The Horse Whisperer

By Irene Butler

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Prima trots over. Her powerful flanks move in an easy rhythm, her rich brown coat glistens in the sunlight. Her gentle brown eyes reflect the pastoral surroundings as she puts her nose close and whinnies a greeting. Paschar then nuzzles in, followed by Micah. Among these warmbloods (sport horse breeds), there are two Shetland Ponies, and surprisingly, a bull! His stocky form nonchalantly munching hay alongside several large equines.

“That’s Tesoro, meaning treasure in Spanish,” says Liz Mitten Ryan, “and yes, he thinks he’s part of the herd.” Hearing his name, he looks towards her and trots over, no doubt associating Liz with fun and a carrot treat. The 15 horse/one bull Ryan menagerie also includes four dogs and two cats that romp around like inseparable buddies.

This is Gateway2 Ranch on the outskirts of Kamloops. Horse whisperer, author and artist Liz and her architect husband Kevin own the ranch. The Ryans were drawn from their small hobby farm in Gibsons, B.C. to this 320-acre ranch 10 years ago. Their decision to come here was influenced by Liz’s dream of being encased in nature, where her horses could run free, and her dogs could bark without disturbing the neighbours.

Liz was never a city girl at heart. Born and raised in Vancouver, her fondest childhood reminiscences are of days spent at her Grandma’s summer place on the sunshine coast. In adulthood, and as a mother of six, she and Kevin have always lived as rural as possible. Their seven grandchildren now come to this haven to garner magical memories.

From a tender age, Liz’s passions were animals and art. She had a particular affinity with horses, and started riding lessons at the age of five, and by Grade 2, it was difficult to coax her away from her easel, where oils morphed into a variety of animals. After graduating from high school, her parents, concerned that she should have “something concrete to fall back on,” sent her to university and nursing school. Eventually, her passions won out.

Liz studied art in London, England and was mentored by senior instructor Peter Aspell at the Vancouver School of Art. As her children left the nest, she increasingly indulged in her passion of becoming a horse breeder and trainer, her expertise honed over many years of reading, and consulting with experts. Liz hopes the old method of “breaking” a horse to teach them skills will be replaced in every instance by the gentle and respectful horse whisperer techniques, whereby this highly intelligent animal and trainer “build” on each other’s strengths and become one in a co-operative way with superior results.

Gateway2 is a perfect fit for the Ryans. Kevin pursues his architectural profession in their new hinterland, and multi-tasks on the ranch. Liz, after a decade of running, playing, training, and observing these joyful, reckless creatures knows their every nuance and has become in her own words, “one with the herd” - a life-changing spiritual journey.

But even given the close bond with her horses, Liz was surprised and shocked when she began to write about her experience, while her horses, by a type of telepathy or channelling, began to communicate their perspective.

“My animals’ message to humans is that they want to be recognized as equal spirits,” says Liz. “They feel humans have been steadily removing themselves from the interconnection of everything in the universe - the divine spark of God in all things. They say the way to do this is to listen to our intuition or higher consciousness and be in our truth, as each animal species lives their truth in the way given to them by God.”

She has co-authored four award-winning books in three years with her horses (with contributions by her dogs and cats) - One with the Herd, Unbridled, Sabbatical, and The Truth According to Horses. These books have won eight Independent Publishing awards at Book Expo America in Los Angeles in 2008. The Truth According to Horses was entirely conceived and authored by Premiere Edition (a.k.a. Prima) and the Herd,” says Liz. “It won a Nautilus Book Award for 2009, making Prima the first horse in history to win a literary award.” Other winners of this coveted award include the Dalai Lama, Eckhart Tolle and Deepak Chopra.

Throughout her life, Liz has always made time for her art, and many of her landscapes, equine and animal portraits appear in her books. She has raised millions of dollars for conservation groups and charities throughout the world, and was nationally acclaimed B.C. Wildlife Artist of the Year for two years, Habitat Canada conservation stamp winner, and Ducks Unlimited national artist for six years. Her print Unbridled was a 2008 National print for Ducks Unlimited.

During the past year, the land that comprises Gateway2 has drawn attention. The Ryans have long been aware that their rolling terrain “felt” different, but when visitors also mentioned strange sensations, Liz invited Billa, a renowned shaman to walk the land. Billa, dowsing with L-rods detected the vortexes of two mega electro-magnetic fields. Later, Thyson, an expert in Geomancy (divination by means of lines, figures and geographic features) discovered other dynamics, such as a massive solitary boulder atop a hill containing a sizeable crystal. He claims this land is more complete with full spectrum natural wonders than any he had ever witnessed.

Liz feels the powerful forces on this land may have heightened her and the horses’ capability to resonate on a higher level and clear the channels of communication - the link that allowed this horse whisperer to be directly inspired by equine wisdom.

For more information on Liz Mitten Ryan’s art and books, visit




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