“Dawn trusts her instincts, her implicit knowing. Her understanding of the true nature of horses and how she keeps her herd holds the space for lasting and profound healing”. – Kathleen Barry Ingram, from her foreword to The Empowered Herd
Dawn Oakley-Smith has owned horses for more than 40 years. As for most people, her trajectory through the world of horsemanship followed a traditional path at first. When in her thirties she took a job as yard manager at a traditional riding stables. Although she formed a close friendship with the owner of the stables, it was here that she learned how she did not want to treat horses. As she says, “Before you can know how you want to do a thing, it’s useful to know how you do not want to do a thing!”
In 2002 she trained with Intelligent Horsemanship, and also attended several Pat Parelli workshops.
In 2009 she was introduced to The Tao of Equus and everything fell into place. In 2011 she qualified with IFEEL Qualifications, and is now a senior member of the teaching faculty.
Where did it all start?
Heartshore Horses was founded in 2003 by Dawn. A lifetime spent with horses, Dawn’s sensitive, therapeutic approach is the total opposite of traditional horsemanship methods making her an unusual horsewoman in the Gloucestershire landscape.
Heartshore is a place where the learning and development of people and horses are intertwined, the horses revealing a different perspective on life as we know it. Dawn and her family work in a variety of ways, all centred around the wisdom of horses and what they can teach us about ourselves.
Where did the idea to write a book come from?
Dawn began writing The Empowered Herd in 2017 whilst taking a sabbatical in the States. It was initially conceived to be a handbook for how to keep horses in as empowered a way as possible, if they are being asked to join us as co-facilitators of EFHD. However as the spirit of the book emerged, it became a weaving of her personal journey, with the practical experience she had gleaned from her decades of living with horses.
What is the book about?
The Empowered Herd is the culmination of years of equine experience that offer us another way to communicate and build our relationship with horses. Dawn brings us a rare and sensitive opportunity to listen and respond to the inaudible voices of the herd. Her perceptive and intuitive work provides a backdrop for creating a deeper and more equitable interdependence with the herd that supports both human and horse. Dawn’s perspective offers a new and fresh way to relate with horses, provides guidance on how to assess their needs and opens the door for their freedom and independence whilst creating a deep, long-lasting relationship based on mutual honouring and respect.
Keen to learn more or to purchase a copy?
To get your hands on a signed copy of The Empowered Herd, simply visit Dawn’s website below and email her directly.
To find out more about Dawn, her work, or to purchase your copy visit – heartshorehorses.com