Rosalyn W. Berne, Ph.D
Author, Scholar, Equine Empath


January, 2018

Some of the outdoor faucets have thawed and are flowing again. The floating blue ball atop the automatic waterer is free of the ice that locked it tight in the single-digit cold snap that greeted us with the New Year. It looks as if we’ll have to find more hay, or we’ll run out before the grass has begun to grow again.  
People warned us when we put our urban home on the market, heading for a farm life with horses. “Aren’t you getting too old for that?” some asked. “Don’t you realize how much work it will be?” others declared. “Horses are expensive!” was a warning we heard repeatedly. Yes, and yes, and yes again. There are days when I wonder why we aren’t living in a nice condo back in the city, strolling to the coffee shops and movie theaters, and saving money for our retirement. And then another day breaks on Willow Oak Farm. We draw back the curtains of our bedroom to see Raven, Nash and Ruby standing by the fence, waiting for us, and my heart smiles. Yes, it’s been cold out there. Still, I put on my layers of wool, and pull on my boots, knowing that when I get out to the dry-lot, Nash will look at me with those handsome-boy, dreamy eyes, and remind me of how grateful he is to be loved and cared for by us. Raven will bang her hoof against the lower steel fence rail, so I know she just might starve if I don’t get to her quickly. And Ruby, standing back as befits her low-status lot in the herd, will return my glance as we secretly acknowledge that she’s no less important than those other two. 

When Raven and I first met, nearly two years ago, she said, “I’m the horse you’ve been waiting for. Take me home with you and I will help deepen your work.” Without a clue as to what that might mean, we adopted her, sold our home, and moved to Willow Oak Farm. 
I’ve come to believe that we were led here, perhaps by “soul of horse” or other force of loving wisdom.  Our vision for this place has become clearer, and we are excited about what lies ahead. My beloved husband Bill has been creating beautiful spaces for contemplative and ritual practices, such as a fire circle in the woods; a small damn forming a pond in the stream with a deck on the water’s edge; a “sanctuary” with bamboo flows, sliding glass doors, and a deck that opens out onto the horses’ paddock. Meanwhile, through meditation and silent reflection, I am guided in the creation of a series of workshops I will lead: Gatherings in the Company of Horses.  
The first of the series will be held in June, a 2-day workshop titled: “Deep Listening With Horses: A Doorway to Growth,” designed for those who wish to awaken their ability to truly sense and “hear” other beings, including humans, non-human animals, and other forms of life.  There’ll soon be information about the workshops on
Happy New Year, everyone.
Rosalyn Berne