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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!

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About snarkyrider

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Posted on April 25, 2012, in Horse News, Misc Horsies and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 26 Comments.

  1. Errr, was this copy-pasted from somewhere? There are a lot of weird missing spaces (perhaps from line breaks)

    But oh god, morphic field?! I thought that was something Terry Pratchett made up! The woo knows no limit. I especially love that she uses the photo method, you can make many more idiot-dollars per hour that way.

  2. We are an instant gratification society. The idea of working for months and years to train a horse correctly, to create a partnership is an alien concept. And not just in the animal owner’s world. It is why people flock to animal communicators, NH marketers, 30 day wonder trainers and all sorts of people who offer no effort short cuts.
    Diet pill, anyone?

  3. Heaven forbid you actually have to *work* and *train* to get a good equine citizen…

    *facepalm*

  4. Yes, we can read body language of animals and they can read ours. Can animals think and communicate in English? No.
    We had someone similar come out to our barn to look at an OTTB. She held “medicines” up to him and he “told” her what he needed! WTF?

  5. “I don’t believe that you can change a horse’s behavior by just talkingto it”

    I do, but not in the way that lady was describing. You can’t tell me you’ve never spoken calmly to your horse when it was freaking out at a plastic bag, tree branch waving in the wind, or some other unknown, horse-eating monster.

    I think talking to your horse helps build a bond and gets them to trust you. I don’t think it matters what you say, but the tone of your voice makes all the difference.

    • *nods* Yup, many times I had to use the old “knock it off you silly horse, it’s just a tree/bag/wind…” tone. I don’t think it’s just the tone. Then can also sense if we remain calm when something “spooky” happens and i think that helps them calm down too.

  6. *sigh*
    This is what gives energy workers etc. a bad name. It’s a great tool for healing. It does not replace training, it does not replace proper medical care.

    Although, I do agree that an animal can tell us what is wrong with them to an extent. When my horses are worked on by my Amazing reiki practioner, NHT and rain drop therapist they generally point with their noses at areas (usually repeatedly because we’re daft as floor boards) or they position their bodies at the area to us (again repeatedly till we get it).

    Again, this is a tool to be used in conjunction with other tools.

    I’d love that diet pill if you got one to spare.

    • As a former massage and body worker, there’s definitely truth to energy work. I used polarity therapy and cranio-sacral work extensively in my practice on humans. Most people didn’t believe the written principal of energy work, but they usually agreed that it still felt good and helped. I’m 100% with you, Charlotte. It can’t hurt, but it doesn’t replace training or medical care.

  7. This reminds me, I’m running out of Snake Oil.

  8. My horse told me where he hurt- he lifted his front right and nosed at his foot. There was a large rock wedged under his shoe. I didn’t need a $150 phone call to figure that one out!

    • Damn, I wish the horses I ride would do this XD The way I can tell when there’s a giant stone wedged in their hoof somewhere? “No I’m not lifting it up and you can’t make me!” I mean, I kind of understand, because even in people, the instinct is to not let anyone touch something that hurts, and it probably hurts more (temporarily) while somebody’s trying to get the damn thing out than if it was just left there, but still…

  9. Reminds me of the Southpark episode: “The Biggest Douche in the Universe” about John Edwards.

  10. My issue with the topic is that most people come away from such clinics remembering such a small part of it. Then, they go home and try to apply whatever they “learned” on their horse. How many middle aged ladies bought a carrot stick and went home to “play games” with their horses after a PP clinic, yet have yet not dared get on the thing five years later. Most miss the point. If you go into Asia’s clinics as entertainment, instead of fact, then it’s fun. But don’t call your vet when your horse is sick because you are waiting for him to tell you what’s wrong, is nuts. I, of course, had a AC talk to my stallion, in person in fact. She told me that when he was gelded that the vet didn’t use enough sedation drugs…. I rest my case. ( My horse is a stallion.)

  11. Hey guys, I’m the writer of this post! Quick correction: The lady who introduced Asia Voight was Jilly, the Director of Admissions at UW Oshkosh, not UW Madison. Sorry! Also, if you want to watch video of Asia doing psychic readings for horse owners, head on over to my blog: http://mytevisjourney.blogspot.com/2012/04/esp-equines-suckers-and-psychics-at.html

  12. Lol, I had an animal communicator come out to do a reading on my horse for $20… my mare was determined to let her know that 1) she really wanted to go on a trail ride… but could not guarantee that if she dumped me she would not bolt off 2) she would only be ok with me braiding her tail (we show in the hunters) for a show if she could have ribbons braided into it. when I said that wasn’t allowed she appeared a little offended 3) between who she liked more (me, her long-term free leaser, or my trainer who happens to be her long-term owner, and the person who started her) she exclaimed that “trainer makes me do things, and you let me do things”. when I asked if I could “make her do things” under saddle, she replied with “nooo, you don’t do that” and 4) that she thinks I’m too “touchy-feely” in the affection department, but she puts up with it cuz I give her a lot of cookies.

    Basically it was awesome.

  13. There was a lady at the track that used to pay a horse psychic to talk to her horses the night before they would race. All she had to do was give her the horses name, $200 and she would communicate with the horse from her home. She had people shoveling out $200 a pop and she doesn’t even have to leave her house to do it. I think I may have to look into this career!!!!

  14. ” Thousands of rational, intelligent people pay for her services every year. ”
    Um, no. I’m sorry but anyone who pays money for this kind of crap (and not just for fun or out of curiosity) is neither rational nor intelligent. Or at least they’re not using the rational part of their brains when they decide to give money to this woman.

  15. I once had an AC/farrier “communicate” with my gelding. Within 15 minutes she triggered him into every bad behavior I had spent 2 years breaking him of (charging over people, kicking, biting, and striking out with his fronts), and when she wouldn’t back off he broke loose from her and ran around behinnd me to hide. I got after him and asked her to move away, at which point she informed me that he felt I was “abusive and insensitive to him,” and that he “didn’t feel safe” with me. Mhmmm… that’s why he ran AWAY from you and hid behind me like a toddler. She then offered to take him to her “rescue” where he could be rehabbed, and tried to sell me her book. I paid her for the two feet she somewhat managed to trim, and told her I’d think about it. I thought about it all the way up to the barn owner’s house to put it in writing that that crazy woman was never to come near my horse again.

    • I had to laugh at this one , too funny. We had a crack pot like this at my barn. I came in one day and she has my Arab in the barn “working on him” I flipped. Where do you get off even touching my horse let alone work on him. She takes a half hour to get hers into the barn because she lets him come with her when he wants too. Insert eye roll here LOL

  16. Sort of Anonymous

    I have had an AC read my current horse, mostly for entertainment value. I must admit that the AC we had did VERY accurate readings on the different horses, without fore knowledge. I definitely view it as entertainment, but she WAS eerily accurate.

    I remember in college reading a book on how to better communicate with animals. I will say the horses had some funny things to “say”. I think it is important to realize that the horse isn’t ‘talking’ in English, he is just communicating in pictures and the relaxed and receptive brain reinterprets it to English. But again, I would never allow any of my admittedly “imagined” communications to override good training and common sense.

    At the very least, it may keep people more engaged to the horse, more relaxed as they laugh at what they are “hearing”, or just not worrying about potential problems.

  17. WoW… I was in the expo hall when Ms. Voight was done doing some sort of talk or clinic.. or whatever she does. The line of middle aged women made a check out line from a PP weekend event look pale in comparison.
    They all stood in line to either ask a question OR get her autograph.
    Eeek.. you won’t catch me doing some loopy fruit stuff like that.

  18. I wanted to read this article, but after several missing spaces my OCD brain said “NOOOOO!!!” So I had to stop. 😦

  19. Here’s my feeling.

    There are two kinds of animal communicator. The first are quacks taking advantage of people’s gullibility.

    The second type are also taking advantage, but not of their customers’ gullibility, rather of the fact that so many riders these days are middle aged weekend warriors. MANY riders do not have the time to spend studying and observing horses and learning what they are ‘saying’, so they hire an expert to tell them.

    I’ve found that if you pay attention, you don’t need an AC…you can do it yourself, but it requires a lot of attention and focus and many years spent around horses. I can pick up on lameness or pain in a horse very easily, either from the ground or up top. And when a horse misbehaves my first thought (unless it’s that stubborn Quarter Horse) is ‘what is this horse trying to tell me’. Most of the time, there is SOMETHING. If you think, analyze, observe…you really can ‘listen’ to what your horse is ‘saying’, whether it’s ‘My left fore is a bit sore’ or ‘I really don’t like this saddle. Got a different one?’.

    The fallacy is thinking horses can read Latin.

  20. I have found this method of horse interaction to be fascinating. I have to assume that somewhere out there really is a person who can do this. I mean, realistically, I’ve had horses figure me out pretty darn fast– surely somewhere is a person who can figure horses out just as fast?

    Where I stumble over this concept is the idea of a phone call. And… a picture. What happens if I give her the wrong picture? Does it still work? What if I give her a picture of a flower, but I rub the picture all over Soxy before I send it to the woman? What if the picture really is of Soxy, but it was taken by my other horse, Baby? Does it still work then, or have the auras become mixed? Ah well.. what does it matter? A horse that can take photographs would make me a lot of money. Probably more than being a horse psychotic. Or whatever that is…

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