then

maybe maybe eventually going into these
deeper states where you can actually

hear the music of the stars in the
planets and and the first om that

sort of sang the universe into being.

So there's one of these mystical
connections the horses are making

for us At any time that we're
willing to sit quietly with them.

You know?

We can do things with them, but I
think sitting quietly with them is an

important part of Accepting the healing
potential they have for us and the

wholeness that they're offering us.

But also I had and I talk about this
in my second book, Riding Between the

Worlds, and in my book, Way of the Horse,
which is a set of horse wisdom cards.

My one horse, Rasa, who was really
my my shamanic horse who led me Into

multiple states of consciousness.

She had twins.

She had twin foals, and we
we tried to prevent this.

You're you try to prevent
Horses having twins.

But somehow, the whole thing slipped
through the cracks, and she ended

up having twins born prematurely.

And one of them was stillborn, And
the other one was born so premature

that we had to he needed twenty
four hour care for ten weeks.

We had to, like, put him in a
sling so So that he wouldn't damage

his legs because he shouldn't
have been out of the womb yet.

We had to have him lean up against our
body, or he would have seizures because

he wasn't supposed To be out of the womb
regulating his own nervous system yet.

We had to milk Rasa and feed
this bull who we named Spirit.

And so while I was spending lots of
time with this bull I would I would

pretty much spend the night with them,
and I would Have this full up against

my body so that my nervous system
would would stabilize his, and then

Rasa would literally stand over me in
the Oh, and and I would fall asleep.

And then then when I would wake up
I would wake up, she would be, you

know, sort of hitting me with her hoof
like a mare Sorta hits their full to

get that full to stand up and nurse.

Well, she figured out that it was
me who was gonna do it, So then I

would have to get up and milk her
and then feed this horse and spirit.

And I started to reflect
on the symbology of twins.

And I looked up because I'm
you know, us writers, we're

always doing stuff like that.


So you have a thought, then you
have to go research it because

it feels like it's It would be an
interesting way to to handle something.

And what I found was twins,
particularly male twins, are associated

with horses In multiple cultures.

I mean, it's insane.


And one of the one of the aspects of twin
mythology associated Deed with horses,

is that one one twin dies and connects
the living twin to the other world.

And so that it really is It it
really is about having the ability to

access twin forms of consciousness.

And, So now when I teach people
to go into what we might call

shamanic states, we don't associate
it with a particular religion.

I use this horse mythology to talk
about accessing the twin forms of

consciousness, the logical earthly twin
with a set location in time and space

And that otherworldly twin that can move
through walls and move back and forth

through time and space and change form.

And, like, One of the one of the
first journeys we do in workshops

where we exercise this ability is
we have the person become the horse.

We have their Then connect with this twin
form of consciousness and with drumming

and some evocative music, actually have
that twin Human form morphed into a horse,

and then you have an adventure as a horse.

And there's a lot of Shamanic traditions
in horse based cultures where the shaman

becomes a horse during the trans states.

So, I you know, I've even read where some
of the shamans have, like, you know, sort

of rings in their shamanic robe where
Somebody holds a pair of reins as they

go into this shamanic state and expand
outward into that place where they might

also be ridden by form of spiritual, you
know, spiritual presence of some kind.

So, what I think the horses are
doing is offering at Every moment

for anybody to learn how to exercise
this twin form of consciousness

to go into these shamanic states.

They're not They're not just
saying I'm gonna do this for you.

They're saying, let's do this.

Let me show you what you can do.

Let me show you where you can go.

Let me show you how to access this
information you're in yourself.

So I think when we when we have the
horse not just take the journey for

us, but Teach us how to journey in
this way ourselves, then everyone has

the potential to Engage what we would
call a shamanic form of consciousness

for all kinds of reasons without
necessarily feeling like you you're

gonna over identify as a shaman.

But it just seems like the horses are
saying this is a birthright of everybody.

Rupert Isaacson: Yeah.

I So What the Bushmen would better
than you What the Bushmen have always

said to me is, well, Rue about fifty
percent of people or more can heal I.


Access that shamanic state for healing
or for hunting and magic or for

Other things that you might need to
use it for, plant magic and so on.

However, only a a small minority of
people feel a kind of vocational calling

Towards that, and therefore, we'll go
on and go through the, you know, many

decades of rigorous training that are
required in actually doing it, know,

becoming the shaman for the community.

But I think you're right.

And and something which is interesting
from what you say there is you know,

if someone's listening to this I'm
thinking, well, I'm not a horse person.

And I think the point that you're making
is, yeah, but you don't need to be.

yOu don't need to be a dog person to,
Get a benefit from being around dogs.

You do not need to be a musician
to access an altered state

of consciousness with music.

Any of us would know that.

You do not need to be a horse person to
be able to access this through horses.

However, what one does need
because horses are so big and

sometimes, you know, unpredictable,
is that one does need a guide.

One does need a a a guardian, a
safe keeper To help one interact

with a horse if one doesn't have,
quote, unquote, horse knowledge.


Another another Of those
metaphors in our culture.

Horse sense.

If someone has good horse sense, meaning
an ability to to navigate through life

that we we we call it that, don't we?

Horse sense.

And I I I think that there's
a real benefit for that.

If you're listening And
you've come this far.

You're not a horse person.

You think, well, I wasn't gonna listen
to this one, but, well, I've kind of

well, this is all kind of interesting.

Don't think that you need to necessarily
be part of the subculture of people that

actually ride horses in order to do this.

But what you do need to do is is reach
out to somebody like Linda who knows how

to intercede Between you and the horse.

So that, obviously, you're kept physically
safe, but you can then access this.

The word that comes up
from his paradoxical.

We talked about miraculous, but also
the fact that you have to go against

your own instincts and the horse has to
somehow I'll go against their instincts.

And then there's this paradoxical
miracle that happens where we can

meet in the middle and actually do
things together as awesome human.

In your in the Dalvik quiz, you talk
about Pegasus, which is the sort of

ultimate miracle horse, the winged
horse, Which is if if that's not a

metaphor for the ultimate of what
is possible, you know, what isn't.

You know, Pegasus kinda gets
everything right, Even when Zeus

sends the GAD flight to sting him
and he dumps Bellerophon who's riding

him, he it's it's it's Perseus Goes
to the gods and gets a nice home.

It's Bellerophon who falls into the ocean.

But you talk about Pegasus being born
from Medusa's head, which is something

I've noticed before in mythology.

Again, a rather paradoxical thing
that Medusa, who is a Gorgon, who is

regarded as the or presented as the
sort of destructive element of the

feminine, gives birth upon her death
from the hero Perseus, if I'm remembering

it correct, to The miracle horse.

Paradoxically, she gives birth
to this miracle male horse.

Pegasus, what's going on in
that motif, do you think?


Linda Kohanov: Well, there's a lot of
stuff going on there because, also,

The reason the reason she was sort of,
quote, unquote, pregnant to begin with

is She was a really beautiful woman.

And Poseidon, who who in Greek mythology
created the horse, he he created the

horse to impress another goddess,
Demeter, but that's a whole other story.

So Poseidon seduces Medusa And when
she's beautiful and then Medusa,

at a certain point, tells everybody
that she declares that she's the most

beautiful woman even among goddesses.

And then I think it's Venus that gets
pissed off and turns her into the Gorgon.

So that's part of what happened there.


The unfair basically.




And so, so what you have is a
manifestation of of feminine wisdom

in its darkest, most disturbing form,
but already being, In some sense,

impregnated by the god of the sea,
which is associated with the collective

unconscious and emotion and all of that.

And so then when she when her
head is sliced off by Perseus, her

blood drips down to the sea, and
I I guess I think it's where it

touches the See that Pegasus arises.

And so, um, there's all these themes that
are about integration of of Elements,

you know, the collective unconscious,
emotion feminine wisdom, and and Feminine

wisdom in its darkest, most disturbing
form, and all of these things coming

together at a certain point to give
rise to To this kind of redemptive

transformational figure of pen Pegasus.

And Pegasus is the white winged horse
but he's also a companion to the muses.

And the muses are those
demigoddesses who, are in control

of different aspects of the arts.

There's a there's a muse for music and
a muse for poetry and a muse for novel

writing, probably, and a muse for dance.

And so Pegasus often flies
up to Mount Helicon, which

is the mountain of the Muses.

And he hangs out with the Muses a
lot When he's not carrying heroes

around for various purposes.

And there's this fascinating myth
that's lesser known about Pegasus Is

that up on Mount Helicon, he actually
stomps his hoof really hard on the

ground, and this earthquake ensues.

And as the earth opens up, there's this
spring of water that comes out of the

center of the mountain of the Muses,
And that thereafter is known as the

Hippocrene, which means horse spring.

And that water, as it flows down the
mountain, actually becomes nourishing to

Poets and musicians so that people would
would climb up supposedly mythologically

to the mountain of the muses.

And if they were having trouble
with staring at the blank page, You

would go up and you would sit next
to the Hippocrene and drink this

water, and then you would be filled
with this incredible inspiration.

So Pegasus is Associated with a lot of
paradoxes and bringing them together, but

also associated with Making creativity
and inspiration available to humans.

And I've noticed that that is
what happens a lot when people

start interacting with horses.

It's like something in that hard,
logical, earthly life with that

we've been living that's, like,
You know, sort of closed over.

Horses will, like, kinda shake that
loose, sometimes in a very gentle way.

And you feel all of a lot of
times, people end up Just accessing

this and and and having tears,
crying and going, I'm not sad.

And I'm like, no.

It's like the hypocrine rising
up, creating an oasis For

creativity and new growth.

And so horses literally
have that capacity.

Living horses have the capacity To
open up creativity and authenticity in

people and truly change their lives.

Rupert Isaacson: I would agree that,
You know, I think any of us who are

equestrians have had more we're lucky
people because we've we've we've had

access to more ecstasy, Moments of
ecstasy, whether it's oxytocin moving

through our bodies because our hips
are rocking, whether it's because

it's you know, that is mixed with
adrenaline, you know, and a certain

amount of Low level cortisol as we go
into a fence, and then we have this

explosion of energy underneath us.

And one of the things I I I feel
is that the horses lend us power.

And I think a lot of people quite
rightly outside of the equestrian world

and a bit within, Quite accurately
regard a lot of people who are

equestrians as kinda assholes because,
unfortunately, Horses make us superhuman.


They lend us their power.

We're bigger, faster, stronger,
more beautiful, all of these

things until we get off.

And then, of course, we're
just little monkeys again.

But what we can forget is that
the horse has lent us this power.

It's not power that we own.

It's it's we might be able to steward it.

We might be Gifted it, but it's not ours.

But we can behave like it is.

And, of course, with the arrival
of interesting with, you know,

equestrianism in its classical form
into Europe, which happened, you know,

somewhere in the bronze age came in
Through, you know, Anatolia and the

Fertile Crescent in Mesopotamia.

It had come down from the
areas to the north of that.

It the Mediterranean at that time was
not really a horse culture, So, you

know, in terms of like, it had been
up in in those early horse areas.

So, we weren't horse tribes Growing up
in yurts, you know, with a lot of horses

around us, so it had to be imported.

And the Greeks were the first
people to really import it.

When you import something, of course,
it becomes, you know, expensive,

And that means it's for the elite.

And we immediately have this association
of the mounted man in particular As

warrior elite because, of course,
that came in with these Greek city

states, you know, around that time.

It's deep in our consciousness,
but it goes back before.

But there's this interesting
thing about what it can bring

out in us transformationally,
paradox between the worlds, as you

said, riding between the worlds.

As you you're probably aware of the
Norse myth where the gods of Asgard

decide they need a wall around Asgard.

And they're deciding, you know, it's gonna
cost too much and and who can do this.

Well, I don't know if you can do this with
giants, but the giants are our enemies.

How are we gonna do this?

So, anyway, word goes
out and someone shows up.

He's a giant in disguise with a
this big stallion saying, I can

build you this wall In just one
summer with the help of my horse.

And the gods agree, and then they
get a bit worried that he looks

like he's Close to finishing because
then we're gonna have to pay him.

And Loki says, well, let's make sure
we the, you know, the shapeshifter God.

Let's make sure that we mess him up a bit.

So he comes up with the idea
of turning himself into a mare.

And so he he changes across the sexes,
and he lures the stallion away into

the woods and Makes a stallion mate
with him, which, of course, makes the

giant in disguise miss the deadline.

So the giants the the the gods
get their war mostly built for

free, Can finish it themselves.

They've outwitted the
the the the the giant.

But, of course, Loki goes off and
gives birth to an eight legged horse

which becomes Odin's Mount Sleipnir.

And, of course, Thor
realizes what Loki's done.

You had sex with the horse, And teases
him and taunts him and that and Loki

sort of never forgives him for that.

What I that's an interesting historic,
Mythological paradox for me there.

Do you see a relation between that
and the this integration of Female

to male energy that's going on with
Poseidon and Medusa with Pegasus.

Do horses allow those of us who are
feminine to access the masculine,

and they do allow those of us who
are masculine To access the feminine.

Do they do this for us, do you think?

Linda Kohanov: They absolutely do that.

And so I I think that's why I called
my first book The Tao of Equis because

because They seem to be natural
Taoists, and they seem to teach us

things that if you if you go to read
the Sound paradoxical, but when you're

with horses, a lot of the things that
sound paradoxical in the are actually

things that you engage simultaneously
in your interactions with horses.

But another thing that Laozi, whether
he was an actual sage or a group

of sages, they're not really sure.

Laozi Ask us to know the
yang, but keep to the yin.

Know the masculine, but
keep to the feminine.

And whether you're a man or
a woman, you have to be able

to do that to be with horses.

You have to know the yang, the masculine
active principle, the power principle.

You have to know how to be
powerful to be in their presence.

But for the most part, you need
to keep to the yin, the feminine,

feeling, connection, mutual support.

And So when you're with horses,
you actually learn how to do that.

Men learn how to access the yin,
and women learn how to access the

yang and to keep those two In a kind
of dynamic balance, of course you

know, according to what's needed.

So that's that's really why I
called my book The Tao of Equals.

Rupert Isaacson: We've talked about
a horse that is born from a female

male union, I e Perseus, albeit
a bit unfair for poor old Medusa

who, you know, as you say, Was, you
know, simply targeted by Poseidon.

And then we have some a horse that
comes, Ode becomes Odin's horse that

comes from someone changing their
gender at least, you know, for enough

time That they can affect that change.

Let's talk about horses that come
completely from the feminine.

Epona, The Celtic goddess of the horse.

The Romans arrive in Gaul,
we which is now France.

We know that the Romans in the republican
era before they were Christianized,

had a policy Rather like the Ottomans
did, rather like the Persians did,

of when they conquered people,
they would honor the local gods.

They would never force people to,
Adhere to their religions with the

occasional exception of you have to
honor the emperors of god from time

to time as a way of honoring Rome.

But But as long as you did that and paid
your taxes, you know, you can go on.

But the the the Romans, of course, were
famous for bringing cults From from their

conquered countries into their into their
own culture very successfully, like the

culture of Mithras Among officers in
the military which came from Persia.

We we had you know, the cult of
Isis was all over the Roman Empire.

The cult of Epona.

They arrive in Gaul.

They smash it to pieces.

They don't behave well in Gaul at
all, And yet they absolutely embrace

this Celtic goddess of the horse.

What's going on with Epona?

Well, there's

Linda Kohanov: a whole book now
written about the goddess Epona

by a man from The UK, I guess.


I I just got it in.

But from the research that I had done
previously the goddess Epona Well, a

lot of these goddesses or gods that
are associated with horses have the

capacity to change from horse form
to human form back and forth at will.

So sometimes you see the goddess
Epona as a woman, and she's sitting

usually side sideways on a mare.

And there's usually a foal
and some of the dog with her.

And so I'm seeing this As, you know, the
capacity this is the the ultimate natural

horsemanship idea that this goddess is
sitting On this mare that has a foal

at her side in this really vulnerable
position, this very peaceful position,

sometimes with a small dog near them.

And for me, it it really is about
integrating the predatory and non

predatory power through a feminine
archetype, a feminine form of wisdom.

Because The horse is,
you know, not a predator.

So being an herbivore and And even
though it's very powerful, it has a

lot in common with feminine wisdom.

More sensitive, more feeling oriented,
very much Relationship oriented.

I mean, horses are nomadic.

They don't fight over territory.

Relationship is more
important than territory.

So There's a lot of feminine wisdom
expressed in the horse itself.

And then sometimes The goddess
Epona turns into a horse, and

she can turn into a white mare.

And a lot of these, Cults associated
with Epona talk about how they would

actually get take a white mare and
ask this mare questions, questions,

and the horse would answer yes
or no to all kinds of questions.

And I have a theory about
why that's possible.

But in any case the you know, as a
white mare, she's a benevolent force,

But if you ignore your true feelings
and motivations too long she will

sometimes show up in your dreams
as This black mare named Melanipe.

And in that form, she's, like, torturing
you to sort of give up your, You know,

stubborn adherence to things that that are
not true or that are overly egotistical.

So in some sense, she can turn into what
would be known as a nightmare to come

and torture you and make you make you
out of your Complacency in your egotism.

So there's all kinds of
interesting aspects to opponent.

But I think if somebody's really
interested in this to look for for

the book, and I don't have it handy.

It's downstairs.

I just got it.

And wildly enough the reason why I ended
up Coming to my attention is that somebody

read the book and told me that I was cited
in there as a modern priestess of Epona.

And I'm like, Wow.

That's a that's a wild thing
to say, particularly since

this author never contacted me.

So, Is this,

Rupert Isaacson: By Mackenzie
Cook, Epona, Hidden Goddess of

the Celts by Mackenzie Cook?


Linda Kohanov: it.

That's it.



That's it.

And so, you know, I I do feel at
times like I have been possessed

by these glowing archetypes.

There's also the mare
headed goddess Demeter.

There's a whole story about her
turning into the mare headed goddess.

And I I talk about the mare headed
goddess as also an a myth associated

with transformation, particularly
from trauma, Particularly from rape.

And you can access this essay
about the mare headed goddess in

my book, Way of the Horse, Equine
Archetypes for Self Discovery.

It's a book of wisdom cards.

It's a deck of wisdom cards
with significant essays.

So if you look in that book, I think
it's essay number thirty five or

something on The Marehead a Goddess.

And she's a transformational figure
for how transform trauma into strength.

And she gives birth to twins as a
result of this rape situation she had.

So there's this twin element there again.

But there were times where I felt
like the goddess Epona or the mare

headed goddess, like, ride me hard
and possess me and make me give up

things and do things and write Things.

And they ride me hard and put me away wet.

You know?

It's like, you know, please just may
I now have a chance to live my life?

You know?

So, I thought cathartic.


Actually, like, cathartic Like, these
forces coming in, I I I really feel

like these goddesses are as archetypes,
they're like nonmaterial Forms matrixes

of wisdom that in that can engage us
Through their stories and myths about

them, but, also, you can really feel
sometimes, like, that matrix of wisdom

is coming in and act you can have a
direct feeling of being engaged by it.

And even I don't ever feel, like,
possessed in the sense of losing my

own personal memories, But I have felt
in the sense of feeling ridden by them

in a certain direction that I didn't
really feel like going in right now,

that I didn't consider to be practical.

And they wouldn't leave me alone until
I actually went in that direction.

And then after I do whatever
it is they want then they kinda

leave me alone for for a while.

And I wanna I didn't think I was
qualified to write a book, Whatever

it was going to be about horses.

But I just kept being, like,
possessed and having this feeling

of write the Write the book.

Write the story.

Write the story.

And I think maybe these matrixes of
wisdom, these mythic Matrix of wisdom

from the other world are looking for
people all the time who might be receptive

Just to a piece of wisdom they want
to bring into the modern world again.

And they some people are receptive
but they don't have the skills to

pull it off, And some people aren't
receptive and and turn it down.

And for me, I think the thing that
happened that made it possible to be

possessed by these Equine archetypes
of wisdom is that I had the ability

to write about things that are not
normally talked about because I had

been a music critic Where I had to write
about things that are beyond words.

And so, um, and I was also
completely overtaken by the

magic and the mystery of horses.

And so I think there was a confluence of
a calling that a lot of people received

and just my capacity to be able to pull
off A certain level of getting this wisdom

Rupert Isaacson: out.

What when did you first become aware of a
certain feeling of possession in this way?

Linda Kohanov: I did talk
about it in the Dow of Aguas.

I was spending a lot of time with the
horses and I was still a music critic

at the time, and I would just I would
just come to life when I went out with

the horses, and I was going into this
depressive state writing about music.


And, I mean, it was a great career to be
a music critic and a Music journalist.

I got flown all over the world.

I met all kinds of famous people.

They were sending me their CDs.

They were sucking it up to me
because they wanted good reviews.

It's how I met my Steve Roach, who's very
well known in the ambient music field.

And but at a certain point, I I
would have to drink an entire pot of

coffee just to write a music review.

And yet when I went to the barn, I
would have endless energy to ride horses

in hundred degree heat, and I would
be filled with all these ideas, and I

would be writing these endless journals.

And so at a certain point, I was,
like, following that energy more

and more because it made no sense.

I got my first horse in my thirties.

It didn't make sense for me to become
Professional rider or think about going

to the Olympics or something like that.

And so I just started
having all these adventures.

And then I started having these
where I felt like I was haunted.

And it would just be it would not
only be a feeling of Something else

surrounding me, some other kind
of energy surrounding me and even

disrupting my coordination at times.

But I would even have horses
that would suddenly spook when I

would feel this energy and there
would be nothing Happening in the

environment, and I could just be on
the ground hanging out with them.

So I ended up going to this
intuitive counselor, and I and I

do talk about this in the book.

Her name is Patricia Hirsch, and
she had a PhD in psychology, but

she had also studied shamanism,
particularly with Hawaiian Shamans,

Hawaiian medicine women in particular.

And so I just thought, you know,
Either either she's gonna put me on

medication or check me into a mental
ward or whatever, but I'm just gonna

go in and see what's going on, you
because it was driving me crazy.

It was keeping me up at night.

I was I was becoming a nervous wreck.

And, So I was just gonna be coy about
this for a few sessions, but just

something about the way she was.

I just blurted out, You know, I'm
here because I seem to be haunted.

And she goes, oh, okay.

Well, let's take a look at that.

You know?

And I said, I'm not really sure whether
this thing is a Product of my imagination.

Am I going crazy, or is
it an external force?

Am I really being haunted?

And if I am, is it Is it
benevolent or mannevolent?

I just really don't know.

And she said, yes.

You know, these are very serious concerns.

You know, I once let a troubling
entity in my life, And and it's more

trouble than you'd ever wanna have.

I mean, she just talked so
normally about this experience.

And so Going through this experience,
she helped me access my own intuition

and connection to this force.

And at first, we were
like, Is this a human?

Is this it seemed to be awakened
by and oriented toward the horses.

So I'm like, is this You know?

And I I have a background from Ukraine,
and I have, you know, probably even

some Mongolian blood in me too.

So maybe I have, You know, ancestors
that were in the early horse

cultures in that region, possibly.


I'm like, is this an ancestor?

You know?

But what what we as we kept going deeper
and deeper and deeper into it, we realized

that it was that complex of Horse wisdom
that I now call the horse ancestors.

And so it was it was like the
collective wisdom of the horses.

And and I learned how to access it, and
I learned how to use it in different

ways and to teach it to others.

And I also learned how to use
it even for problem solving.

So it can even act as, like, a
translation program between the

horse mind and the human mind if
you access the horse ancestors.

So These are some things that I teach in
workshops and some things I talk about in

my books, but I always put it in in the
perspective of the fact that it's It's

exemplary of how horses are so that that's
It's an embodied spirituality so that

you must be fully present and capable of
being in this world and, at the same I'm

accessing these other forms of wisdom.

Over time, I've seen that horses I
can't tell whether they're really

good at moving back and Fourth between
these twin forms of consciousness,

the fully present in this world and
spiritual sources, let's say, Or if

they are in both simultaneous tell.

But either way, they are helping
us to learn how to do that too.


I would

Rupert Isaacson: I would I I agree.

I think I find that when one
is around horses in any way,

Riding with them, doing it.

What is one doing but solving problems?

You know, when you're going across when
you're simply balancing yourself on

on the horse is pro solving a problem.

Getting across country on a
horse is solving a problem.

Figuring out how to get the poo through
the mud onto the wheelbarrow so that

the Wilburra doesn't tip and tip all
the poo into the mud and get it up onto

the top of the muck keep and do that.

That's a problem.

And and one is constantly Faced with
these interesting but entirely absorbing

Because if you don't solve this problem,
you can't get to the next thing of where

you're trying to get to with the horse.

As you say, horses carry us.

I want to bring you back
to something you said.

You you said when when people were
consulting these white mayors in

in the Gaulish Celtic shrines.

And the they would ask the
mare almost like an oracle.

You said you had some theories about how
they might have interpreted What the horse

did or didn't do for getting their answer.

What tell tell tell me your theory there.

What what do you feel was going on?


Linda Kohanov: it actually
doesn't take that long to explain.

So here's the thing.

As I mentioned earlier That there's been
studies that you can read about in the

book Social Intelligence by Daniel Goleman
that show that when you're Suppressing an

emotion, and I would say also a thought
or a perspective or a desire or whatever.

When you suppress something like that, it
Takes extra energy to hold it down, and

it causes your blood pressure to rise.

And it all causes the blood pressure of
others interacting with you to rise also.

That's been proven.

This happens to people
unconsciously all day long.

When you make something that's
unconscious conscious, Whether it's an

emotion that you're finally saying, yes.

I actually am afraid, or if
you're saying, I actually don't

want to become an attorney.

I'd rather be an artist.

Whatever it is, Whenever you bring
up the thing that's been suppressed,

it causes your blood pressure
to drop even before you've Even

before you solved it in any way.

You know?

That's why when the young lady who
was crying, the horse walked away.

And when she was Accessing the anger
underneath it, the horse came back to

her and surrounded her and comforted her.

How did the horse tell the
difference between those two?

And I think it has to do with
this nervous System activation.

When you're suppressing something
causes your blood pressure to rise.

When you access it consciously,
your blood pressure drops, And it's

gonna drop in the horse too, and
the horse will often show that.

I see this.

You've seen it, where when a person
accesses an authentic feeling or

thought Or calling, the horse will lower
their head and lick and chew and sigh.


I see it all the time.

So I think that's what was going on Okay.

Is that people would come and ask
The worst questions about and it

was always yes or no questions.

And they would say the horse would
indicate through their behavior

whether it was a yes or a no.

So I think a no would just be a horse
standing there looking stoically,

you know, or maybe walking away.

And a yes would be the worst lowering
their head and licking and chewing.

Rupert Isaacson: Yeah.

Maybe yawning.



I I could see that.

Here's another question
back to the idea of paradox.

So goddess Epona as you say,
depicted usually in a peaceful Manna.

Why would then the goddess Epona get
co opted by the Roman military To the

point that pretty much every cavalry
unit where they found Archaeological

evidence that there was a cavalry
barracks in a certain place.

They always had after after the
conquest of Gaul, they always had

an altar to Epona, And they also
would have an altar to the spirits

of the Of the training ground.

If you like the we we have this even in
American high schools, like school spirit.

Like, the but they they
regard them as actual spirits.

And right near where I live in
Germany, they're actually and up

on Hadrian's Wall in England too.

They found round pens From Roman
cavalry units where they were, you

know, training the horses almost
always with altars to Epona close by.

So they've now taken this feminine Thing.

I guess you're right.

There's also the the darker feminine, the
the black man who might come psychically.

But then male, and we know that
the Roman military was hyper male.

Energy takes this and co opts
it for the use of cavalry.

And in their universe, they they
do it successfully To the point

that they promote it as a motif,
you know, through the regiments.

What do you think is going on there?

Again, we're we're talking about
paradoxical natures and forming a yin

and yang, but that's really quite almost
quite violent, quite a violent co opting.

And why would the horse ancestors
or the The eponymous spirit, if

you like, allow that to happen if
we believe that there's a certain

animus In these motifs within yeah.

What what what's your theory there?

I'd be interested to know.


Linda Kohanov: The Romans believed in
gods and goddesses and would often reach

out to a certain goddess for protection.

I think that's pretty
much all they were doing.

You know, protection for
not just themselves, but

protection for their horses.

She would certainly be
protecting the horses.



So they would be invoking the
goddess for protection for For

themselves and their horses.

And the reason why Agadus I from
my perspective, I mean, I can't I

can't really speak for something
that complex and spiritually

oriented and ancient beyond belief.

But the feeling is is that, you know,
you guys are running through your

adolescent fantasies of of power.

And If you invoke me and you start
to listen to me and you start

to open up to me, I'm going to
help shift that and balance that.

So, you know, um, I would say that that
would that might be her motivation.

It would be, first of all,
to truly protect the horses.

You know?

So if they're invoking her and
putting up you know, tributes

to her and statues to her.

She's, at the very least,
gonna protect the horses.

There's no question.

But I think also this feminine
archetype of Transformation.

She's a she's a an
archetype of transformation.

And so what she would be doing is seeing
how what an in she can get to to help to

Rupert Isaacson: ship things.


I I could when you were saying
that war goddess mounted war

goddess came into my mind.

She was the Valkyries.

You know, the Valkyries come
down To choose the slain

from the Norse battlefields.

If you died with your sword in
hand, they'll take you up on their

horses to Valhalla, to Odin's hall.

I sometimes think that, actually, my
wife, Ileana, moonlights for Odin on

Sundays sometimes and goes around the
same battlefields and Takes them up

to it, but she's a bit dark on the
subject, but I suspect she does do it.

And There is a warrior goddess
who you're not invoking the

Valkyries for success in battle.

You're invoking the Valkyries
for transformation from the

battlefield to the next stage.

I wonder if and, of course, as you I
think you're dead right that if you're

a cavalry unit, you would absolutely
want protection for your horses.

Otherwise, you can't operate.


If your horses are Not doing well.

You your your your military
kit is not working.

But beyond that, if you're a cavalryman,
You have a connection to your horses.

So there's always going to be
an aspect of the feminine there

whether you like it or not.

There's going to be.

Is what Epona is doing in in
that regard a sort of sneaky way

in to say to these guys, look.

You may or may not have even chosen to
be here because God knows every soldier

that shows up on a battlefield is not
elected to be there by any means at all.

But, yeah, here you are.

Let's make the best of the situation,
and at the very least, Convey you to

the to the next world to the or to the
next stage in a way that brings peace.

Is it, again, is it paradox?

Is it the peacemaker
within the war machine?

Is that what Epona's doing?

Linda Kohanov: I would say the latter.

That's that's what resonates inside
of me, and that's what causes my

hard to expand when you say that.



And, you know, they're the horses
themselves appear to be, you

know, They it's like they've
been waiting for centuries for

us to work out our adolescent
fantasies of power and conquest.


And and, You know, I happen to say that
now that they're no longer obliged to work

in our fields and carry us to war, they're
finally free To do something arguably

more important, and I believe it was their
mission from the beginning, work on us.

And So and I think part of that involves
rebalancing, helping us know the yang,

but keep to the yin, as Laozi would say.

Bring the feminine wisdom back in.

Understand how to be powerful, but
also be nonpredatory at the same time.

That's a huge piece of horse wisdom.

And you know, that physical, mental,
spiritual, and emotional balance that you

learn when you become a really fine rider,
This is like them working on you for sure.

You know, you you you transform
from the inside out if you

become a truly great rider.

And it's just it it it is almost
like you know, when they talk

about the horse in multiple myths
as being a gift from the gods.

It's like they they were a gift
from the gods, and we didn't

really know what to do with it.

And and yet they've been accompanying
us for for centuries And enduring

our ridiculous exploits, but always
there, always there, always there

just waiting For us to be open to
this new form of consciousness that

they would love for us to step into.

Rupert Isaacson: It's it's very
interesting, you know, with the the

method that we've evolved working with
autistic children, which we call horse

boy method, which evolved Simply out of
me observing that when I had my son in

front of me when he was very young and
he was nonverbal, the more collected,

Softly collected the rhythm of the
horse, the more communication I got.

And I didn't know why until I went to
talk to, Neuroscientists about it and

have them explain that what was going
on was hip rocking, creating oxytocin,

oxytocin being The feel good hormone
calming down the nervous system, but

also the hormone of communication.

And he was just being flooded
with this and, oh my gosh.


That's wonderful.

But what's intriguing to me, again,
paradoxically, is that the training system

that we use to bring this, Collection,
this movement of the center of gravity

under where the rider sits with the hind
legs coming forward To create this hip

rocking, blissful feeling is, of course,
training the horse for the light calorie.

And and it occurred to me that
we were using a system that was

designed to harm your fellow man.

Now because of this oxytocin byproduct
to heal your fellow man, But the

horse was an innocent either way.

The horse could lend its power to one
whichever way one decided to go with that.

And this humbled me massively because
it made me realize how Generous horses.


And I I wonder what do
you feel about this?

We we we talked about higher self earlier.

I feel that this generosity that
horses have with humans Allowing

us to, as you say, our silly monkey
adolescent fantasies, you know,

projected through Millennia of
conquest, not just a few years of our

human history, and yet they've been
patient with us, you know, and given

us all this bliss and all this joy.

Do you feel that they bring out
generosity in the human heart?

Linda Kohanov: I do.

And, also, equanimity.

You know, this this ability to
be present with what's happening

And to move through it with some
level of agility I mean, horses are

very much like Jay Krishnamurti.

He was a famous sage who
was discovered in India.

And, Later in life, he went around the
world doing lectures on mindfulness and

various forms of spirituality and was very
revered as almost Supernatural teacher.

And he was at a lecture one
time in Europe, I think it was.

And People were asking questions.

And finally, he said, you know,
do you wanna know my secret?

And everybody was like, oh, good.

We signed up for the right lecture
because he's gonna tell us his Secret.

And he said, I don't mind what happens.

That's an extreme state of equanimity.

No matter what's It's happening.

I'm present with it.

I can but, also, I I feel like it's
it can also be seen as a plan words.

I don't mind what's happening Would
be I'm not exclusively in the thinking

brain about it either because his his
a lot of his teachings was about going

beyond words, going into the Power
of what you can learn by being silent

and how you can listen in silence.

And so when you see horses,
They have more of that attitude.

I don't mind what happens.

I don't mind if you're angry.

I just want you to know that you are.

I don't mind that you're, you
know, that you're traumatized.

I let me let me help you
Calm your nervous system.

You know?

I don't mind that Rowan is autistic.

I don't mind that Rowan is
throwing these tantrums.

Let me come over.

I'm with you.

I'm with you.

I don't mind it.

You're okay, Rowan.

You know?

And I just feel like they
do that all the time.

And so they show how The the
supreme generosity of horses

is is godlike in a way in which
there's nourishment for everybody.

Everybody's welcome on the Earth.

Everybody's welcome.

We're we're working with you.

We're trying to help you out here,
But we're not taking sides here.

And a lot of people recently are
constantly making the case that God is

on their side and not the other side.

But, you know, maybe God is more
horse like in the sense that yeah.

So I'm I'm Leading Romans on my back
here, and I'm, you know, with the Buddha,

and I'm, You know, helping somebody
who's very poor plow their fields.

And and the whole time, just waiting
for people to wake up and notice And not

using them as tools, but to say, hey.

Can I learn some of that equanimity?

Can I learn how to be authentic
And not mind what happens in the

paradoxical sense of that word?


Rupert Isaacson: put.


As we approach the end of
this conversation, because

I'd like to have you back on.

I've got a lot of questions
that are coming To mine.

So if you'd be I could love to come

Linda Kohanov: back on.

I'd love talking with you.

Rupert Isaacson: I'd
love to have a round two.

And and there's gonna be a
ton of questions from people.

And I've got plenty of my own, which
I I just wanna keep going with it.

Here here's a question, though, back
to the Live Free, Ride Free idea.

You when you were a little
girl Dreaming about horses.

By the way, what state was that?

What state were you brought
up in where you would Ohio.

You're in Ohio, and Then you would
you would sneak off to where this

trainer had a yard but you didn't
find your way to horse ownership

until you were in your thirties.

But you found your way there because you
gave yourself a certain economic stability

through music, which a lot of people would
say is Itself you know, not an easy way

to find your way to economic stability.

What allowed you To imagine
life and a career with the

arts And then with the horse.

And bring that to reality.

This started before horses were
reaching out through you or

perhaps they were the whole time.

But, yeah, there's there'll
be listeners out there going,

how do I become Linda Konov?

Or how do I become my own
version of Linda Konov?

What would you say to them?

What what what what's the most important
stages of the journey that bring you

from the little girl Dreaming to the
lady sitting being interviewed today.

Linda Kohanov: I think part of it was
a trajectory that feels designed for

me to develop some Skills even though
it didn't seem to have my own it it was

like things happen that were beyond my
wildest dreams when I sort of submitted

to Certain directions that didn't feel
like the right direction at times.


And one of those was that Yeah.

And just feeling like you're you're
being guided in some sense even though it

seems like you're being taken off track.

And I realized that those times
that I got taken off Track.

I had to go off track and learn something
that I needed later for my true purpose.

And one thing I mean, the reason why
I ended up being a music major is It's

because my parents thought it was more
reasonable to to be a music major than

it was to do anything with horses.

So they were, like, picking
the lesser of two evils.

It's like, You know?


Get get her interested in music.

And also, I got a full scholarship
in college to be a music major.

And they were like, please
take the scholarship.

You know?

And and then I became a music critic and
then met my husband through through music.

And, And then what happened was,
interestingly enough, music and

horses have always been tied together.

So to buy my first Arabian mare, Rasa,
who became my greatest teacher and

the one who really started this work
I had to sell my viola and most of

my CD collection to By that horse.

And so then I had all these
adventures with her, and then I got

an advance to write the Dao of Equis.

And so when I got that advance,
I used it to buy another viola.

And then through all of these years,
learning how to be with the horses

and interact with the horses and
dance with the horses and breathe

with the horses and learn all of
these stress reducing techniques.

It actually brought me back
into being able to play and

compose at a whole new level.

So the horses and the music have always
been interacting in this very odd way,

and it's fun now to To be in a field
where I'm bringing the two together.

We just did a workshop last week, a four
day workshop called Not a Brahma, the

universe's sound, And it brings in some
of the mystical aspects of music, the

self development and healing aspects of
music along with work with the horses.

And there were mostly people there
who didn't know anything about horses,

and they were amazed at how the horses
opened them up and shifted things So

that they could actually step forward
and play at a much more beautiful level.

Even if they weren't musicians
themselves, Somehow the work with

the horses gave them even the courage
to begin to to make music together.

So somehow the two are truly
Interacting all the time for me.


Rupert Isaacson: I guess I guess
what lies at the at the core of

Riding and training horses' rhythm.


We have to be able to
match the horse's rhythm.

We have to be able to it's an
emotional rhythm, but there also

has to be a physical rhythm.


One two three four for the walk, one
two one two for the trot, one two

three one two three for the cancer.

And these have to be predictable
enough to our training system that

we can then do things with them and
not be surprised by arrhythmic things

that might, as you say, leave us in
the dust or, at the very least, Break

the activity we're trying to do.

And if one thinks of all these musical
motifs around horses the the shaman's

drum, you know, the round drum, the in
Celtic traditions, which is A galloping

horse Baroque music, which was designed
to be Done to these equestrian shows

with the horses, you know, performing
in this way in front of Versailles and

these other, you know, palaces of Europe.

The music and horses, it's it's been
a concurrent theme and rhythm forever.

Yet at the same time, What comes
in what comes into my head is this

also this relationship with horses
and dream And the imagination.

And it resonates with me very
much that there was this little

girl in Ohio . Who was dreaming.

Although I can absolutely see the
Connection between music and rhythm

with the human horse connection
and the adventure that we've gone

on over the centuries with that.

It seems to me that this vehicle
horses lending themselves to

our dreams, our aspirations, our
fantasies, our Well, for good or ill.

But, yeah, this thing of dream.

And there there was this little
girl in Ohio Who was dreaming.

And she was dreaming of these animals
that seemed to have this ability to Bring

one into dream and then bring one out
of dream with dreams somewhat manifest.

Is this something which if someone
was to come on your courses,

for example, they could learn
how to tap into it and, Harness.

There's another horse motif.

Linda Kohanov: Yes.



That's that's that's The purpose of what
I teach I mean, I don't really I mean, I

I teach emotional and social intelligence
and leadership skills to equestrians that

help their Riding and training at times.

But most of what I do is we work with
horses to teach advanced human development

skills to people whether or not they've
ever thought about horses before.

And and we also bring in, you know,
creativity, and we bring in emotional

intelligence skills and And leadership
skills because, you know, here's the

thing, is that once you access your true
calling and Your authentic goal in life.

A lot of times to manifest that,
you need to be able to step into

a leadership role If you're gonna
manifest it in any meaningful way.

And so a lot of times, we teach also
some some leadership skills through

working with horses so that people who
dream big dreams and access those dreams

learn how to then and and be a leader
in maybe a new field they're creating

or a new company they're creating.

So and that was one of the things
that, you know, was kind of disturbing

to me when when I wrote these books,
About what horses have to teach people

is that now all of a sudden, I I'm
in I'm in a leadership role if I'm

gonna take it to any certain level.

I need staff people.

I need, you know, Promotional
people, I need when people come to

see me, I need to be able to manage
whatever they're going through.

And but the horse has taught me how to
be a leader in a completely different

way than the way you normally see
it in a conquest oriented mentality.

So so there's so much to learn from them,
and I'm just so excited to be in this

field that I actually Helped to bring
into form just like you with your horse

boy programs, and, certainly, Rowan was
was there to help that Happened as well.

And and I feel that way about my horse,
Rasa, who actually She was wounded.

She had a condition in her right back
stifle that made it hard to ride her.

And because I was knocked off
my high horse and had to relate

to her on the ground, That's
what created this whole field.

So a lot of times, it's someone who
appears to be wounded that is actually

the one who's leading us into a Whole
new area of experience and innovation.

I would

Rupert Isaacson: agree.

The wounded weather light shines in.




I and I I've had a couple of horses
that could no longer be ridden who

taught me how to work in entirely
different ways And allowed me to see

that as metaphors for other areas of
my life where perhaps I was stuck,

only seeing things in a certain way.

So listen, Linda.

People are gonna want to know the
books, and they're gonna want to know

how to come on one of your courses.

And I presume they're gonna have to travel
to Arizona to come on one of your courses.

Is that right?

Or can they do them they can
also do them online, I think.

So talk us Yes.


What what people need to know, what should
they read, in what order, and then how

do they Come on one of your courses.

How do they contact you?

How do they do it online?

How do they do it in person?

Linda Kohanov: Well, luckily, I I have
trained instructors all over the world,

and there are Honequest instructors, or
We also have a leadership model called

the five roles of a master herder.

So some of them are master herder
instructors or Power of the

herd instructors that have more
of a leadership orientation.

Eponaquest instructors are really more
of a personal development orientation.

And, also, I was able to create
these online courses so that, you

know, if you can't travel anywhere
right now or you you're just

not ready to go out with Horses.

You can learn these skills with
inspirational stories and videos from

the horses, but it's really about
taking it directly to the human world.

So my online courses are available on
a website called linda kohanov dot com.

And The other courses that are about
doing workshops would mostly be on

my Website, eponaquest dot com, named
after the quest I've been on with the

goddess Epona, eponaquest dot com.

And you'll see not only workshops that
I'm doing on there, but you'll see a

list of instructors throughout the world.

And you can con you can find somebody in
your region and call that, Contact that

person and see if they're doing private
or group work or workshops anytime soon.

sO If, you know, if you're if you're
really curious about which way you

should go I would say just I can
I can give you my direct Email?

And you can always just write
a note and just say, hey.

This is my interest.

What do you think I should do?

I'm located here.

How do I you know, what do you what would
you recommend for me to sign up for?

So I email?


Direct email.

It's it's named after my horse, Rasa.

So that's r as in Ralph, a as in
apple, s as in Sam, a as in apple.

Rasa At eponaquest dot com.

So that's e, p as in Paul, o, n
as in Nick, a q u e s t dot com.

Rasa at eponaquest dot com.

And you can go to epona quest dot
com and just kinda, like, look at

the workshops that are coming up.

And then the online courses
are at linda kohanev dot com.

But if you go to upon request dot com,
there is a link there that will take

you to that online course page too.


Rupert Isaacson: Super.

Now I'm gonna I'm gonna read those off
again in a moment so people who didn't

have a pen handy can hear them again.

So don't worry.

People don't panic.

The books in order, Tower of Equest.


Linda Kohanov: riding

Rupert Isaacson: between the worlds.

Riding Then between the worlds.



Linda Kohanov: Then Way of
the horse way of the horse.

It's a deck of horse wisdom cards with
a significant book that goes with it.


Then the power of the herd,
and then finally, the five

roles of a master herder.

The five roles.


Of a master herder.

And this is actually something you and
I might wanna have fun talking about

because I would love to hear your
experiences with these nomadic tribes,

the horse tribes, and the reindeer tribes.

I took this leadership model from
studying those nomadic pastoral cultures

throughout the world in different ways,
and I saw that they Actually use five

roles of power and social influence to
to deal with these animals that many of

whom are loose quite a bit of the time.



And so Leader leader is just one of five
roles of power and social influence.

And so I learned that if we're going to
influence It's groups of free empowered

people as all the old fences of social
controls are falling down, that we could

actually learn a lot from this model
based on those nomadic pastoralists.

I mean, We could have such a conversation
on that, and I would be asking

you a bunch of questions for sure.


Rupert Isaacson: love it.

There's there's someone else I'm
thinking of that I I would Involve in it.

Here's my friend, Jumanda
Haklebone, who is from Botswana.

He's he's Bushman.

And that particular clan in the Central
Kalahari Game Reserve are known for

their horsemanship, and they're known
for having sort of adopted and co opted

horses in the same way that, say, the
Comanche did and really created a sun

bushman horse culture To the point
that I took in fox hunting in Virginia.

And he could ride anything, and he could
bring you know, I had a lot of, you

know, White blue blooded fox hunters.

They're going, really?

We're gonna give the horse to this guy?

Like, believe me, he's gonna bring
this horse in better than it went out.

And they absolutely didn't how they access
the shamanic and how they how they Co

opted all their wild herbs that they use
for all their other medicinal purposes

for the horse before they really knew
that even without really knowing the horse

and how they created this horse culture.

It's it's it's interesting stuff.

But, look, there's so many
questions just generally.

I I think we gotta have a a round two.

Linda Kohanov: Absolutely.

And if you wanna bring your friend in on
this too, I mean, that would be thrilling.

It would.

I mean,

Rupert Isaacson: we might not be able to
get him on live, but maybe what we can do

is post some questions to And and and get
him get him there because who knows where

he is in the Kalahari at any given time.

I see.


He'll usually he'll usually answer
a WhatsApp at a certain point

when he's At a place where he
has it's it's it's it's it's an

extraordinary world we live in now.

You have, you know, people living
effectively hunter gatherer

lifestyles with cell phones.

You know?

It's it's We're at an interesting
crossroads of our culture.


So for everybody listening, start with
the Tower of Equus, Then it's riding

between the worlds, then way of the
horse, then the power of the herd, And

then the five roles of a master herder.

If you want the online
courses, linda kohanov dot com.

L I n d a k o h a n o v dot com.

If you're looking for the live
courses, whether in your area or

in Arizona where she is, Hopefully.

I'm sure there's a big waiting list.

Eponaquest dot com, e p
o n a q u e s t dot com.

And if you wanna send her your questions
r a s a, rasa, At epona quest dot com.

Is there anything that you'd like to
add before we close out round one?

Linda Kohanov: No.

I'm just so grateful to be
able to connect with you.

And your your story has been so moving
to me over the years, and I had an

opportunity just to meet up with you
at At Warwick Schiller's conference.

And I got to meet Rowan, and I think
you might have seen how in shock I

was at what An outstanding young man
he's turned out to be in so many ways.

So I found that so moving, and I'm
just so happy to to meet up with you

and have these great discussions.

So thank you so

Rupert Isaacson: much.

Well, thank you.

You know, that that makes me
think, actually, you know, for

round two, we should absolutely
ask Rowan Some questions.

That would be fun.

Because he has he does have a really
interesting connection to horses.

While by no means being The
obsessive horseman that I am at

all, and yet he has this connection.

It's it's to and not just a horse.

It's all animals.

It's it's really extraordinary.

So, yeah, maybe we should think up
some questions, and and he might

even come on live, see how he feels.

He'll actually be yeah, he'll be
he'll be here in a couple of days.


Linda, I'm so grateful.

I I know that I'm gonna be emailing
you to Come out to Arizona.

I can't I would love that.

So please let's talk about that.

And, Obviously, if you come want to come
to Germany and play with our ponies here

in the forests of Hessen, please do.

Linda Kohanov: mAybe in a Maybe in a
year or two, I might come back to Europe.

So Please.

Rupert Isaacson: Door
is wide open anytime.

buT listen.

We I'm very grateful.

This has been extremely
informative inspirational.

I know that All of the listeners, whether
they're horse people or not, will have

walked away from hearing you with The
Doorways Between the Worlds opened.

So I thank you for that.

Thank you.

And I look forward to the next time.

Me too.

This is the hardest thing.

I'm gonna hit that red button,
but let's let's talk further and

try to arrange the round too.

And everybody who's listening, By
all means, send your questions to me.

By all means, send your questions
to Linda, and we will endeavor

to answer them on round two.

Linda, thank you.



Thank you.

thank you for joining us.

We hope you enjoyed today's podcast.

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Ep 9: Linda Kohanov - Epona Quest
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