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Horse Sense

Travel & Leisure Magazine, March, 2002
Previously published in Honolulu Advertiser, Sep. 24, 2000

Franklin Levinson believes applying horse sense can help you face fears, reduse stress, strengthen relationships, improve health and enhance your life. For nearly four years, he has been inspiring visitors with The Maui Horse Whisperer Experience, which his brochure describes as “a half or full-day adventure of playing, dancing and interacting with one of nature’s most exquisite and revered species-the horse.”

The program includes a lecture and demonstration by Levinson on the “horse whisperer” training techniques popularized in Nicholas Evans’ 1995 novel and the 1997 movie of the same name. The methods are based on the philosophy that desired responses can be elicited from the horses through love, respect, and understanding, rather than fear and punishment.

With his ranch in Huelo, along the cliffs of Maui’s North Shore, serving as a breathtaking backdrop, Levinson uses gentle, confident movements, body positioning and spoken commands to direct a horse to walk, trot, canter and turn around, without a single touch of a whip. Participants then enter the corral, one by one, to execute the cues themselves.

Levinson maintains that patience, intuition and awareness come to the fore as we “speak” with horses, and those qualities subsequently become a more conscious part of our daily lives. When we learn the language of horses, he says, we’re able to more successfully communicate with humans.