When the Horses Whisper shows the capacity of horses to help us heal the human heart. It expresses in human language what horses have to say when given the chance to speak. It is a story about the sacred bond between us, and the communication made possible when the horse-human relationship is based on love. Conversations with fifteen horses, most of who live and work in Costa Rica, are featured along with their photographs, capturing them as individual beings in service to humans on a shared evolutionary journey. This journey amounts to the “re-membering” of our whole selves in the wholeness of creation, especially the parts we split off, deny, and place in shadow because they are too painful. Horses, as the book shows, can help us see these lost parts, and call forth our courage to reclaim them. For the author, these included the loss of a newborn daughter, the mental illness of an adult son, letting go of a thirty-year marriage, and childhood sexual abuse. The story recounts the equine healing work that helped in reclaiming her authentic self. This book is testimony to the power of horses and equine healing work in transforming life’s losses into a deeper human wholeness and a further communion with the non-human world.
Rosalyn W. Berne, PhD explores the intersecting realms between emerging technologies, science, fiction and myth, and between the human and non-human worlds. As a university professor she writes and teaches about engineering and technology in society and the ethical implications of technological development, often using science fiction material in her classes. In her personal life she continues to discover the transformational nature of human-equine relationships, and offers facilitation and translation services for enhancing communication between horses and their owners. She is author of Nanotalk: Conversations with Scientists And Engineers About Ethics, Meaning, and Belief in the Development of Nanotechnology (Erlbaum Press, 2005) and the novel, Waiting in the Silence (Spore Press, 2012). Currently underway, Creating a New World: Biotechnology and Science Fiction brings the non-fictional writing of research scientists together with Berne’s science fiction short stories (forthcoming from Pan Stanford Press).
Thanks go to Steve and Debbie Legg of Leaves and Lizards-Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat in Costa Rica for providing me direct access to their horses, and for their kindness and generosity in support of my communicating with them. Without Debbie, my muse, this book would probably never have been written. Mis amigos Enrique, Ronald, Chito, Erick, Juan José, Ocsar and Cendri; I am astounded by your refined horsemanship. Thank you for trusting me and for listening when I hear. And to my horse friends: Titán, Conan, J.R, Beauty, Mr. Big, Juano, Gitana, Amarillo, Suzy, Pica, Dorado, Cortessa, Penina, Caretto, Diana, Ringo; for you there are no words. Of course not, because it’s not with words that we communicate. So in our wordless way, I thank you. Because of you, I have learned to feel and sense more deeply, and become a person I never knew I could be.
In the U.S.A., I thank Priscilla Friedberg and her horses, especially Blue Star, as they have been gracious and helpful in this project; Bill Prindle, my beloved, who sees me for who I am and brings that out in my writing; Mariah Dean who helped me to surrender to what truly needed to be written, and Kathleen Manuel, my editor, who guided me to craft just the right words in just the right way to express what I wish to say— my heartfelt thanks. Bob Friedman, my publisher, not only believes that I hear the horses, but has encouraged me to teach others how, and made it possible for me to share it in this book. Through the lenses and keen eyes of photographer Kaya Berne, the horses’ personalities and essence are captured beautifully in the images included. My deepest appreciation to you all.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of When the Horses Whisper will be donated to equine-assisted therapy programs.
Table of Contents
II. Companions on our Journey
III. Hearing When They Speak
IV. Equine Encounters: Titán Speaks
V. Equine Encounters: Juano Teaches
VI. Equine Encounters: Opening to Beauty
VII. Equine Encounters: Blue Star’s Love
VIII. Equine Encounters: Falling into Bliss
IX. Eat, Pray, Ride and Release
X. A Message to Humans from Beauty
XI. An Ancient Story, Retold
About the Author
About the Photographer
Rosalyn (Rosa) Berne brings the whispered voice of the horses themselves to remind us to wake up and live consciously in our interconnectedness, to open our hearts and our ears, to allow ourselves to heal the trauma no human or horse escapes in these times.
No new age eccentric adolescent, Rosa is a mature, wise, and compassionate woman, a professor and a mother, grounded and sensible.
What she hears from the horses rings true. Those of us who love and respect the horses as the wise sentient beings they are, get lots of non-verbal wisdom from them. Rosa receives a deeper level of information, through a capacity she calls clairaudience, about their life histories, their sufferings and their wishes and needs. It was a privilege to travel with her on a horse trek and witness firsthand how she helps us understand the horses’ perspective.
If horses spoke out loud these are the heart opening and heart breaking messages I would expect to hear. “Be kind, be clear, be respectful, be loving, and be faithful and consistent.”
As a practicing psychiatrist and equine facilitated psychotherapist, I find Dr. Berne’s stories from the horses to be useful, fun, and powerfully instructive.
This book is a gift to all of us who love horses and are dedicated to their work of helping us to open and heal our human hearts.
Nancy Coyne, M.D., Psychiatrist