One of my ‘savant’ gifts is to notice small details. I ‘feel’ emotions of people and animals around me.

I am also able to see the bigger picture.

A common denominator among most medical professionals who have visited the herd was that they had reached a point of needing to know more about healing their personal wounds. Some had been experiencing symptoms that their peers could not explain, or in some cases, the explanations were terrifying.

Educators came to learn more about being helpful on an energetic level in their classrooms, how not to burn out…and in more than one case how to move into other educational arenas that were more in alignment with who they are and what they have to offer.

Some came to learn about how autistic people see and feel their world. We talked about how important it is not to fake a smile when inside you are feeling anything but happy. How congruency is key to developing a relationship with autisitcs, and how fear will push them away.

Horses can teach us so much about these things.

While sitting and talking with equine therapists who visited I noted most of them had been taught or trained to have what they referred to as a 'healthy respect' for horses. Many of their therapy techniques called for setting clear and safe boundaries for clients and themselves.  I also noticed they carried fear of the horse.

When the Medicine Horses would approach them they (therapists) would stiffen and look for a way to retreat from the horses.

Many of the rules applied to working with horses in general and more specifically with clients.

In their view horses are viewed as 'amazing healing partners; however they are dangerous and unpredictable'.

Many of the models called for ‘round pen work’ or ‘reflective work’ wherein the client learns to control the horse, and the ideal outcome is that the client leaves the session feeling empowered or the client can see himself mirrored by the horse and can look at what is going on within them.

After many years of studying and documenting horse human interactions both inside and outside of the healing arenas what I can say for sure is that healing cannot occur where fear lives, nor can it occur when one is overpowering or gaining control over another. The model simply expands on what I call the ‘kick the dog’ syndrome. It feels good at the time we kick the dog, but given time remorse will inevitably set in.

In the case of the ‘natural horsemanship, round pen work’ the immediate result is an overall feeling of wellbeing and should the study of the model end there it would be deemed a successful one.

My experience has taught me that it is a given outcome that the client at some point down the road will reflect on his ‘control’ of the horse and in simple terms crash and burn.

When the client reaches a point where he realizes fully that the horse is a sentient emotional spiritual being who has given his life to healing other species a break down occurs.

Being in the energy field of the horse kick starts an energetic spiritual awakening. Those who are described as fragile must be supported by those who are aware of this process and who can assist the journey through the completion of the process.

In 2016 I was honored to be invited to present at the Indigenous Health Conference through the Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto in Ontario.

A Cree Elder who has become a great advocate for the work we do here was visiting while I was preparing my presentation. I explained to her that I was looking for scientific data to support the work.

She smiled as she quietly rocked in her chair and with a knowing look asked "Why?.... you don't need science. It works. That's all that matters"

We walk the walk and live the process and will support you through yours.

Tina Barnes

Tamsah Pen-tha Kishkikosh Mide

Woman Who Walks With Horse Medicine

Visit my blog here 



I have been with horses since 1956 and have had a life time involving many kinds of experiences with horses.

I have very little formal education having left school at the age of sixteen to pursue my passion and to self-educate.

I have been self-employed in the horse industry since 1981 originally as an owner operator of a horse boarding and training facility.

In 1986 a move to a larger facility in Brantford, Ontario, Canada allowed my career with horses to develop further. On this farm I owned twenty acres and leased an additional 800 acres from the Ontario Provincial Government.

On this land I was able to begin a lifelong independent study of both semi feral and domestic horse herds which led to the development of a horse/human language I call MareSpeak. This study has allowed me to understand the interactions between horses but more importantly has led to my study of the healing benefits of being in connection with the energy field of particular horses who are called Medicine Horses by North American First Nations and Native Americans.

Few horses are among this elite group.

I currently manage five.

Since 1986 I have

Owned and operated Rocking W Ranch which included the care of up to 65 horses in boarding, lessons and training, guided trail riding and day camps. These camps were attended mainly by youth at risk and especially First Nations Children in foster care systems.
Owned more than 400 horses and worked with many hundreds more
In 1993 Rocking W Ranch was rebranded Hilltop Farm Equestrian Center which continued to allow for my study of the herds but also included showing horses, Appaloosa horses in particular. I was trainer and coach to youth and Amateur riders and we competed in local, Provincial, National arenas often winning championships and Appaloosa World Shows (Fort Worth, Texas) where home bred horses finished within the top five in the World in both Western and English events.
Since 1993 I have worked as a peer recognized Equine Behaviour Modification Specialist. This work is most often requested by other coaches and trainers who have problem horses beyond their scope of understanding. This work has taken me all across Canada, the USA, to France, New Zealand and Italy.
In 2004 I moved to Victoria, British Columbia. During this time I made a conscious decision to leave the world of horse showing. In order to spend time with horses I began to volunteer at a therapeutic riding facility where I was given ‘free rein’ to work with the therapy horses who were exhibiting troubling behaviours. I quickly concluded that a different kind of therapy was needed due to the lack of understanding for the therapy horses and the subsequent levels of suffering they endured.
In 2008 I began to locate and gather Medicine Horses who are chosen on their ability to interact with each other and other species in a way that is profoundly healing and safe and most importantly can be accomplished without direct interaction with the horses. The healing is done primarily on the energetic level as known by native shamans and that is held within tribal Medicine Horse teachings. Medicine Horses Sessions are equally effective for a single person or large groups.

This offering of healing attracts people from all walks of life and to this point through ‘word of mouth’.

Among our clients we include

Medical professionals
First responders
Children on the spectrum
First Nations Residential School Survivors and their families


In 2015 I, along with one of my long time apprentices established The International Academy of Medicine Horses.

Through the Academy we offered a certification program which to date has Level One, Two and Three certified students across Canada and in several U.S states.

Most of our candidates have been involved in other Equine Therapy programs but have found them to be lacking in understanding of the healing qualities of the horses but also in the understanding of the requirements of the horses to remain in a balanced healthy state.

Although I remain a mentor to these certified students I ceased offering certification due to the need for the teachings to be wholly experiential in nature. I happily accept new students on a non certified basis.

In 2015 I was among a very few chosen to present in the Traditional Healing category at the Indigenous Health Conference, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto.

My presentation focused on the reasons our equine therapy is readily accepted by First Nations Peoples over all other equine therapies and other western medical modalities in general.

In their words… it works.

The Medicine Horses have no agenda or ego and are not attached to the outcome.

Our ‘method’ does not require ‘power over’ which many other therapies do especially if they use round pen work.

In a ‘regular equine therapy’ that involves riding or control, people who have been placed in residential schools, or who have lived in conditions wherein they have had little or no power, will reach a point where they realize that they are submitting the horses to similar circumstances.

It is at this point that the ‘regular equine therapy’ will fail the client and can in fact lead to a deepening of the trauma.

​Dedicated Assistants

I currently have four gifted people working with the horses and groups on a volunteer basis.

Jen Shortt, Level Two Medicine Horse Facilitator.

Jen has a Masters degree as an Art Therapist and is also a Registered Clinical Counselor. Formerly employed at an alternative school for troubled youth as well as in a youth corrections facility where she utilized art therapy as well as her knowledge of the Medicine Wheel teachings from her nation at Henley Inlet Ontario she is currently working at W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Secondary School.

Hannah Roland, Level Three Medicine Horse Facilitator.

Hannah has a college degree in Culinary Arts and currently works in records for the Province of British Columbia. She is from Scottish, Coast Salish and Hawaiian descent and comes from known healing lineages. Hannah is also naturally gifted in plant medicines which she continues to study.


Stacey Lynch, Level Three Facilitator.

Stacey has a degree in Social Work, Child and Family Counseling. She currently works as a Pharmacy Technician at The Royal Jubilee Hospital in Vcitoria.


Theresa Ewan, Level One Medicine Horse Facilitator

Theresa currently works at Butchart Gardens managing greenhouse production.

It is said that I have a way with animals.

I love all animals but horses have held my focus since the age of three when I first was set astride a Belgian cross mare named Nellie at my Grandfather's farm.

I would have stayed there forever if allowed.

Sitting upon the back of that gentle old mare set off what would become my lifelong passion to discover what it was about being near her that made my unease in the world dissolve.

Now at 65 plus years I am ready to share all I've learned along the way.

My life with horses has had humble beginnings.

I was left to my own devices to figure most things out by watching and being with them. I had no coaches or mentors until well into my late twenties.

I became a coach and trainer and I learned rather quickly to keep 'my ways' to myself. Not always easy but I managed quite well I think.

Since those days I've coached many youth, non-pros and amateurs as well as open clients to Ontario provincial and Canadian National championships as all around performers. (meaning classes in many disciplines)

Often producing qualifiers for World class competition I've successfully taken clients to top five placings in the world in Western Showmanship and English Equitation.

I chose to leave the show world behind after reaching the higher levels and seeing what goes in to 'making' winners. 

In the mid 1980's I along with my late husband George operated a facility that included close to 800 acres of provincially leased land on which we kept (up to) 65 head of horses at any given time.

We loved to sit high on the hills and watch the interactions of the horses and especially between the stabilized herd and newcomers.

It is during these witnessings that we developed a keen eye and 'feeling' for those who were masters at integration.

We recognized that specially gifted individuals were tasked with bringing the energies of new horses into alignment with the herd and we began to call them 'Medicine Horses' not knowing how correct we were in naming them such.

I have spent the last 20 years or more intently studying and documenting healing interactions between horses as well as horses and humans.

My goal now is to teach others who are seeking wisdom and knowledge in the Ways of the Medicine Horses.

Tina Barnes

​Master Medicine Horse Practitioner,

Intuitive Energy Healer, Equine Behaviorist and Consultant