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Franklin's Horsemanship Clinics featuring Equine Facilitated Learning


It feels like so long ago now that I attended your EFL course in Perth at Capricorn, and it was, in fact, the best part of 1 year ago, so I have been remiss in not writing to you sooner.  But you know what?  I remember those experiences with you as clear as if it was yesterday and I can truthfully say that they are among the most precious and prized experiences of my life.  The truth is that I have been so involved with the horses at RDA Brigadoon that I barely have time for much else these days, but I’m not complaining one bit.  Since your course, I have been assessed as having adequate skills to be present at Brigadoon with our horses, without the necessity of an accompanying coach.  How about that eh!...


I've just started teaching a young autistic boy at RDA who loves animals but is very afraid when riding. I decided to spend some good quality time on the ground teaching him the simple tasks from your EFL courses and the difference in just one lesson was amazing. His mother couldn't believe it. Its so simple but the effect is huge. Thanks for your teachings, we value them highly at Peninsula RDA Australia.

Kate Irving

I just wanted to say thanks for the great course held at Tooradin,

Mark and I learned a lot and although challenging at times. we had a fantastic time. Mark and I are getting our property ready so we are able to open an EFL center, we have been talking to Cathy and are well on our way. Mark has been into see some of the Employment places the ones that help people find jobs and youth centers, they are really excited by this type of learning, there is nothing in our area that facilitate for problem youth and or people with other issues. We are really passionate about EFL and believe it is so beneficial for people who may have lost there way and need a little boost to get back on a path that will help them personally grow.

Regards, Diane & Mark

Dear Franklin,

It has been my pleasure to take your seminar.

Since the first day I looked after the RDA horses, I dreamed about that If I could have "that day" sitting under the tree and my horse standing next to me. Thanks for making the dream come true.

I practiced leading, lungeing and liberty work with Kalvin (pony) these two days in the afternoon. We had fun and he cooperated well. He can feel me because when I asked "Do you want me to tickle anywhere", he bite the body part to show me. I tried it for five times, and I was sure he understood my words. I think that the "connect, read, feel, know" that you mentioned about, works.

There are 10 RDA horses here, I will try each horse with your teaching skills. I do hope each students that I may teach can" connect, read, feel and know with the horses just as I do. " A dream is not just a dream, I will make it come true step by step".

I am looking forward to see you again, and keeping in touch with Cathy to work as a volunteer in AEFL.

Keep in touch all the time,
My lovely instructor.

Li, from Taiwan

"Thanks Franklin for sharing your wealth of knowledge with us in an atmosphere that made it possible to feel 'safe' to have a Go!" J & horse M "Franklin, it was wonderful to meet and learn from you, thank you so much and I had a Great Time!" S and horse L

"Franklin, Thank you for a magical moment in time that I didn't want to ever end. You are a role model as a horseman, a teacher and a human being. I know this has been a highlight in my horse's colored history. Thank you for really seeing him and opening your heart to him. He has earned this experience with you. Thank you for showing me how to make his life happier and more fun, and for having the faith in me that I could actually do this. Come again soon!" R

"Franklin, thanks for sharing your knowledge and inspiring me to play with my horse and share him with others. I look forward to working with you again." B and horse B

Dear Franklin,
It has taken me a little longer to gather my thoughts about my ‘Way of the Horse/EFL’ experience with you because I think what happened to me was a very different experience than the others.  Heck, I don't know much about the animals by comparison but I feel that what I know and FEEL about the children in EFL work made me feel a member of our close encounter of the REAL kind!

Basically, I came on 200% in my horsemanship skills but that would not have been difficult given my background.  I have always had a great love and respect for horses and their minds and strengths.  What I learned is that those strengths are boundless in a much more calm and controlled environment.  Your "way" with the horses, children and adults gave me something I didn't know I had.  You enabled me to dig deep and "try" not to worry so much about what others may perceive and get on with the important things: horse skills, the children, enabling others to learn or reach out, lead by example, the list could be endless. 

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You have an ability to bring out the inner person and I know the horses are a tremendous part of that but I also try to think what you would be saying, thinking or doing when I am around the horses and the children.  I even try to help Nicki with your way of thinking constantly at the back of my mind.  I had the opportunity to take a half session (EFL) the other day and used your technique becoming the horse for the children.  One of the lads was not treating the whole session with the respect that it deserves so I asked him to be his horse and for him to be my leader.  The response was amazing and almost instantaneous.  He quickly learned through my "neediness”, that’s got to be a new word, to calm down, stop acting the sulky teenager and take care of me.  He grinned, laughed and made a big impact on the other three teenagers for the rest of the session.  It really worked!!  I knew it had with us but for me to be able to pull it out of my Franklin bag of tricks with a sullen lad was a wonderful experience for me and for him.   

The rest of the session went smoothly and Nicki finished off after lunch in the round pen with the 4 of them and Pebbles.  It was a great day, teaching and learning.  I wish you could have seen Nicki with them, really wonderful!

I know that none of this may be very helpful for you in a retrospective way but I think we had plenty of opportunity to reflect daily whilst you were here.  You really brought back some of the confidence I thought I had lost forever.  That day when I lunged a pony I could actually feel myself grow in stature, I actually felt an inch or two taller afterwards. Confidence and respect are major playing partners when dealing with the children and the horses and I don't think I could have learned from a better master of the two than you, Franklin.  I now feel that you enabled me to use some of your truly inspiring skills with the horses myself which is a truly amazing statement from me, you gave me the skills but almost more importantly for me you gave me the CONFIDENCE to use those techniques. 

On a more personal note, I felt very privileged to have met you, been taught by you and learned things about horses that I just hadn't even considered.  Everything I learned just made so much sense and your humility is one of your best skills.  You must be the leading "horseman" but you wouldn't even contemplate such a title for yourself.  You encouraged us to try other techniques borrow from other teachers and find what worked best for us, now that is true humility from your part.  You teach from the heart without even knowing it and your love and respect for horses just shines through every session.  These are not things that you can sell or even preach, we had to "see" it in you to understand just how much the horses and what they can give to us means to you.  

With love, Patrice

Dear Franklin,

I am in search of more information about Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL), I have an autistic son, who suddenly became attached to my horses, from no involvement, staying acres away, to can’t get close enough, washing, brushing, walking, climbing on and off, riding at a walk, riding at a trot, and riding bare back with a lead rope… he is quick to tell you he wants to do more…. He is only 9, we have him in a helmet when he is up, and supervised when he is down, but when with horses his attention deficit is not there, he can figure things out, follow through and stay focused, and not be impulsive or withdrawn, express feelings, and thoughts… even explore his environment other than the horse…

It is a puzzle to me. I would like to know what I can do to facilitate his continued improvement… and any other improvement of children placed into our care…

Sincerely, Susan

Read Franklin's Response

Dear Susan, 

What you and your son are experiencing I have experienced often when an autistic child is put together with an appropriate horse. It is truly a magical mystery and miraculous. You do not need expensive certifications to continue this work with your son. You do need wisdom of horses and love and compassion for the child. I have sent you my DVD Training Through Trust, which will offer more suggestions and examples of things your son and the horses can do together to progress. I would be happy to come to your home to work with you and your son, should you wish it. I return to the states in the fall. Please keep me posted with updates of what is happening.

Best regards, Franklin

I was one of the fortunate people who went to your ‘Equine Facilitated Learning’ demonstration for Riding for the Disabled Victoria in January. This was the two hour one held at Clyde. It was inspiring and full of information that I was very glad to receive – especially as I had just got my first horse. (His name is Barry, 15yo TB, gorgeous.) You mightn’t remember but after your talk I asked you for some advice about leading him; I have legs that don’t work very well, and your suggestion was to take 3 steps and halt, 3 steps and halt…, thus maintaining good balance. This was excellent advice. We walk together very comfortably now, and I feel that I am able to lead him with confidence. I don’t need the pattern anymore, but use halting in advance of a problem and so maintain steadiness. I have also been trying some groundwork exercises with him and am learning more from these. To call what I do ‘dancing with my horse’ is a little optimistic perhaps, but I am beginning to grasp the concept.

I do hope that you enjoyed your time in Australia, and that we will see you here again.

And thanks again, Franklin.
Best Wishes,


"Completed the Equine Faciliatated Learning Clinic today at the Mounties with USA trainer Franklin Levison. This truly genuine & inspirational man has a lovely way with a horse and is doing great work round the world with kids at risk and/or with serious emotional challenges. Really impressive stuff, even got to old hard arse me.  Additionally, Franklin's no-hype" method and common sense approach to ..training horses..  (that's sadly isn't as "common" as it should be in this world as you well know! :-) resonated with me.

Allowing a horse to be a horse..cutting him some slack! :-)
Reminding riders of the need to "just breathe.."
So simple yet so critical for softening and thus effectiveness.

Loved it"

Jan in OZ

Dear Franklin

Thank you again for working with us in Maui. We really enjoyed working with you, and Lucky Luke was wonderful. My daughter, Miwa was smiling a lot, and that is very important. She must have felt safe and felt very confident with herself. At the beginning, I thought that Lucky Luke was an extremely smart horse, but then I saw that you had put the magic on him, that let him put the magic on Miwa. But of course, Lucky Luke is terrific too.


Miwa2The things that I feel that Miwa did for the first time in her life were:

1. Never letting go of Lucky Luke when leading. At our stables, whenever she feels any difficulties or is scared, she would just drop the lead rope or hand it to me. I guess she felt Lucky Luke was her buddy, that she should never leave behind, and Lucky Luke was so willing to be led by her.

2. Doing different things with her left and right hands. She was holding on to the lead rope with one hand, and had the wand in her other and was wagging it. This kind of a thing is pretty difficult for her. But I felt that holding on to Lucky Luke was such a priority for her, that she didn't have to remind herself to not let go of the lead rope, and had enough room in her thoughts to do something different with the other hand.

3. When a problem arised, she solved it by herself. When she was called to turn Lucky Luke to the right, it was very difficult, but she figured out stopping him, and then turning him to the right very tactfully. Watching her, she did things quick easily and smoothly, but the things that she was doing so easily, are actually really difficult things for her. Coordination of various parts of her body, is a big problem for her, especially as she has very bad depth perception, and she gives up easily, but she worked so well. I liked how when she wanted Lucky Luke to move, that she would have the lead rope in her one hand, but would give a little tug with her other hand close to the halter, and as soon as Lucky Luke would respond, that she would release that pressure of tugging with such perfect timing, that Lucky Luke would respond very gentleman like.

Miwa 1I feel that all these things were made possible, because Lucky Luke had the magic on himself, to cooperate with Miwa, and because of that, she felt so confident and eager to try doing things, that she "was" able to do these things. Your patience at waiting for these things to happen, is probably the biggest magic. Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to be able to experience these things happening. I hope that I will be able to try my best, to be able to spend time with Miwa and our horses, in a similar way. Patience, waiting, flexibility, thinking of different ways, showing respect, trust, not setting limits, etc. etc.

I myself enjoyed the time with you a lot. And I have always known, that I can make Miwa enjoy things, that I myself enjoy the most, so I have always been trying to find horsy things to do with her. Actually, I am a veterinarian by license, but do not practise. I was originally very interested in the handling of horses, because I wanted to become a horse veterinarian after graduating from vet school. In those days, women were not employed as horse veterinarians, and horses were restrained for treatments, mostly using strength. I needed and wanted to do it by a different way, to show that women could work with horses, and was successful in a way, but could not be employed, so I presently work in a different business. But I have always been interested in handling horses, in a peaceful way, and am looking forwards to trying out all the things that I learned from you, with Miwa at our stables, and hope that we will both have a good time and learn more about horses.

Thank you again. Hope to be able to see you soon, somewhere or at a time, that Miwa will not have to worry about her hay fever.

Best Regards,

Yumi Kawamata (Japan)

Seminar at Fi's Farm, U.K. 2004

"What a truly wonderful and life enriching experience it has been for both my daughter, Aisling (age 11 years) and myself to have attended the various courses you have offered in England at Fi's farm. The "journey into trust", if I can put it that way, began some months before we even arrived at the farm in September with our horse Mayo. To be honest, as much as I felt that I wanted to do the Communication through Trust and Equine Facilitated Learning Courses, one way or another, all the odds were heavily stacked against me doing them. Miraculously, I took a leap of faith (which included handing in my notice at a school where I worked as a teaching assistant, in order to secure the time required to do the courses) and with much encouragement from Ros (who was truly inspiring) and support from family and friends I was able to overcome each and every other hurdle so that finally some how and some way we arrived at Fi's farm ready for Aisling to do the morning childrens session. I could hardly believe we'd made it! Then the "magic" really started.


Franklin, through your gentleness, kindness and true spirit of love, you and the horses helped us to learn how to be with our own horse. You showed us what he really needed from us and what he had to teach us if we were prepared to listen. The authenticity of the message you bring was never better demonstrated than when you did a session where you worked along side children with special needs and challenges. It was so amazing and moving to see the transformation in those children take place right before our very eyes.

As you may recall, I personally underwent my own transformation during The "Communication through Trust", where I broke through a barrier of insecurity which I felt when around horses. Wow! The change in me was apparent to all those on the course and to others that already knew me. As for Mayo, I believe that providing I establish my lead "in the dance", he feels so much better when he is with me. I feel that there is "right" and appropriate communication between us and that I will now be able to use this to help him overcome his own difficulties.

The Equine Facilitated Learning introductory course took things a stage further. Attendees, had to, I think in many cases (myself included), "knock down some walls" in order to experience what it was going to take to assist you in this wonderful work. Without exception everybody did just that - this was possible because everyone without exception gave loving support and encouragement to one another. This is something that the whole "Way of the Horse Experience" seems to engender. It is, however, by no means sentimental and soppy. Far from it - it inspires genuine love which is rightly compassionate and supportive, guiding and practical.

My life has been changed in the most wonderful way. Thank you Franklin, from the bottom of my heart.

With love and very best wishes"


Ruth Cusack

(seminar at New Zealand Farm, UK)
I just wanted to say a huge thank you for a most informative and enjoyable afternoon.You gave out such warmth and compassion and John and I were both deeply moved by your work, and especially the most wonderful rapport that you developed with the children that you worked with.

We both feel that we learned a lot from the session and I now feel especially inspired and motivated to look towards using equine facilitated learning when we set up our centre.

Thank you again, kind regards,

from a Seminar at New ZealandFarm, UK

My dear friend Franklin,
I am full of willingness and energy, to make this little foal's life as great and wonderful as life can be for a horse. I've got millions of questions to ask you about the little one, and I want you to know that ever since I met you, I see horses (and life in general) through a completely different perspective. Franklin, you have touched our hearts and souls, and for that you will always have our gratitude. I keep watching your DVD over and over so I can re-live the magic of your dances, and learn even the last detail that I may have missed.