Press Release
April 17, 2012

New Documentary Reveals Powerful Gift Horses Have to Offer Humans

"One With the Herd," produced and directed by Lisa Lightbourn-Lay, is a story of the connection and transformation that is possible when people are open to a higher-level of communication with horses.

(Vancouver, B.C. April 17, 2012) From "Black Beauty" to "Seabiscuit," horses have captured minds and hearts worldwide, asking for little in return. Yet, horses call us in unique ways to save ourselves. They are mirrors. That's their gift to us.

"One with the Herd," a half-hour documentary inspired by the award-winning book of the same title by Liz Mitten Ryan, brings horses into the spotlight for the amazing creatures they are and the true gifts they have to offer beyond the "show, race or event."

Filmed at Gateway 2 Ranch in the grasslands of the Nicola Valley, the largest ranching area of British Columbia, horses run as a wild herd on 320 acres, yet return each morning to report for work. The horses' job is changing lives.

This evocative documentary features Liz Mitten Ryan, owner of Gateway and facilitator of Equinisity Retreats, along with women who have come there to regain what's missing in their lives through the innate wisdom of the horse.

Viewers will follow Liz, participants and her herd on an extraordinary exploration that shows a way of working with horses outside of the traditional natural horsemanship domain. Massage tables are set up in the stable, and horses participate in the healing process. "Equinisity" is a groundbreaking and innovative approach, which bridges the gap between humans and horses.

Lisa Lightbourn-Lay has worked in television production for over 20 years. She produced her first feature length documentary, The Maud Squad, in 2010, a quirky fan culture story following the lives of six "kindred spirits" throughout one year. "One With the Herd" is currently circulating film festivals and will be widely released in the fall of 2012.

Gateway 2 Ranch is the home of Liz Mitten Ryan, mother of six and grandmother of seven, which she shares with her husband, their sixteen horses, dogs, cats and Tesoro the steer. Ryan is an award-winning author and artist, breeder and equine communicator.

Media: To request a link and password to view "One with the Herd," contact publicity at gail@topressandbeyond.com. Interviews available upon request.

For more information about Liz Mitten Ryan and her Equinisity Retreats, visit www.lizmittenryan.com and www.equinisity.com

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Meet Author Liz Mitten Ryan

From boardrooms and silk suits to jeans and a 320-acre ranch in the grasslands of the Nicola Valley, the largest ranching area of British Columbia, Liz Mitten Ryan is a woman living her dream. She is an accomplished artist, award-winning author, horse breeder and equine communicator. From the moment she could distinguish skin from fur, she preferred the latter, particularly the silky fur of horses and the velvet-like feel of their muzzles. Like many young girls, Liz always dreamed of having her own horse. At age six she was dressing in full cowgirl regalia and riding her make believe horses until she was allowed to spend time with real horses and take riding lessons. At eighteen, her parents agreed to buy her a horse, an Arab palomino named Chako. He became her best friend.

Then years went by with Liz attending university and studying art, first at Heatherley's School of Fine Art in London and afterwards at the University of British Columbia under the tutelage of the renowned painter, Peter Aspell. Eventually she married and established a successful fine art publishing company in Vancouver, which sold award winning limited-edition prints of her award-winning original art. In 1999, after raising their family of six, she and her husband left the hustle and bustle of the city and moved to Gateway 2 Ranch with Liz's herd of eleven horses, which she had bred. For several months, they lived in a simple and spartan wall tent. Liz was often alone, free to explore this magical property, to follow and commune with her horses, and to learn their secrets of communication and the connections they have with all of life.

In a span of three years, Liz authored four books and won nine book awards, including the coveted Nautilus Award in company with Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle and Jean Houston. Her award-winning artwork has been presented to dignitaries throughout the world and raised millions of dollars for animals and their environment. Today, Liz is the facilitator of Equinisity Retreats at Gateway 2 Ranch, where people from all over the globe come to interact with the herd, learning to live more intuitively and often experiencing life-altering, personal transformation. She continues to live her dream and resonate with the higher purpose of her herd and herself in a place where peace and joy prevail. As Liz would say, "This is meditation at its finest."

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Talking Points

The Healing Power of Horses

There is something about horses that is good for the soul. Openhearted communication between horse and human has the potential to promote self-healing by enhancing one's ability to recognize an emotional connection and a unified consciousness. Horse therapy has been shown to improve muscle tone, balance, posture, coordination, motor development as well as emotional well-being. In short, horses are an inspiration to humanity. Here's why:

  • They mirror us; they feel what we feel.
  • They remind us of our natural gift to live from the heart.
  • They bring us in harmony with nature and facilitate connectivity to the natural world.
  • They guide us to our authentic selves.
  • Horses teach us about trust and love. Even victims of abuse can develop trust in a horse.
  • A growing number of physical and occupational therapists are using horses in treatment.
  • Horses inhabit sensitivity to nonverbal communication that helps with nonverbal communication in human relationships.
  • Horses exemplify freedom and allow us to express ourselves with unconditional love.

The Navajo believed that horses had the stars in their eyes, and that they connected us to the universe. A visit to Gateway 2 Ranch, where one can interact with Liz's herd, gives much insight into this belief. Born into a loving circumstance, the equine family at Gateway is trusting and comfortable to interact in unexpected ways. The horses lay down and connect with visitors, and follow like dogs, enjoying friendly interaction while teaching alternative riding with halters and treeless saddles. The Herd at liberty orchestrates a unique healing program helping participants who either interact with individual horses in the Barn/paddock area or lie on healing tables and allow the horses to come to them.

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One With The Herd Questions for Media

  1. How did your connection with horses and your understanding of natural herd behavior begin?
  2. What is your philosophy on horse training and gaining the horse's trust?
  3. What is the Parelli Method of training that you describe and picture in your book, "One With the Herd?"
  4. What kinds of unique training methods have you developed?
  5. Is there a pecking order in your herd? What is it?
  6. What can you tell us about touch and body language around horses?
  7. How can you tell what a horse is feeling?
  8. How are you different than other equine communicators like Mark Rashid, Carolyn Resnick and John Lyons?
  9. How have your horses guided you spiritually? Specifically, how have they transformed the way you see the world?
  10. How did you discover that horses have the power to heal? What was the turning point for you?
  11. Tell us about your Equinisity Retreats at Gateway 2 Ranch and the kinds of hands-on activities with horses you employ at the retreats.
  12. What is the one big thing you want readers to take away from reading your books?
  13. Tell us about the documentary "One With the Herd" inspired by your book." How did that come about?

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Synopsis of One With the Herd by Liz Mitten Ryan

This exquisite coffee table book gives readers a rare glimpse into the enlightened journey of artist Liz Mitten Ryan who decided to leave the busyness of city life and relocate with her architect husband and their herd of eleven semi-wild horses to a remote 320-acre ranch in British Columbia. For several months they lived in a simple and spartan wall tent. Liz was often alone and free to explore this magical property, to follow and commune with the horses, and to learn their secrets of communication and the connections they have with all of life. Part memoir and part photographic essay, this deeply personal story contains journal entries from Liz's experience and is beautifully illustrated with dozens of her paintings. Ultimately, One With the Herd reveals her enquiry into the essence of life and her discovery of what it means to forge a new life in nature, living a higher consciousness that unites all.

Download Synopsis of One With The Herd by Liz Mitten Ryan | Download the One With The Herd Book Cover