Guest Post: ESP: Equines, Suckers & Psychics at the Midwest Horse Fair
I do believe animals and people can, through intuition and body language, communicate with each other in significant ways.
I do believe that animals are reasonably intelligent, and feel complex emotions like sadness, jealousy and happiness.
I don’t believe that animals are just furry versions of human beings,with the associated mental capacity that entails.
I don’t believe that a horse can psychically tell you “I have an abscess in my hoof.”
I don’t believe that you can change a horse’s behavior by just talking to it.
…but that’s what Asia Voight wants you to believe.
Asia Voight is an “animal communicator” who claims to be able to psychically talk with animals (and rocks and trees and ghosts) through feelings, words and pictures. I attended her seminar “7 Steps to Communicating With Your Horse” during the Midwest Horse Fair. It was her tenth year appearing at the fair, and it seems as though everyone in the audience loved her. Why wouldn’t they? She tells people they can easily achieve their ultimate dreams.
Asia told us we could become “horse whisperers,” on par with top trainers, in minutes. She said we could all learn to fix our horses’ behavioral problems, including bucking, biting, rearing, kicking, jigging and bolting, in an hour or two. Asia even said what we wanted most to hear: that if we simply learned how, we could hear our horses say, “I love you.”
How, you ask? Why, simply by tuning into the “morphic field” that everything gives off. This allows a transference of energy between beings that can result in true communication. To prove this, Asia put up a group of pictures on her Power Point display, including a radio dial, a tuning fork diagram, a television set with “rabbit ear” antennae, and a diagram of a sound wave. “This isn’t just some woo-woo stuff,” she said, “it’s all been scientifically proven!”
Asia then told a story about how one of her horses had come up lame, and when the vet came out, said vet couldn’t find the problem. He recommended that Asia trailer her horse into a vet clinic and get some more extensive tests done.Asia, of course, thought this was just silly: “I’ll just talk to my horse and find out what the matter is!” So she did (I’m not sure why she didn’t do this in the first place), and the horse clearly told her, “I have an abscess.” (Gosh, I wish my horse was smart enough to understand complex concepts like “abscess,” and “get in the damn trailer so we can go home now.”) The horse went on to describe exactly where it was by psychically projecting pressure onto the appropriate part of Asia’s hand.Sure enough, the vet checked more thoroughly and found the abscess, making further tests unnecessary. “I’ve saved thousands of dollars in vet bills,” Asia claims, “and you can too!”
It’s every horse-lover’s dream: a quick-fix for all training problems, fewer vet bills, and the ability to really talk to your fuzzy buddy, just like in all the Disney movies.
Uh huh. Riiiiiight.
I am not calling Asia Voight a scam artist, or a fake. Doing so would open me up to defamation lawsuits. Besides, I can’t say she doesn’t talk to animals. Hey, I’m a believer in weird stuff. Not necessarily her weird shit, but whatever.
No, what I’m doing is calling Asia a jerk, an asshole, a bitch. Regardless of whether she has psychic powers or not, she’s encouraging people to take dangerous shortcuts. She tells people that they can magically learn in minutes what professionals take years to understand. She doesn’t say don’t take your horse to the trainer or vet, but strongly implies that it’s usually unnecessary– those people are only there to help you out with the technical details if you want, after you’ve figured out the source of your problems yourself with psychic voodoo. Asia also anthropomorphizes animals to a dangerous degree. Most rational people know that horses get grabby about food and treats because they’re designed by nature to snatch as many calories as possible for survival, and that this trait can be exaggerated when horses are spoiled, i.e. allowed to chew on your coat pockets and knock feed buckets out of your hands. However, at last weekend’s seminar, Asia explained to one lady that her horse was constantly mugging her for food because of “emotional issues,” like maybe a lack of one-on-one attention. This woman didn’t need to do any actual work, like improve the horse’s possibly dangerous ground manners– no, all she needed to do was find out exactly what “emotional issue” it was via psychic communication, then reassure the horse. And remember, Asia tells people that all behavioral problems can be solved this way! Bucking, biting, kicking– all you need is to chat with your horse,then fix their emotional problems! Because we all know, don’t we, that horses can be reasoned with, just like people!
Of course, not everyone can communicate with animals as well as Asia Voight can. Which is why, throughout her entire hour-long seminar, Asia Voight tries to sell you her services. If you’re having trouble connecting with the “morphic field” around your animal, you can pay here a mere $150 for a half-hour phone call, during which she will psychically connect with your critter via a photograph (actual contact with the animal is apparently unnecessary). You can also buy her books, make personal guidance appointments, take her classes, participate in group phone calls, download mp3s, go on dolphin bonding trips, etc. etc. etc. During the seminar, after she had passed out signup sheets for some of her services, she said, and I swear this is an exact quote: “If you act NOW, I’ll give you this FREE eco-friendly tote bag, a gorgeous bottle of essential oil, AND a free group phone session!!”
What’s truly amazing is how good Asia Voight is at what she does. Thousands of rational, intelligent people pay for her services every year. In fact, at the seminar I attended, she was introduced by the University of Wisconsin Madison Dean of Admissions. The Dean has a lot of Siamese cats, and explained that Asia had talked to them, and in doing so, gotten the Dean to open up about a whole bunch of personal problems (which the cats apparently knew about). This is where Asia is a genius. If you just say you’re talking to animals, a la Doctor Doolittle, people will call you nuts. Asia Voight is successful because she asks the right questions, gets people to open up, validates their feelings, and then tells them how special their relationships are with their animals. It’s not really about the actual talking-to-animals thing at all; it’s about selling the empathy, the emotion, the idea that humans and animals can connect intimately in way they’ve only dreamed about. People want to buy that so badly.
In fact, people want to buy that idea so badly that nearly everyone I spoke to about Asia Voight defended her. Well, not Asia precisely; what they were defending was the ideal in their heads. I guarantee you, among the first dozen commenters here will be several that are angry because I’m somehow demeaning their connections with their animals, or demeaning their animals’ abilities. No. Wrong. I said it at the beginning, and I’ll say it again; I have no trouble believing that animals are emotional, reasonably intelligent beings that we can have some significant communication with. I don’t even care if you want to talk to your pet Mr. Fluffybutt like a person, throw him birthday parties and over-analyze why he pooped over there instead of his usual place.
What I object to is people like Asia Voight, who take advantage of our emotional needs in order to sell us high-priced psychic visions that may even endanger those who listen to them. I call bullshit, dangerous bullshit, on the idea that psychic conversation, not hard work, training, and vet visits, is the best basis for fixing things. I object to the idea that animals are humans in fur suits, and find it frightening that some people really do believe Mr. Fluffybutt is biting you because of daddy issues.
Asia has an answer for doubters like me. She says that if non-believers don’t want to have the kind of intimate relationship psychic connections can provide, then that’s fine– but we should leave her followers alone to harmlessly commune with God’s creatures. I wish that was all that’s involved. Lord knows this is America, where we all have the right to throw our money at whatever we damn well please. But what happens when Mr. Fluffybutt never does get properly trained, because his owner is convinced more talk therapy is the solution? Will someone get hurt? Will he bite a vet, or a bystander? Will he be surrendered to a rescue because the day comes when no one can deal with him? Will he ever be happy, having few or no boundaries, rules or leaders in his life? Will he ever be taught to do a job that will make him feel like he has a purpose in life?
Guest post by the North Horse!
Posted on April 25, 2012, in Horse News, Misc Horsies and tagged animal communication, Asia Voight, Horse blog, Midwest Horse Fair Expo, North Horse blog, Snarky Rider. Bookmark the permalink. 26 Comments.