The Wizards of Oz

(Franklin Levinson down under 2013)

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I have been back to Corfu about two weeks now and feel mainly over the jet lag. It is a good 24 hours of travel to get from Melbourne back to here. Sitting like a sardine in a can, in the back of a packed plane, for a seemingly endless time, is no fun. But I have to say, it was worth it. This Aussie adventure was extra special as all the Equine Facilitated Learning clinics were attended by great people all dedicated to this wonderful work with humans and horses.

The first level1 EFL program at the wonderful Jabiru Bush camp near the Sunshine Coast in Queensland was an adventure in itself. I had not experienced any of the Australian Bush before so this was a real adventure. Wizards Rhiannon Hutchings and her partner Richard Kamphenkel have created a magical environment that is certainly unique and very different for me and my EFL comrade and co-facilitator Elaine Hughes. We quickly felt like family thanks to our hosts and so did all the participants. Having a pet possum residing in the open air kitchen was very entertaining for all.

The first Level 2 clinic was held at Tooradin Estate owned by good friend Sally Francis. Cathy Prior (wizard), Elaine (Oracle), Sally Francis (another wizard) and I provided this inaugural event. There was a lot of information that had to be provided in a short 2-day format and it was decided that all future Level 2 programs be taught over a three day period. Even so, due to exceptional effort by the wizards – including sessions by the latest wizard to join the team, Maggie Broom – all the information got put forth and everyone declared the event a success. Having some enlightened and skilled participants also helped!

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For a third time, dear friends Kevin and Aileen Marshall (more wizards) hosted Elaine and I at their lovely home and farm in Maryborough, Vic for some EFL related horsemanship for RDA volunteers and then several days of straight horsemanship (Training Through Trust). Many old friends who had worked with me before were there. Again and again I receive evidence that success with horses is a life enrichment endeavor. Everyone made a lot of progress. There was more success at Westernport, Vic where another EFL Facilitator (trainee wizard) and RDA Coach Kate Makrikostas organized two days of enlightened Horsemanship and some incredible progress was achieved by adults and children alike.

Elizabeth Denniss (Level 1 facilitator and trainee wizard) set up a Level 1 Facilitator clinic at the Warren Equestrian Centre, near Bridgetown, WA to train facilitators for her forthcoming EFL program. Elaine and I have traveled together so much that it is a bit like the Abbott and Costello road show with lots of laughs. It only adds to the entertainment when Sally is on the road with us. A packed seminar with lots of horses and laughs occurred. The weather continued to cooperate quite nicely and we all made many new friends and EFL gained some terrific new recruits. A big thank you to Elizabeth is in order. A super job by a terrific lady.

Sally, Elaine and I went to Carine RDA Centre, Perth for a day long demonstration of EFL and related horsemanship hosted by another EFL facilitator, wizard and good friend, Julie Nicholson. This topped off an incredible Down Under adventure for me of teaching what I love (horsemanship and EFL), making many new friends, visiting with old friends and….being with the Wonderful Wizards of Oz.

For me, guiding an Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL) session, as well as teaching the process, is a bit like being the Wizard of Oz. If you remember the movie, the wizard simply empowered Dorothy, the scarecrow, the lion and the tin man to realize that they already had their hearts desires within them and that they were already powerful. For me this is the best goal of EFL, empowerment. Consider allowing and supporting empowerment of all involved, including the horses, to be a main agenda for your EFL program.

AEFLFranklin Levinson