Venus DreamWalker and Tina Barnes sharing a moment in and out of time.

Photo Credit Eila Zylak

From Tina Barnes:

I have been deeply involved with horses for most of my sixty plus years as a recreational rider/owner as well as a coach, trainer, breeder and more recently an equine behaviour modification specialist.

Even more recently I have been studying intently the effects of large hearted horses on clients who visit our healing facility at Thirteen Moons Farm.

My research is proving to me and to others that these incredible horses have predictable ways or methods of moving energy in order to bring about balance and grounding and therefore healing to our clients.

At The International Academy of Medicine Horses we are able to share these teachings and techniques with therapists so that they can deepen their understanding of how and why therapy horses are able to have amazingly profound effects on clients.


2014 proved to be an extraordinary year for me.

I learned more than I ever have before about the power of the horses I am honored to work with.

I learned much about the people who are drawn to work with this healing energy and I learned about fears that can accompany the desire to be close to them.

Last year seemed to be the year for facilitators from other equine therapy models to want to come to see how we do things here. They had heard we are different and that our clients say remarkable things about us.

They had heard that some of our clients came from outside the normal or expected range such as those coming from mainstream educational and medical professions.

They had heard that people were coming from great distances to experience what we offer here at Thirteen Moons Farm, The Way of The Medicine Horse.

One of my ‘savant’ gifts is to notice small details. I ‘feel’ emotions of people and animals around me. I am also able to see the bigger picture.

A common denominator among most medical professionals was that they had reached a point of needing to know more about healing their personal wounds. Some had been experiencing symptoms that their peers could not explain, or in some cases, the explanations were terrifying.

Educators came to learn more about being helpful on an energetic level in their classrooms, how not to burn out…and in more than one case how to move into other educational arenas that were more in alignment with who they are and what they have to offer.

Some came to learn about how autistic people see and feel their world. We talked about how important it is not to fake a smile when inside you are feeling anything but happy. How congruency is key to developing a relationship with autisitcs, and how fear will push them away.

Horses can teach us so much about these things.

What I noticed from sitting and talking with the equine therapists who visited was that most of them had come up through the world of horses carrying many fears about the horse.

Many rules applied to working with horses in general and more specifically with clients.

Horses are viewed as amazing healing partners; however they are dangerous and unpredictable.

Many of the models called for ‘round pen work’ or ‘reflective work’ wherein the client learns to control the horse, and the ideal outcome is that the client leaves the session feeling empowered or the client can see himself mirrored by the horse and can look at what is going on within them.

After many years of studying and documenting horse human interactions both inside and outside of the healing arenas what I can say for sure is that healing cannot occur where fear lives, nor can it occur when one is overpowering or gaining control over another. The model simply expands on what I call the ‘kick the dog’ syndrome. It feels good at the time we kick the dog, but given time remorse will inevitably set in.

In the case of the ‘natural horsemanship, round pen work’ the immediate result is an overall feeling of wellbeing and should the study of the model end there it would be deemed a successful one.

My experience has taught me that it is a given outcome that the client at some point down the road will reflect on his ‘control’ of the horse and in simple terms crash and burn.

When the client reaches a point where he realizes fully that the horse is a sentient emotional spiritual being who has given his life to healing other species a break down occurs.

Being in the energy field of the horse kick starts an energetic spiritual awakening. Those who are described as fragile must be supported by those who are aware of this process and who can assist the journey through the completion of the process.

Witnessing these things over my career of several decades and especially this last year has been the catalyst for creating the International Academy of Medicine Horses.

We live the process.

Tina