Silently Speaking ...

Messages Through Animal Communication

Love, Trust and Respect - David and Robin Brueckmann

By Susan Rifkin Ajamian


First Contact

Robin on David, bridleless, at Devon. Photo courtesy of Susan Ajamian

David is a 20-year-old Danish warmblood, whose registered name is Bordeaux. He and Robin have competed at Grand Prix in dressage, and sidesaddle in hunter classes. A few years ago they began to astound audiences by doing a Grand Prix dressage freestyle using a lariat neck ring instead of the customary double bridle.

Both Robin and David have overcome serious health problems. In 1991 David was seriously ill for many months. The respiratory damage has been permanent. In 1994 what should have been a minor injury to Robin's right foot became reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), a very painful and disabling neurological disease. Robin candidly chronicles their challenges and accomplishments in her book, When Two Are One.

David's interview began by animal communicator Anita Curtis asking Robin Brueckmann to describe David, so that Anita could picture him in her mind. This acts as a telepathic "phone number" to contact David. Robin's initial description of him was an accurate "awesome", but not quite what Anita meant. Robin went on to more helpfully describe David as a gelding, who is usually a chocolate or liver chestnut color, but by mid-summer is closer to buckskin, with a white star and white markings on all four legs.


Before she began asking the interview questions, Anita got the feeling from David that something was bothering his right front fetlock. Robin explained that he was sound, and was probably complaining about the wraps on his legs to keep the flies from bothering him. Anita said that the feeling she got was something rubbing, which confirmed Robin's explanation.

David's concerns about his fly-repellent "clothes" came up again at the end of the interview, when Robin asked about David's eyes, meaning to inquire about his cataracts. But David did not really address that question. Instead they got into a discussion about the fact that his right eye was watering from the flies bothering him. So Robin asked Anita to explain that if he would leave his fly mask ON, and not rub holes into it, it would function properly to keep the flies away.

May We Talk?

Anita explained to David that we wished to interview him for a magazine article. She asked his permission. His reply was "whatever you need to do, just go ahead". Robin said this was very much like his attitude toward her new massage machine, which he allowed her to use but did not really appreciate!

The Younger Ones

Robin and David talked about how much David enjoys watching the foals and mares in the field next to his. Anita said that David watches the five foals jump and leap. He sees their beauty and symmetry. He admires what they can do, their talent and their athletic ability (And he lusts after the mares!).

They also discussed his relationship with her five-year old dressage horse Anthony. Robin described how David stands by the gate for hours when Anthony is gone. Robin explained that even though David and Anthony are in an 85-acre field, they graze as if joined at the hip. Anita said that David sees himself as Anthony's protector. Robin agreed, and explained that Anthony grew up with a herd of sheep, and learned sheep body language and etiquette. Therefore Anthony gets himself into trouble regularly with the other horses by ignoring their warnings not to touch them.

Anita appreciated David's very dry sense of humor. David communicated to Anita how he watches Anthony getting into trouble, roars with laughter, and then jumps in to save him. David said that he has a whole new career now because of Anthony. Anthony has also improved David's sense of humor, and has given him a good role model for being funny.

The Freestyle

Anita Curtis and Legend's Desire, also known as B.B.Ā  Photo courtesy of Anita Curtis

The next interview questions were about the freestyle David and Robin perform without a bridle. Robin explained that she and David began using the TTEAM lariat neck rope after Robin saw the ropes at a barn where she was teaching a clinic in March 1995. The owner gave her one to take home, and she and David began using it. Their first public performance was at the Devon horse show grounds that July. Anita asked David, "What did you think about performing your freestyle without a bridle the first time you and Robin did this?" David replied, "What was the big deal? We were prepared." Anita said it didn't matter to David that there were camels and a Ferris wheel at the show; it was the same to him as if he had been in the backyard. His attitude was, "This is what we do, and we have done our homework."

Trust and Respect

Robin agreed, but said that this April at Equine Affaire as she rode David on sloping macadam, surrounded by people, two elephants suddenly appeared approaching them. Due to her disability she cannot use stirrups. Robin said that David stayed under her, despite this scary surprise. They went on to do their scheduled performance.

Anita explained that David's first inclination was to get "Outta here!" He didn't really want to stay. But Robin said she wanted him to, so he did because she told him it was OK. But he said that if it were anyone else, he would have left. Anita explained that Robin's self-assurance, and David's trust in her helped convince him he was safe. He told Anita, "Robin would not lead me into anything dangerous, but I thought she'd gone overboard this time."

Anita explained that David not only loves Robin, but more than that, he respects her. Robin said, "It goes both ways. David is awesome, so special." Robin said, "When I ride him we aren't separate." Through Anita, David said "Right, we are one."

David told Anita that he usually loves being the center of attention. But this time he kept thinking about the elephants. So he really needed the cues from Robin. Anita said that this time David wished they would play the freestyle music quickly, so he could leave. Robin agreed that David really wasn't sure he wanted to do their freestyle. So she sat back and said, "Well, just give it a try," and David said to her, "I will."

The Equine Audience

The people who watch the freestyle without a bridle are enthralled, awed, enthusiastic, and often moved to tears. So we were curious about what the horses who saw them thought. Anita asked David, "What did the other horses at your first performance say to you about having a neck ring instead of a bridle?" He said, "The dummies never noticed." Robin said that some of them did, and shied away from him. David then told Anita there were three who observed the ring, but none said anything like, "What are you doing wearing a neck ring?" Anita said they just passed it off like, "I don't want to hear it, and don't tell me." Robin was surprised. She thought the horses would like it, but Anita explained that they don't understand it. Robin agreed that made sense, since David originally didn't understand it either.

David told Anita that none of the show horses asked him what the neck ring does or how it works. They just said, "Go away, now; please leave." David was so sure of himself, with such high self-esteem, that he just marched past them and said, "Idiots!" David thought they were beneath him, so he did not worry about their opinions. Robin said, "He is so noble," and Anita agreed.

Broadcasting Their Message

Some animals are very proud of being featured in a book or on television. Since her book When Two Are One is about Robin's relationship with David, and all their trials and triumphs, we wondered what David thought of it. Anita asked David, "How do you like having a book about your partnership with Robin?" David explained that he was into the feeling of what he and Robin have together. It was clear from David's answer that he was not excited simply because he was in a book, but rather that he was delighted that Robin's book was broadcasting her message about their relationship. Robin explained that she wants people to understand their own horses, and to learn about their horses by paying attention to her story.

Sydney 2000

Anita told David that Robin has qualified to represent the USA in the Dressage competition at the Paralympics in Sydney, Australia at the end of this summer. She will have to ride a borrowed horse, and he will stay home. So Anita asked him, "Do you have any advice for Robin, or the horse who will be her competition partner?" David said that he did not have any advice for Robin because she already knows what to do. But his advice for the horse was "Listen! Pay attention!"

Sally Swift and Linda Tellington-Jones

Sometimes when we ask a simple question, we get a profound answer. The next question for David was, "You and Robin have been invited to do your freestyle at the International Centered Riding Symposium this autumn. Sally Swift will be there, along with Linda Tellington-Jones. Do you have any messages for them?" His response was, "They have received their messages from someone, one of the few, who is even above me." David feels that they are well qualified and they have opened many doors. Robin agreed. She has apprenticed with Sally Swift, and is one of the few Senior Centered RidingĀ® Clinicians.

David went on to tell Anita that there are only about ten people in this world that he really, truly admires. Sally Swift, Linda Tellington-Jones, and Robin are the top three. He said, "Sally and Linda have received their messages, I don't have to tell them anything."


Since David used to live in Pennsylvania near where the International Centered Riding Symposium will be, we wondered if there was anyone he would like to come visit him while he was up there. He told Anita, "No," he didn't need anybody. Whoever comes in the door is fine with him. Gifts of carrots would be nice. But then Anita said there seemed to be something he liked better than carrots, because he showed her a picture of little black things. Robin explained that he loves raisins!

And Finally

We usually try to end any animal communication session by asking if there is anything else our friend would like to say. David was very gracious. He told Anita that he does appreciate being interviewed for this article.


Robin Brueckmann is an instructor, judge, trainer, competitor and clinician. She is a Level IV Senior Centered Riding Clinician, Certified ARICP Instructor Educator, British Horse Society AI, AHSA and CEF "S" dressage judge, and recipient of a USDF Gold Medal. She has trained several horses to the FEI level of dressage, including her Grand Prix horse, Bordeaux (a.k.a. "David"), with whom she gives exhibitions of a Grand Prix level freestyle - without a bridle.

For many years she was an instructor at Thorncroft Therapeutic Horseback Riding, Inc., in Malvern, PA before moving to North Carolina. Robin is also author of the books, When Two Are One and Dressage in a Sidesaddle. These books can be purchased from Namaste, P.O. Box 960, Summerfield, NC 27358. For price information call 336-643-8490, or e-mail

In July 1999 Robin won a Gold Medal in the Freestyle, along with winning her warm-up class and a Bronze Medal at the World Dressage Championships for Disabled Riders in Denmark, and when this went to press Robin had been selected for the USA Team for the 2000 Paralympic Games. The U.S. Cerebral Palsy Athletic Association (USCPAA, 25 West Independence, Kingston, RI 02881) has a fund to which tax-deductible contributions can be made to support Robin's competition expenses. Please remember to put her name in the memo portion of your check.

Anita Curtis has had the ability to communicate with animals since her childhood. She has been a professional animal communicator since 1992, and is also a Reiki Master. She began studying animal communication techniques with Dr. Jeri Ryan. Anita then continued her studies with Penelope Smith and learned to teach animal communication workshops. She lives in Pottstown, PA, but has taught workshops across the country to hundreds of students, including Robin. Many of her students have gone on to their own careers as animal communicators, including Kathy George who will be featured in a future interview article.

In addition to her private consultations, Anita lectures and has written two books, Animal Wisdom and How to Hear the Animals. Anita has been on radio and television, and was featured in the videotape Psychic Connection, as well as in numerous magazine and newspaper articles. Anita can be contacted at 610-327-3820 (M-F, 10-4) to schedule workshops, consultations, or to purchase her books. She also has a website:

"International Centered Riding Symposium 2000: Mind, Body, Horse" will be held Nov. 17-19, 2000, at University of Delaware, Newark, DE and L.G. Equestrian Center, LLC, Port Deposit, MD. For more information see, or contact: Jane Ramsey, Symposium Coordinator, by fax or phone (after 4p.m.) at 410-398-2715, or e-mail Or write to: Jane Ramsey, 624 Leeds Rd., Elkton, MD 21921.

About the author:

Susan Rifkin Ajamian is a freelance writer who specializes in complementary therapies, which she also uses to help her husband, her 21-year old horse, and their 20-year old cat. She has attended several of Anita Curtis's animal communication workshops and has also studied Reiki.