MacNeil creates music video for European conference
Tiffany MacNeil didn’t grow up with horses, but always wished she had. MacNeil, 47, of Santa Rosa, has volunteered with horses and taught yoga since 2007, and wrote a song this May that describes her journey with horses. Her passions are coming together this Monday, Aug. 4, as she produces a music video for the 10th Annual conference of the European Association for Horse-Assisted Education, which takes place in Poland in September.
Though she has played her guitar for Christmas Carols or sing-alongs at parties, she hasn’t written a song in 20 years – until writing “Believe, believe, believe” this year. MacNeil said the movement and meditation of yoga has opened her up to be a receiver of information and the words to the song poured from her heart easily. “I started sensing things below the surface,” she said.
She attended the European conference last year, when it was in Cleveland. At that conference she began sending conference write-ups for its site. She wanted to do something again this year, but she lacked the funds for the trip to Europe. She contacted the conference organizers, and they were thrilled, she said, to have her provide a video with an original song to kick off the conference.
The vision of the European Association for Horse-Assisted Education is to “establish and develop Horse Assisted Education as a general form of personal and professional development in (not only European) enterprises, organizations, institutions, societies, and for personal purposes.” MacNeil said, though methods vary among members, the umbrella organization is one that aligns most with her professional goals. MacNeil, who is also a contributor to the Sonoma County Horse Journal, is currently fulfilling the prerequisite hours and experience to become a Certified Equine Interaction Professional.
This fall, she will be teaching a community education class, “Aligning with Horses: Body & Breath Awareness” for SRJC, where she also has taken horse classes and found a videography student, Ariana Victor, for the video that shoots on Monday. The class begins Saturday, Sept. 13.
MacNeil has worked for three years helping corporate and youth groups with team, trust and communication building for two different Sonoma County ropes courses. Describing what she will do with her certification, MacNeil said, “It will emphasize the energy exchange between horses and people.” The outdoors, she said, will naturally cause her clients to want to take deeper breaths, as done in yoga. She will start with nature walks, then bring in the horses. The work will be still at times and involve exercise at others. There will be no riding.
The combination of nature, horses and yoga, MacNeil said, provide an interesting channel for exploring that mystery which people can get occasional glimpses of in a non-threatening way. She envisions working with corporate groups, individuals, elders – especially those struggling with dementia and youth.
The goal, she said is to find that moment of clarity and feeling of a connection of all life, which she described as that feeling people sometimes get after a good massage, hike or yoga class.
“Horses speak a universal language,” she said.
For more information on the community education class, view the pdf catalog at portal.santarosa.edun.pdf.