Do They Really Talk To Horses?

Exploring the claims of animal communicators

by Marta Williams

Photo courtesy  of Barbara Chasteen

Animal communicator Marta Williams says that the biggest obstacle to learning animal communication is allowing yourself to believe that you (yes, you) can do it.

Animal communicators are cropping up everywhere lately - in magazines, on late night TV and on the radio. By now most people have heard that there are those who claim to be able to "talk" to animals using intuition, often doing it over the telephone, without even seeing the animal. Until recently, concepts like intuition and psychic ability have been ridiculed, but lately, these attitudes seem to be changing. Magazines and books now encourage CEOs and business entrepreneurs to use intuition to 'gain the competitive edge.' A study from Harvard Business School shows that business owners credit 80 percent of their success to acting on their intuition. Like organic food and chiropractors - also once considered "weird" - intuition is becoming popular.

There are now hundreds of professional animal communicators. Thousands of people have taken workshops to learn the techniques of communicating with animals. The idea is compelling because animal communication can be uncannily accurate and effective for addressing all manner of animal-care problems. Beyond that, I believe that the concept of animal communication stirs a memory alive in all of us of a time, when, as very young children, we actually could talk to the animals.


Admittedly, I speak with a bias, since I am a professional animal communicator. However, when I started out in this field I was no different from many of you - an animal lover, curious about animal communication, secretly hoping it was real. I learned the skill of animal communication as an adult, just as you can. I was somewhat handicapped in learning to talk to animals because I was trained as a scientist and have worked most of my life as a biologist and environmental scientist. This made it hard for me to believe in animal communication, even though I was getting accurate results. It took months of repeated, verifiable experimentation before I became convinced that animal communication could be highly accurate and that even I could do it.

Not So Extraordinary

After ten years of working in this field, I now see animal communication as a natural ability - like being able to smell or see that we are born with. Because our culture doesn't value intuitive ability, as we grow up we learn to suppress it, but we never lose it - it just goes underground. Nearly everyone has some story, about an interaction with a person or an animal, that cannot be explained by logic and seems to involve some form of intuition. When the Natural Horse editor and I were discussing this article, she related such a story about her niece, Heidi.

It happened nearly three years ago, in the months leading up to Christmas. Heidi, three at the time, began talking about how she was going to get "Petsy" for Christmas. No one knew who or what Petsy was, but the family knew that Heidi wanted a pet of her own. If anyone asked what she wanted for Christmas, she consistently replied, "Petsy." When Christmas Day came and the presents (including a stuffed cat) were opened, Heidi was despondent. When asked why, she explained that she "hadn't gotten Petsy." She said, "Petsy's not a toy; Petsy's a real cat."

On a whim her aunt showed her a book of cats and asked what Petsy looked like. Heidi found several pictures that looked, to her, like Petsy in one way or another. After the holidays, they took Heidi down to the local animal shelter. Heidi marched in and went right up to a cat who simultaneously headed right over to her. The two bonded instantly. "This," Heidi declared, "is Petsy!" Petsy had frost bite on all four paws and her nose. Heidi's parents tried to get her to look at another cat, but she insisted this cat was Petsy. For a long while afterward, Heidi was the only one who could pet Petsy or pick her up. Heidi has always called Petsy her "Little Princess" and Petsy sleeps on Heidi's bed every night (and always has).  

Heidi and Petsy. Animal communication is a natural ability that we are born with.

From the Horse's Mouth

What convinces people and encourages them to try a consultation with an animal communicator are the stories of accurate details a communicator has gotten about an animal without ever even seeing the animal.

For example, a woman recently phoned me, distressed about her gelding, Tequila, who kept bucking when ridden and was becoming stubborn and headstrong. She had been advised to sell him and get a more tractable horse. As she described the horse and the situation it became clear to me that Tequila was in some kind of pain. I told her that I would try to find out where the pain was coming from.

When I tuned in psychically to Tequila and asked him about his pain (by mentally sending the question), I heard these words mentally in response: "My rib, rib, rib is OUT!" (He had obviously been waiting a long time for someone to ask him what the problem was.) I then asked him mentally to show me the location of the pain. With eyes closed, I received a visual image of Tequila turning his head and neck to the left and pointing with his nose to a spot behind his left shoulder. When a chiropractor subsequently examined Tequila, he found the fourth rib on the left side was painfully displaced. Once Tequila's rib was back in place, he became his old self and was easy to ride again.

In another case, a client asked me to tell her about her horse's past. What she didn't tell me was that she already knew all the details of his life. When I asked the horse, Smokey, to describe his past experiences, he showed me a picture of a cowboy riding him amid lots of cows and dust, and conveyed the impression of working all the time. Smokey said he got really tired, was worked too hard and did not like the cowboy. I got the feeling that the ranch was located in Oregon. Then Smokey showed me a picture of a young girl with blonde hair. He told me she was nice but that she didn't pay much attention to him or see him very often. Finally he told me of coming to his current person, whom he loved. The client was able to confirm every detail I obtained from Smokey about his past.


How Does It Work?

Photo courtesy of Barbara Chasteen

Animal communication can help solve behavioral and other problems while bringing you and your horse closer together.

Animal communication works through the use of those little known intuitive or psychic abilities that I maintain all of us have. One psychic ability you might be able to recognize in yourself is the ability to know how another person or animal is feeling on an emotional and/or physical level without any outward sign or indication. Many people tell stories of getting a hunch that something is wrong with a loved one and calling up to find out that there has been an accident or something unpleasant has happened.

Animal communicators have refined this "psychic sense" to be able to tell accurately, even from a distance, how an animal feels emotionally and physically. Checking on the physical body in this way is called medical intuition.

Communicators are also able to tune in mentally to an animal and talk mind-to-mind, or telepathically, actually "hearing" words and phrases coming from an animal's mind into our own. Another common psychic sense we use is the ability to see images, sent by the animal, that tell a story. For example, I ended a session with a mare I was talking with by asking her if there was anything else she wanted to tell me. She immediately flashed me a picture of a medium-build man with dark hair, and said, "I miss Charlie." Her owner revealed that Charlie, a man fitting that description, was the mare's previous trainer.


How Do You Know You're Right?

In order to communicate with an animal at a distance, I obtain its name, age, sex, breed and description. Then I close my eyes, form a mental picture of the animal, say its name and begin communicating, all the time remaining very focused, calm and receptive.

New clients are often incredulous when I describe how I work. "How do you know you have the right horse?" they ask, and, "How will I know if you're right?" My response is that I've been doing this long enough that I've proved it to myself, and suggest they suspend judgement until I relate what their animal has to say. Usually one session is all it takes for them to become believers in this kind of communication.

That is not to say that animal communication is 100 percent accurate. I know my own accuracy varies on occasion, and I believe the same is true for other communicators and psychics in general. Some issues, like finding lost animals and delving into the past, can be more difficult than others.


How Animal Communication is Used

Bear, a true partner through communication.

The animal communicator is often the court of last resort, contacted after all else has failed to help a sick or ill-behaved horse. In such instances, finding out what the horse has to say can be the key to resolving the problem. In one such case, a client called me after consulting numerous veterinarians and trainers. Her horse, Red, would not accept a bridle and was, at that point, dangerous to handle. A number of people had suggested violent solutions to Red's problems - in other words, ways to "show him who's boss."

When I talked to Red he told me he wanted to go along with his person, but that he had such intense pain in his neck and mouth it was making him crazy. The sense of pain I got was severe - it felt as if his bottom teeth were growing into his upper gums. I advised her to get a massage specialist to work on Red's jaw and neck muscles and an equine dentist to check out his teeth. Fortunately, she took my advice. Red's teeth were worse than I described. He had to have major dental work, and, according to the equine bodyworker, his neck was the worst she had ever seen. Now out of pain, Red accepts the bridle and is a loving, safe companion.

Animal communication is also useful on a day-to-day practical level, to find out how a horse feels about training, riders, feeding, other horses/animals, location, trailering, shoeing, saddles/gear and general health. Animal communicators cannot make medical diagnoses, but we can relate impressions from your horse that may be helpful for your horse's health-care practitioners.


Contacting a Communicator

The best way to find a communicator is to ask your friends whom they have used and liked. As with any service, quality varies. If you do an internet search for "animal communication" and "interspecies telepathy," you will find many websites dealing with animal communication. You might also read Arthur Myers' book, Communicating with Animals, which features interviews with over 40 animal communicators in the U.S.

If you are trying someone out for the first time, you might limit the consultation to an inexpensive short session. You should feel positive during a consultation and end up with useful, helpful information. If this doesn't happen, then you don't have the right communicator, and will need to do more research and credential-checking.


Can Anyone Learn To Do This?

Anyone can learn to communicate in this way. Humans, like other animals, are born with psychic ability. If you love animals, then on some level, even unconsciously, you are already communicating with them this way. As a teacher, I see my job primarily as helping people overcome the barriers to believing they can communicate with animals (although technique counts too, and practice is essential). Taking a workshop is the best way to begin learning animal communication, but for those who can't, I suggest a two-step program:

First, as an experiment, start believing whole-heartedly that your horse (or other animal) understands everything you say or think to him just as well as a human would. Whether you talk out loud or mentally direct words to him, whether you're near or far, he will get it. This doesn't mean your horse will respond to your thoughts like a robot; the idea is to really believe that he does hear you and is on a par with you, emotionally and intellectually.

After practicing for awhile and having some long chats with your horse, try closing your eyes and asking if he or she has a question for you. If a question comes to mind, no matter what it is, assume it came from your horse and answer it uncritically, as best you can. Many of my clients have had amazing results by using these simple techniques; here two such stories.



A client sent me this story about her gelding named Paco:

The first couple of times I fed apple-cider vinegar and garlic to Paco I noticed that he did not eat all of his grain and that he didn't seem fond of the taste. The fourth time, after I had given him this mixture in his grain I noticed he hadn't finished it and had walked away to go eat his hay. I was standing outside his stall looking down into his feed bucket and then I looked at him. He turned to look at me and walked over to see what I was doing. (He was now standing over his feed bucket facing me.) I said, "Paco, you need to finish your grain. I know it may taste funny, but it has stuff in it that is really going to help you feel better. It's also going to help heal the sores on your ankles." Paco then looked down into his feed bucket, looked back at me and proceeded to eat the remaining grain. At first I couldn't believe what I was seeing. After a couple of seconds of not knowing what to say, I told Paco he was a good boy, and that this stuff really was going to help him feel better. I am happy to report that from that day forward he eats all of his "funny-tasting" grain.



A client called to find out if I could help her horse Bear be more relaxed at dressage shows. He did well in practice, but invariably fell apart at the shows. During the consultation with Bear it became clear to me that both the horse and rider had anxiety about competing, yet neither had any real attachment to winning. My client confirmed this, at least on her end. I suggested that she start talking to Bear about all this. At the shows I advised her to dose Bear and herself with Rescue Remedy (a flower essence remedy that has a calming effect), work on slowing and deepening her breathing when riding and continually remind Bear that if he tried his best and they had fun that was all she cared about.

At their next show she implemented this program. While saddling she kept saying to him, "Don't be nervous; it's just a warm-up." She said Bear walked out of the barn soft in his back, with his head low and his ears relaxed, and led the way for the other horses who were nervous. The warm-up went smoothly. She reassured him mentally and sent him the thought that if he did his best it would be good enough for her. None of his old bad habits from previous shows surfaced. By the end of the show she and Bear won two First Places, one Second Place and the high point ribbon. As they exited the arena, they received a standing ovation from all their friends who knew of Bear's previous difficulty in showing. Everyone described Bear as "beaming."

Now my client tries to listen to Bear when things go wrong, and read the signals he is giving so she can change what he doesn't like. In her words, "I am trying to make him feel like a partner instead of a slave. Now I can bring out the horse I always knew was in there."



About the Author

Marta Williams is an animal communicator who lives in Sonoma County in Northern California. She provides consultations by telephone and can interview and converse with all species of animals. Marta also teaches workshops monthly in Sonoma County and travels in the U.S. and abroad to teach people the techniques of animal communication. If you are interested in a consultation or would like to host a workshop in your area, you may contact her by telephone at 707-829-8186 or through her website at Marta has a BS degree is Resource Conservation and an MS degree in Biology. Before becoming an animal communicator, she worked for many years as a wildlife biologist, a wildlife rehabilitator, and an environmental scientist, involved in enforcing and implementing environmental laws and regulations.


Suggested Readings:

Kinship with all Life - J. Allen Boone (1954, in print)

Conversations With Animals - Lydia Hiby (1998)

Spoken in Whispers - Nicci Mackay (1997)

And the Animals will Teach You - Margot Lasher (1996)

Animals as Teachers and Healers - Susan Chernak-McElroy (1995)

Communicating with Animals - Arthur Myers (1995)