Modern Day Horse Whisperer
By Nikki Alvin-Smith
Have you ever wished that your horse could talk? Imagine all the answers you would have about his past and how much he could tell you about what he likes and dislikes when working with you on the ground or in the saddle.
It turns out that empath Tracey Wright, of The Equine Emissary, talks to horses, cats and dogs on a regular basis and is ready to put her talents to work for you to help elevate your bond with your horse. Skeptic or not, you will find this interview interesting. Catskill Horse sat down to chat with Tracey (TW) and gleaned lots of insight about this modern day horse whisperer and how her skills could help the horse and horse owner.
CH: Could you explain what encouraged you to develop your Equine Emissary business and explain for the lay horse person what services you offer and who they benefit the horse/rider?
TW: I have always been an empath and drawn to work with animals my entire life. In fact, while I was a Vet Technician nearly 20 years ago, I had lots of opportunities to use my empathic skills along with my Reiki training to help ease animals fears and pains while they were in the clinic. I started doing my work as a business about 6 years ago but with the focus on dogs and cats. Then about 5 years ago, I had the opportunity to work with a horse to figure out some puzzling behavior for a trainer. Once I started working with that horse, even though I am not a rider nor involved with horses, I knew these were the animals I needed to focus my business around, and Equine Emissary was born.
In reality I act as a translator or emissary between the horse and their rider: Through coaching, teaching the owner how to ground and center themselves and how to clearly communicate their intentions with their horse; through the consults, learning what their horse has to say; through Reiki, teaching the owner how to connect energetically with their horse; and through the Angelic Horse Reunions, having the opportunity for both owner and horse to express their love and gratitude for each other.
My services benefit both the horse and the rider. Through me, the horse has a way to share important information with their rider such as how they are feeling; if they would like or need a chiropractic adjustment; or that maybe a change in the saddle would be helpful, or they need their rider to tell them clearly what to do. The rider gets a clearer picture of what they need to do to make their horse happier, and their relationship together more enjoyable for both.
CH: When did you begin your business and where is it located?
TW: I’ve been working with animals as an empath since 2000 and specifically with horses since 2013. I am based in East Syracuse, NY but am able to do most of my work nearly anywhere. For the Kinship Coaching and the Angelic Horse Reunion, I typically do that work over the phone; for Reiki Attunements, that work is done in person; for Equine Consults, I can do that work either in person or long distance.
CH: What was your background before beginning Equine Emissary?
TW: That’s a great question! As I’ve said, I’ve always been an empath and always have been drawn to animals from a very young age. I became a Reiki Master in 1993. I was a Vet Technician from 1998 until 2004. I recently became a Certified Conscious Life Coach, and have been a Consciously Awesome Program Facilitator for several years. These last two accomplishments are where I learned the techniques that I share, on how to be fully grounded and centered, how to visualize and hold that image of that ideal ride, and so much more, all geared to benefiting both the horse and their owner.
CH: Can you give us some background on your horse experience?
TW: None really! I don’t ride, own, train, or breed horses and never have. Yet I am magnetically drawn to working with horses. I realize my non-riding experience may not sit well with some horse owners, but it doesn’t diminish my clarity in feeling, hearing, seeing and wanting to work with horses for the owners benefit. Horses are here to teach us lessons and I have the skills to interpret those lessons that are unique for that owner, rider or non-rider.
I find horses to be a beautiful mirror for their owner. They are also masters at changing instantaneously when they ‘know’ their rider is adjusting their own behavior. For example no sooner does a rider shift from a state of being nervous to one of being grounded and centered, that their horse will often beat them at grounding and centering themselves first!
CH: Can you run us through the services you offer and explain how they work?
TW: My services are Kinship Coaching, Reiki Attunements for Rider and Horse, Angelic Horse Reunion, and Equine Consults.
Kinship Coaching is where I work with the one on one with the rider teaching them tools of grounding and centering no matter what the situation, clarifying their imagery while riding, refining their ability to read and hear their horse, and tuning in more intuitively to their horse. The benefit of the Kinship Coaching is ultimately elevating the bond between rider and their horse to its highest potential.
Reiki Attunements for Rider and Horse (new service) is such a valuable skill for both to have and could be so powerful for both. Having both hold the Reiki energy while together is a very powerful tool in further solidifying their relationship and understanding of each other. Specifically, there are times when the horse could be channeling the Reiki energy to help their rider de-stress and ground; having the rider hold the Reiki energy while in the saddle could bring them both into sync for that dream ride together; and, in an emergency situation with the horse, the rider could easily channel Reiki to keep themselves and their horse calmer until help arrives.
Angelic Horse Reunion (new service) is a very unique opportunity for a rider to connect with their heart horse that has crossed the Rainbow Bridge, through a conscious guided meditation™ technique. This reunion is intended to provide peace and closure for the rider as well as a way for the horse to express their love and gratitude for the wonderful life they had. It also allows for some profound healing on a heart level creating the space for that horse owner to be ready for another heart horse connection when the time is right. It is an extremely moving experience for both.
An Equine Consult where I connect with the horse, either in person or long distance, and offer a write up of their horse’s emotional state, what they wish to share for the rider, solve a mystery, or answer a rider’s questions. Reiki is always offered during the consult. This can clear up the picture about their horse for the rider, let the chiropractor know which areas to focus on specifically, and so much more. There is so much that comes out of these sessions yet they are each so unique based on the horse’s personality and history; I typically connect with their higher self during these sessions.
CH: How much do your services cost? If you could give us an idea of how many sessions, prices per session etc.
TW: The Kinship Coaching is custom tailored to the rider’s needs – both the number of sessions and the investment. Reiki Attunements for Rider and Horse, including a Reiki Level 1 Certification for the rider, is an investment of $300 and is done over 2 days; it also includes follow up support. Group discounts are available. The Angelic Horse Reunion is currently a $95 investment ($125 regularly) and can last 1 hour for the rider, although as it rather intense, the participant should allow themselves plenty of time to recover. An Equine Consult is a $150 investment, with most of the time on my part if it’s done long distance, or a good hour or so if done in person.
CH: How can a horse owner best prepare for your visit?
TW: The preparation is based on the service. For Kinship Coaching, we work out a best schedule based on the rider’s needs and goals. For the Angelic Horse Reunion and an Equine Consult, I like to have several pictures and name of the horse in question. For the Equine Consult, if being done long distance, I like to have the horse quiet and in their stall, not being ridden or groomed and not eating. For Reiki Attunements, we work together to figure out a best schedule for attuning the rider and when to attune the horse. I do connect with the horse ahead of time to share the process and get their higher self’s agreement.
CH: Can you relay a couple of success stories that folks using these modalities have enjoyed?
TW: A horse, who had been away, returned to the owner with some dangerous and unexplained behavior to the point that the owner was seriously considering selling the horse. As I touched the horse, my eyes stung very sharply due to the intense pain the horse was in. I kept feeling like the horse needed space in their spine. I couldn’t let go of that thought. The horse also showed me physical landmarks of where they had been with an unhappy/grumpy feeling. I remember commenting ‘wow how beautiful’ but the horse was not happy with the scenery, as it was associated with the cause of the pain. Granted it wasn’t the landscape that caused the pain, it was the people. They had not listened to the owner’s request about which saddle to use and had been using the wrong saddle leading to back issues, the intense pain, and the dangerous behavior in the ring. The feeling I got about the people was they didn’t care. They were going to do things their way, regardless of the owner’s requests. All of this was happening without the owner knowing. Once the horse was adjusted by a chiropractor several times creating that much needed space in the spine, the horse returned to their previous pleasant behavior, and was not sold! They are doing very well together.
One owner didn’t understand why their loving horse would act up so much in the warm up ring at a show. As I connected with the horse they share that they adored their owner, so why was there this disconnect? The horse sent me an image of what their owner was doing when in the warm up ring. They had a ‘deer in the headlights’ look to them and were just sitting in the saddle not engaged. The horse’s comment along with the image was, “if they’re not going to lead, then I am”. Once the rider understood this, they realized they needed to be fully engaged the entire time they are in the saddle with that horse. Once they did that, their riding changed for the better. In this case, I was most grateful that the rider was open and will to hear what their horse was trying to tell them. This is a great example of how horses are able to mirror their rider to help them be better.
I had another horse that was nearly pleading & yelling at me that it just wanted clear instructions. Apparently their previous owner and trainer would check out when they got the second side during training and would send mixed signals to the horse, which really upset and confused the horse. This led to the owner and trainer getting frustrated which in turn confused the horse even more creating this vicious cycle that was blamed on the poor horse. He knew he just wanted and needed clear instructions that’s all. Once his current owner trainer understood that, the horse’s performance changed for the better as they were now getting those clear instructions.
CH: Who is your prime candidate equine/human wise that you know you can help?
Those riders and horse owners that are committed to a long term relationship with their horse and that want to elevate the relationship with their horse to its highest potential; that want to learn from their horse.
Those owners whose horse has had a sudden unexplained change in behavior that is not explained by the vet and testing.
Those horse owners that want to learn how to be fully present in every moment with not only their horse, but also with themselves and with their families.
Those horse owners that want to connect with their heart horse that has crossed the Rainbow Bridge to help heal their own hurting heart; this will ultimately free them up to connect with another horse that is still present.
Those horse owners that want to know how to ground and center themselves, how to connect and hold the vision of their perfect ride in conjunction with their horse.
Those horse owners that want to learn Reiki for themselves and their horse so they can spoil their horse at any time.
CH: Can you share any experiences where the results of your work have not yielded the results expected?
TW: Sadly it’s often because the rider is not willing or ready to hear the information or that the behavior is a reflection of themselves. When an unwelcomed behavior is a reflection of ourselves it is difficult information to hear for all of us, including myself. Sometimes, we’re just not ready to hear it.
There is one horse that I absolutely adore yet is very difficult to work with, and I have not been able to get to their core essence. I believe it is because they were worked so hard when they were way too young that they walled off their core even to themselves. There are times when working with them, that I can feel them start to open up and I try to explore that opening further, I get clearly ‘denied’ emotionally. I get no more information and physically they turn away from me and get prickly and prance. This horse has also taught me a very important lesson early on, the importance of being fully present and that my thinking, actions, and words, all need to sync up and if they don’t horses will know.
I was at the barn but not able to work with them right away. When I tried to work on them later, they were napping, so I left to do something else. When I returned much later on that same day, they were a bit miffed at me. I took the time to apologize out loud yet while doing so, I was thinking ‘but you were napping when I could work on you then I had to go’. No sooner had that thought crossed my mind while I was apologizing out loud, the horse, who had been lovingly approaching me wanting Reiki, whipped their head up, ears flat back, and glared at me. Yikes! It didn’t matter what my words said, it was my thoughts they could hear and were reacting to. That taught me the importance of always being fully present in every moment, especially when working with horses.
There was another horse that clearly told me they did not want to delve into their past, so I agreed and focused on their physical symptoms, likes, and dislikes. During the consult, something came up that was tied to the past and I decided not to follow up that line of questioning. The horse then called me out because ‘physical symptoms are always tied to emotions from the past’. I agreed, however I had also agreed not to explore that part of their past. So we were at a bit of an impasse on that particular issue. The compromise was made, by acknowledging that there was a link. However it was not relevant to their current situation and owner and did not need to be explored. I recognize this is a rather vague example but I can’t remember any more details. As a side note, once I’m done connecting with a horse and letting their owner know all the information, I typically forget most of the details.
I did have a horse call me out once. I was in the middle of a long distance consult when my dogs started barking and would not stop. Frustrated, I disconnected with the horse, and tried to get my dogs to quiet down. Once they did, I reconnected with the horse, who then proceeded to tell me with noticeable exasperation, “they were just doing their job!” Of course the horse was correct. I had to apologize to my dogs first. Then the horse was happy to continue on with the consult.
CH: What feedback do you get from your clients?
TW: Thankfully those that hire me really want to know their horses better, want only the best for them, and want to genuinely know what they themselves can do to made things better so they really appreciate the clarity and confirmation they get from their horse. Many comments are along the lines of, “Oh I never thought of that!” Or, “I had forgotten about that incident but that explains why they are always spooky around this particular situation.” Or, “I love knowing they are happy and they want to stay with me.” Having that clarity of what the rider needs to do in order to clearly communicate with their horse for some is like having a light bulb go on – “Oh, I get it now!”
I had a horse show me an image of both the rider and the horse in the passenger seat trying to drive a car. The idea was that one of them, the rider, needed to get into the driver’s seat and take the lead. Turns out the rider was just learning to drive so the analogy made perfect sense to them. This is an example of how connecting with the horse’s higher self has such pertinent and valuable information specific to that rider.
CH: What other therapy services complement yours?
TW: Massage therapy is an awesome complement. So is chiropractic care. Any modalities that help relax and loosen tight muscles and modalities that help the rider become more intuitively connected with their horse all help.
CH: Could you give us a time frame for how long someone would expect to work with you based on your present client range?
TW: That is such a great question. For Kinship Coaching, that is really based on the rider, their blocks they want to overcome, and their ultimate goals. The Reiki Attunements is a two day time investment: one afternoon (six hours) for the rider Reiki Attunement, teaching, practice, and certification, and another shorter afternoon (two to three hours) for the horse attunement and instructions and practice time.
I also offer a check in (can be done over the phone is they are far away) within 30 days, to answer any questions and offer clarifications. As their Reiki Master, I can always be reached for follow-up support for both rider and horse. If they are located two hours away from me it might be best to do both days over a weekend and with several other riders and their horses, ideally all in the same area. Angelic Horse Reunions and Equine Consults are typically a one visit event. However, some equine consults may need more follow-ups if they have been previously traumatized, or for some OTTBs.
CH: What is the geographic area that you serve and how can people best contact you?
TW: For most of my services, due to their nature, I am able to work globally. The only exception is the Reiki Attunements, for those I would be happy to travel if that makes sense for all parties.
CH: Can you tell us about grief counseling in your business?
TW: Grief is a rather common emotion that I come across with some, not all, horses. I would ask that owners take their time with new to them horse, acknowledge they could be experiencing some grief, spoil them for a bit and let them know they have a home.
The idea of permanency is really important to some horses, and knowing they have a permanent home allows them to really flourish to their fullest potential. Because they can’t talk to you, you don’t know the journey that they may have endured before they got to you, how they were treated or how hard they were worked. You may not be aware of how closely they connected with their previous owner, or if they didn’t connect and why, or how confused they might be with their new circumstances. Extra patience along with some spoiling modalities (Reiki, massage, chiropractor), can go a long way in easing them into their new home, routine, and your expectations.
There is much to be learned about alternative approaches to the human horse connection and if you’d like to explore this topic further The Equine Emissary welcomes your calls. Please contact Tracey Wright via her website or via phone at 315 455 6765.