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Comments from Participants

at Franklin's Horsemanship Clinics in the U.K.
(see also, Equine Facilitated Learning - comments from participants)

Hi Franklin.

I wanted to let you know that something you said regarding the Horses behaviour has really stuck with me and had a profound effect on my own headspace. In the demonstration you talked about the horses feeling afraid due to not feeling safe. I have given this a great deal of thought since then and realised that 99% of the time this is the fundamental cause of fear in our lives. We feel fear when we stop feeling safe. This lack of safety can be as simple as an upcoming circumstance changing your status quo and making you feel unsettled in what you accept to be normal. It seems obvious now but when you understand this core truth you are empowered with the ability to apply reason. You can ask yourself "why", why amI feeling this way? Whats stopping me? This allows you to open your self to the truth behind the fear and address it. It places the sensation of fear back to what it actually is, a message that you are resisting a change. It empowers you to look and identify what you are resisting and make change to open yourself to the experience from a position of safety again. For me this is a fundamental breakthrough. I am very "head" based in my life approach which works well creatively but can be crippling with intense emotions such as fear. It has always created a feeling of disdain in myself that I can so easily succumb to this energy and it has been a constant and unwelcome companion through out my life. As often is the case, behind every great problem lies one simple truth. Sometimes all it takes is another simple truth to place perspective upon an issue.

In closing, my greatest fear was that I should pass this culture of fear onto my own children. I would hate to have done this and though I actively encourage them to make bold steps in the world I'm also aware that children are incredibly perceptive and regardless of how hard you try to hide your negative sides it is inevitable that they will pick it up from you.

So thank you for those words. They have started me on a new journey of discovery and created a significant impact on my life.

Kind regards, Shawn

"I am the eternal student and learnt many new things at the seminar. I must share how Franklin suggested I help my four year old student (Harry) how to become less reliant on 'holding on' while learning the rising trot. "Ask him to place his hands on his thighs" this way he is more balanced and can hold on to himself and not the horse or saddle. WOW! (I love WOW moments!)

Yesterday Harry came for his lesson and I popped him on a lunge line, or rather Bambi on a lunge line, after walking and practising holding on to his thighs and standing up and down we moved effortlessly into trot and guess what? BRAVO!!

My other gem from the seminar was that my vet came to Franklin's demo on the first evening. It was the first time he had seen me with my horses, explaining how I help them and their owners. He recommended me to one of his clients and I now have a beautiful 17.3hh Hanoverian mare here for rehabilitation. This has encouraged me to build my sensory path to help horses regain their neurophysiological responses by walking them on differing natural terrains. Sounds complicated? all the details will be on my website once it is up and running. I am very excited. So these are just two, of many, reasons why Franklin came to me this month.

Thank you Franklin for being in my life.. Name not shared.

...So thrilled with Minx, I have been putting into practice Franklin's
desensitising system with plastic bag and have incorporated it while riding.
We actually got trot with very little fuss, normally the minute I ask for trot
she roots herself, it's a start and that's all I can ask for, brilliant - progress!


Name not shared.

'Beyond Natural Horsemanship' day with Franklin....I found this day uplifting, enlightening and enriching.

When you have worked with horses for as long as I have you can sometimes lose sight of the simplest of principles that make all the difference. One of those principles was to spot the smallest of effort made by your horse and acknowledge it and reward it. Of course we all give our horses a pat when they have reached the ultimate goal we are aiming for but Franklin was talking about the slightest of effort made. It is the greatest motivator for your horse and for human beings that you can ever have, acknowledged appreciation.

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As a yoga and meditation teacher I work with breathing and being calm and know that it has a huge effect when working with horses. It was lovely to have such an established horseman as Franklin aknowledge and actively encouraging calm flowing breath. In all the years that I have worked with horses no-one else has given such focus to this fundamental principle.

I have been around horses all my life yet watching Franklin work I learnt things about horses I had never really thought about. I knew they were strongly visual but never knew that they could learn from another horse by watching and I saw plenty of evidence of this happening on the day. I now know why my first competition pony used to know what jumps to do when we watched other riders go around the course.

Being profoundly dyslexic and being forced and pushed by the educational system with set goals that I was expected to achieve, I know the damage of goal setting. Franklin gave me permission to have no other goal then to build a loving and respectful relationship with a horse. When the pressure is off, the horse has the opportunity to show you it's amazing grace.

I find it difficult to receive spoken instruction and Franklin was able to change his approach so that I could still understand what he was asking of me.

I could write so much more because it was the small detail that made all the difference and I have so many gems that I could share on top of the ones that I already have.

Franklin understands the horse and in a short time he was able to get me to understand the horse on a deeper level, thank you.

Sincerely, Emma Elliot

Dear Franklin,

So glad you got back to Greece safely, I hope the journey back was less complicated than the journey here! It has been really hard getting back to the 'real world' since spending time with you. I will be eternally grateful that Nicki sent me the email advertising your course. I don't know where she got my email from, it must have been fate. It was such an amazing experience. What a privilege to spend such quality time with you, sharing your knowledge, experience and honesty with us. I felt so at home with you all and couldn't have wished for better company or a better setting. How refreshing to be surrounded by like minded people watching the magic happen. It was so relaxed and informal I felt I was with long term friends.

I have watched your DVD several times and practiced what you taught us. I have a site meeting with someone from the Broads Authority on Thursday to discuss the land we want to buy to set up our own centre, fingers crossed! I wish you all the luck and happiness in the world.

Keep spreading the word and sharing your skills with the world. Good luck with you wedding. I hope we meet again in the future. Kindest regards


I am so sorry I have not been in touch before to thank you very much for a fabulous 4 days in Warwickshire. I do hope the rest of your visit to the UK was successful and the rain stopped!! All is well here - I have completed my first level for Equine Touch which was super and I will continue with that to become a practitioner. I think it will go well with my plans for helping horses and people when I start my centre. Looks like it is going ahead in October. You will hear from me again picking your brains about a few things I am sure.

Good luck with the set up in Greece and your forthcoming marriage.

Lots of love and best wishes
Carolyn (Bourchier) not Resnick!! - By the way - I sent her your best regards and she was thrilled.

Carolyn Bourchier

Jenny Booth, Clinic Participant
Waterstock Equestrian Center, June, 2007

I have recently spent a day at Waterstock Training centre, watching the most gentle and moving demonstration of communication between humans and horses that anyone is ever likely to witness.

Franklin Levinson is an American horseman who has developed a very calm and non-confrontational method of establishing a clear line of communication between a human and their horse. It is all based on establishing trust through requesting and rewarding incredibly simple tasks. There is no necessity for a round pen, as all the moves can be conducted in any arena or paddock that is safely fenced and at Waterstock he used the whole indoor arena. Franklin nearly always starts with movement on the ground, which is where most of his exercises are conducted but they can also be continued to incredible effect and benefit while riding in any school or even out hacking...


The horse is requested to perform tasks in a quiet and polite way; his reward is a kind word, gentle scratch, or best of all, to stand still and do absolutely nothing. This really is the distilled, essence of horsemanship, yet it is so easy and rewarding that it can be used to great effect by professionals, club riders, children and happy hackers alike.

Training Thru Trust, as Franklin likes to describe his method, is based on the principal that horses learn most when requested to carry-out simple tasks, for example; to stop, turn or stand still and quietly absorb what has just happened. He believes they are not necessarily learning a great deal if they are rushing about a round pen or endlessly trotting round and round in circles. Horses in motion are generally on automatic pilot, doing what they are built to do instinctively i.e. cover ground quickly. Horses who are moving gently with their handler on the end of loose lead rope or rein, which is Franklin's basic aim, are taking part in a slow, subtle dance which requires both parties to think and communicate with one another. Once you have your horse in this state, you can move on and do the most wonderfully productive training and work, without any force or coercion. Your horse is working with you because he WANTS to; he understands your requests and feels calm in your presence. Fantastic before a competition!

The method is incredibly versatile. It works on horses with problems but it works as well, if not better, for anyone who is perfectly happy with their horse and would simply like to develop greater understanding and responsiveness. For example, we saw one client who brought along her enormous and very active dressage mare. The horse and rider were well trained and happy with one another but had come simply to improve their already excellent communication. Franklin led them through to an incredible demonstration of bridle-less riding, which has got to be the ultimate in communication and trust between horse and human. Neither the horse nor her rider had ever gone bridle-less before and to see them cantering round the full arena, turning and stopping with precision was truly amazing; especially when you knew, as I did, that the mare was very well but had not been in an arena for some time. As always happens at some point in one of Franklin‚s clinics, that was a real "wow" moment.

This is not the first Franklin demonstration that I have seen and it certainly will not be the last. He is hoping to return to the UK in October, probably to work with one of the biggest names in dressage training, but also hopefully to return to Waterstock to enlighten a few more caring horse people. Be there and take part if you can.

Jenny Booth

I just wanted to send you my thanks for coming back to the UK on tour. I spectated at the Unicorn Equestrian Trust near Stow-on-the-Wold, 18th September and had the most wonderful day.

I have never been to a demo where the trainer gives as much of themselves as you do and with such amazing results. You open people's hearts and they willingly give more of themselves when you are around and that is no easy task, especially in England. Your expertise with horses speaks for itself and next time I would like my horse to meet you too.

I applaud your rare gift and thankyou for sharing it with us... hopefully it won't be too long before we see you again.

Until then take care, love and best wishes,

Susan Taylor.

I would like to say thank you so much for coming back to the UK and letting us have the benefit of your knowledge and experience. I have been on a lot of courses in my time but I have to say without hesitation that the seminars in Warwickshire and at Stow have given me more tools for my toolkit than all the others put together. It was a great privilege to meet you and am very much looking forward to seeing you again next year.


I remember some years ago my sister telling me that she suddenly realised why some professional horsemen and women were loath to impart their knowledge to others and it went along the lines that they had had to work really hard and take all the falls and why should they give someone that hadnt been through this process the benefit of what they had learnt. I thought this was rather sad and felt at the time that it smacked of someone's ego taking over! Undoubtedly, it is important to realise that there is no quick fix or substitute for experience, time and patience - but there is a real need for teachers who can impart as you do a sound wisdom and practice for interacting with horses and I again thank you so much for what you have taught all of us.

In fact what I have learnt has already been put into action rather more instinctively than I could have imagined. On one occasion it involved loading a very reluctant horse into a horsebox which I must admit did have a very steep ramp! The owner and her friends had been trying to load it for some time without success. I wasnt really taking much notice as I was preoccupied doing other things but eventually wandered around to see what was happening. I suggested that perhaps I had a go ( I thought a change of face might do the trick!). I asked the owner and her friends to leave me to it as I sensed that the horse was playing to the audience and wasn't frightened about going into the box (he had done it many times before apparently). I then got him to focus on me (remembering what you said about leading the dance). I managed this by shaking the lead when his attention wandered and when I had his attention used the method I saw you use at Bromyard to encourage the horse to move forward towards the ramp and then onto the ramp and finally into the box. All the time I was very conscious that I needed to visualise and feel the horse actually going into the box. I think it took about five minutes in all to load him. My very strong sense was of all that I had learnt was falling into place. I have to say it was a truly inspiring moment. 

My other experience was with Sky my grey pony. I was riding him out on our local common. It was a rather windy day and Sky was very exuberant! We were jumping a few ditches which he was doing rather well. I spotted a very nice ditch and felt it would be ideal to finish our session on. I had forgotten however that after the ditch the ground fell away not steeply but enough to encourage Sky to gallop off. This isnt usually a problem but this time he caught me unawares and just took off. I tried to get him back but he wasn't responding. He even managed to get his head into the air and at this point I felt that I had really lost control. Suddenly and without thinking about it I shouted "ho" twice and almost instantaneously I regained my control of the pony, much to my relief and we continued on our way home without further mishap!!  

I am sure there are going to be many more challenges where the skills I have learnt will be invaluable

Well that is all my news for now. Please have a peaceful and enjoyable end to the year.


I attended my third Franklin experience at Waterstock, UK, in May this year and I am happy to announce my "coming out" as a convert.

The first time I saw Franklin, I was towed along by a friend. I expected to see just another American horse whisperer, this one with a schmaltzy line of patter and some rather alternative fans.  I expected the usual stuff which is inspiring at the time, but which once you get back home, you never seem to have the skill, persistence or access to the magic round pen to get any lasting benefit from. How wrong I was!


What I actually experienced was essentially so simple and so obvious it almost defies description. With a bit of thought, a shift in attitude and no necessity for a round pen, we could all do much of what Franklin does, to the enormous benefit of ourselves and our horses. I avoid being effusive, but I am tempted to use that much over utilized phrase, " life enhancing". I have most certainly experienced the beginning of learning process which is ongoing but which has already enormously changed and improved my attitude to my riding and my horses.

In the UK, we still seem to have a deeply held suspicion that our horses have an unwritten agenda to make their humans look foolish by being naughty or "taking the mickey". Franklin demolishes that myth. We also seem to be willing to spend vast amounts of money on equipment to make them go straighter, faster, slower, in a better outline or whatever, when actually, a small investment in a bit of human education from someone like Franklin would be so much more worthwhile.

Written testimonials and even the DVD of Franklin at work do not really do not do him justice. Anyone with an interest in improving their relationship with horses or their riding, should go out and see him in person. Even better, take your horse to one of his clinics as I did with Donald. You don't have to have any specific problem, in fact you'll probably learn more if you don't. Just go for the experience, its likely to be very moving.

Franklin's clinics are totally informal and relaxed, anyone can do the things he suggests, no one need ever worry about looking foolish and everyone will have enormous fun while learning things they will certainly use for ever.

Thank you Franklin.
Donald and I are both happier through having met you.

Name not available

A visit to one of Franklin's clinics is always worthwhile. It is not entertainment, it's a learning experience, demonstrating really useful practical exercises as well as some thought provoking lateral thinking for anyone with an interest in horses.

Sarah Hawkins,
British National Dressage Trainer, BHS Int.

Thanks for a lovely day watching your clinic in Warwickshire.

Both my daughter and I really enjoyed watching your work and it was wonderful to get the chance to see the children working with the horses. I would love the autistic children that I work with to have the same opportunity one day.

My daughter Jessica had a fabulous time, I love to encourage her to see methods such as yours for working with horses instead of being encouraged to follow the standard practices used by the pony club and similar groups. I would love to be able to teach her to ride using a more gentle, equine friendly program, but will have to hunt down someone to help me do this.


JessicaI took a lot from the day in general and also on a personal level. The advice you gave me for improving my own confidence really helped. When I thought more about what you said, it really made me realise that it was not confidence in the horse that was lacking, but confidence in my own riding skills. Before the horse that I had the problems with, I owned a few other horses, including a three year old which I bought virtually unbacked and brought on to medium dressage level, one day eventing and showjumping in classes jumping 4ft plus. I have also exercised numerous difficult hunt horses for their owners. I have worked within the British Dressage team, training on the lunge without stirrups/reins on a 4 year old 17.3hh stallion. I worked for Richard Davison (British dressage team member) schooling and exercising his young horses and exercising his olympic horses. All in all I figured that I must be fairly capable if so many people had such confidence in me! It then clicked that as my old horse used to explode until he managed to get you off, I had started to bail out at the safest and earliest point, I think over a period of 7 years trying to work with him it has caused me to think that I will be unseated by any sudden movement, when in actual fact it was a choice response to fall off rather than him succeeding in injuring me!

I still battle with my own guilt for selling this horse. He is in a riding school where he is happy trailing around the arena, never being pushed to do anything he doesn't want to do. But I feel like I failed him. He no longer has the individual love and attention he would have from a private owner and doesn't get supplements he needs. He is a big, beautiful animal that is very talented and very affectionate to handle. When I come across a clinic such as yours I always feel sad I missed the opportunity for him to work with someone like you. But my friends and family are glad I no longer have a potentially dangerous ride, they insist that the 7 years of trying and countless different tactics and chances offered to him where more than he deserved. I still believe that he had huge issues that should have been resolved, I bought him as a four year old that had just come from Ireland. He passed vettings and was angelic to try out, but when I got him home he ditched me before I could get my feet in the stirrups! I tackled this behaviour for years and did get high points-winning dressage and showjumping competitions, managing to get him to not only hack out, but hack out alone as well as in company, jumping jumps of heights I would never have dreamt of ever attempting. He was very affectionate and loved your company in the stable/field more so than another horse. But he would get me off at least once a month especially if you missed a day riding him. He would rather reverse through barbed wire and cut himself to shreds, rear over backwards etc than go forwards on a hack. He would put his back up at any given moment and buck, rear, bronc, bolt, around arenas, through ditches, through/over fences until he got you off his back. No particular trigger needed to set him off. Saddle fitting was fun, even if an experienced saddle fitter spent an hour checking that a saddle fitted him perfectly, you didn't know if he'd accept it until you got up on him, then it was a matter of wait and see if he threw you. Needless to say I came off numerous times before we found a dressage saddle and a general purpose saddle HE liked.

jessica againOn the positive side my new little mare is also beautiful, and incredibly sweet natured. She is just happy to be in my company and loves exploring the countryside with me. She is also exceptionally well behaved with Jessica. I am now slowly rebuilding my confidence in my riding skills. I know I more than capable of controlling my 15.1hh anglo arab that is safe as houses (incidentally, she is also now sound-no ringbone thankfully.). If she skips a few steps when horses gallop up, or does a tiny little fly buck in the winter before a gallop when she is excited, I know she is just happy and not intending to kill me!

Thank you for your help. If nothing else it has helped me get my head around my own little problems. It has also increased my desire to eventually provide children a way of learning to approach horses and learn to ride in a natural, kind program, and to give children such as those that I work with the chance to experience EFL.

I apologise for the length of my email, I hope it has not been too drawn out!

A huge thank you again, and I hope to meet you again in the future, hopefully with my mare this time.

Kind regards,


I took my young horse Sam, to see Franklin in October. We were suffering from his really bad experience with an impatient trainer pushing him too hard too fast and very effectively teaching him how to resist by rearing. Franklin was cool, kind and gentle. He very quickly had Sam's complete confidence. Before long they were calmly riding round with no sign of any resistance and then it was my turn. WOW! We rode round that arena as though he'd been doing it all his life. If you didn't know, you would never have guessed that it was his first time ever in an indoor school and with a clapping cheering audience as well! As most people in the audience knew mine and Sam's story, it was a hugely emotional and satisfying experience. There were tears and grins in equal numbers.

Thank you Franklin, you have restored my confidence in my horse and in my own ability to deal with him. Not only that, you have given us the tools to cope with the rest of the ups and downs we may meet as Sam develops from a very green youngster to a fully fledged competition horse.

On Franklin's return to the UK in May, I decided that as he had done such a good job with Sam, I would let him loose on my two daughters who are 5 and 7, very hyper- active and quite difficult to manage at times. Within minutes they were totally engaged, you could feel their concentration as Franklin showed Abbie (their pony) how to get and keep the pony's attention. It was lovely to watch. I'm sure they will remember their experience with a real live cowboy for years to come and if I ever want Abbie to follow an instruction I simply have to start it with "Franklin said". Works like a dream!

Very best wishes,

Kath, Abbie and Millie Wogan, UK

...I gained so much not just from Franklin’s work with the horses but the spiritual healing that surrounded the two days. The joy of this work is that we meet such lovely people with the same aims; mind you there are exceptions!

I loved meeting all of you and feel the richer for it.
Much love and blessings,

Pam Gale

I saw him (Franklin) at Fi and Cavos's on Friday evening and was impressed enough to follow him to Herefordshire to watch him again on Sunday.

Yes, very good, clearly a hugely experienced and competent horseman with a high level of instinctive 'feel' and from what I could tell, a 'very nice man' as well.

None of the hype or showboating of Parelli (which is good or not depending on who you are, personally I quite enjoy the 'show' and don't get why some people have a problem with it) this was a very 'low key, intimate, human' approach (and certainly none the worse for it).

All the usual concepts, advance retreat, pressure release, desensitising, focusing etc but its always interesting to get another different slant on things and Franklin has obviously 'served his time' and is fully aware of most of the 'natural' techniques ( I think I even saw a carrot stick in his tool kit) and refined what he feels works best for him (which is I guess what we all do). He put a lot of emphasis on tight circling to obtain focus on the horseman and has the gentlest of gentle approaches, (doesn't like throwing things ( I assume lead ropes etc) at his horse and doesn't like touching the horses face (which I tend to agree with at least until I have built up at least a level of intimacy with the beast when I like to see the face, particularly the nostrils). Talking of which Franklin does not use smell, but does use plenty of vocal ques.

I was very interested to note that he seems to do a lot of 'horse healing', (with kids etc.) and clearly has a strong interest in developing humans as well as animals.

In brief, all very good stuff, some points are always going to be more debatable than others but I didn't see anything that I would disagree with.

There is a very strong humanity about the man and he is hugely likeable. It was notable that he made great effort not to make any too negative comments about ... anyone, just that 'he didn't like to do it like that'.

He knows his stuff, ...and I liked him.


It was a pleasure to meet you and watch you work, it's nice to have confirmation that less is good. My mare is very complex and anything she does not understand or thinks of as pressure she grinds her teeth which is most distressing, I have been told to keep on till she stops but always felt this was wrong and have not gone down this path.

You may remember my story of getting my mare to walk into the water with me, and you also advised me on how to start riding her...

Thank you once again for such a wonderful evening and I look forward to your return to the UK.

May God and your guides watch over you


Thank you for a wonderful experience - [you] helped me to believe in myself again and trust my equine instinct.


Dear Ros,
I just wanted to say thanks so much for arranging for Franklin to visit Vowley Farm, he was everything you said he would be and more. I found his quiet manner and inner peace truly refreshing after seeing so many demonstrations that seemed to be mainly about entertainment. I had a lovely chat with him after the demo and felt like I was talking to an old friend who instinctively knew what I was trying to say.

Please do let me know if Franklin is doing further demos as I would very much like to see and speak to him again.
Best wishes, Susan.


LeannaI wish to thank you with joy in my heart for the wonderful demonstration that I was blessed to see, last month in England. It really filled my soul with a new way of seeing how to be around horses. It has also enabled me to offer the new horse that's just come into my life a gentle space, as your words are still singing in my heart about 'not being attached to the outcome', which is really helping is both.

I wish to share that your approach to horse-being really touched me, and I was infinately inspired by your gentle, ego-less manner. My heart was also touched by the way you acknowledged all the people too, you really made everyone feel valid and empowered. Thank you for helping me on my blessed path with horses, and people (I too wish to do demos in the future).

I tried to book a private consultation after seeing you through Karen, but unfortunately you were all booked up with more training sessions, I hope that they went really well, and that you are going to come the the UK again real soon, and honest, the winters here are not that cold, in case this helps speed up your next visit (but don't bother packing any shorts!)!

With my heart filled with love and gratitude, and well-wishes for your beautiful path with horses,

Leanna (Joseph and Trudy, my 4 legged mentors, also thank you with love)

I came to your course on the 17th +18th September (a two day way of the horse / training thru trust seminar.) I brought my horse Dutch who is 16.2 H H chestnut gelderlander. I came to your course for two reasons:

1. to gain trust with Dutch
2. to see what sort of things you did

I want to go into occupational therapy though music or horses. Before I came to your course I had only ridden Dutch twice; never in a group lesson and I only walked him and i'm usually really nervous....


JodiDutch is quite head shy and he is very nervous it has taken us two years to get him to where he is. We had to teach him how to be a horse again when we first turned him out he didn't know what to do. On the first day you asked me to lose school him and he was really good and you could see a lot of love between us especially when I came out of the round pen and Dutch tried to follow me. Then on the second day we all got on and were riding round. Dutch wasn't very relaxed but neither was I but after riding him for about 30 minutes you asked. "does anyone want to try canter?" I wasn't at all nervous after the first 5 minutes. I tried canter and it was GREAT!!!! but Dutch was tense and really quick then you asked me to go again but this time breathe and Dutch was completely different; slow and in an outline. I was so shocked I was crying. I would like to say a massive THANK YOU !!!!!!!! if it wasn't for you I don't think I would have been able to canter him at such an early stage. I didn't want to stop - Mum,Nan, Granddad and Aunty were so impressed when they saw me canter. It was the first time Nan and Granddad had seen me ride.

I know it might sound a bit weird but what things could I do to become able to help people through Equine Facilitated learning? I think it is a great thing you are doing and I would love to do it.

I have felt more trust between me an Dutch since your course.

Thank you so much