Equine author, teacher and horse listener

Kathy Farrokhzad is busy. She is the author of five books, a horse owner, a coach and a current dressage competitor. She also is an Equine Canada coach (western competition), double certified in John Lyon’s natural horsemanship method and a professional elementary school teacher.

Farrokhzad’s horse experience and over two decades teaching kids and working as a vice principal, has influenced her writing—culminating in an easy-to-read book series presenting helpful information in a step-by-step format.

Having published the first book in her Horse Listening series in 2014, she’s since written another four.

The Horse Listening series is a collection of topics taken from her popular online blog, putting forward ideas and learning related to horse (and human) behaviour.

Farrokhzad’s fifth publication, Goal Setting for the Equestrian, is a workbook planner written to help people set individual goals and milestones towards becoming better riders. Farrokhzad’s mantra: Listen to your horse.

Farrokhzad acknowledges her four horses as important teachers.

She got her “first pony,” a standardbred pacer named Kayla, when she was 22-years-old and retrained her for competitive endurance trail riding. Her next horse was Annahi,  an appendix quarter horse who showed western pleasure and then transitioned into dressage.

Farrokhzad bred the mare twice and her first filly Royal went on to win a Reserve Champion at the Caledon Dressage show when she was just four years old.

The second foal is her current horse partner, Cyrus, a 14-year-old registered Canadian warmblood.

Farrokhzad also mentioned several influential mentors, including Eva Peter. She studied for over six years with Peter, a trained dressage coach originally from Austria who now lives in Rockwood.

“Eva taught me what good riding is, and how to positively impact the horse with riding. I have achieved several [dressage]show championships under Eva’s watchful eye,” Farrokzad said.

Her love of showing and competing has been a great influence on her writing.

“For me, showing is like a vacation. My friends come with me or meet me at the shows. I get to do something that I love with a horse that I love. I also love the fact that our top Canadian riders are at the same shows. When I’m not riding, I’m out there watching, learning, talking, and drooling over the other riders’ horses and riding style,” she said.

During the COVID-19  pandemic, Farrokhzad’s coaching and teaching went online and she is now anticipating a return to in-person lessons.

Her website (horselistening.com) has over 46,000 subscribers and has been the recipient of several online blog awards.

Asked how she managed to get such a following, Farrokhzad replied, “Post by post. I have done some Facebook advertising over the years, but most of my reach is organic. I have never done anything other than offer subscriptions through the website, and then run the Facebook page by posting “announcements” of articles, new or re-featured information and fun memes,” she revealed.

Farrokhzad has always been present on the blog and the Facebook page, “liking” or “loving” comments and responding quickly to questions.

“I like people to know I am there with them and that someone is always moderating the Horse Listening page,” she said.

Farrokhzad’s books can be ordered in digital or print at her website or on Amazon.

Farrokhzad’s plan is to continue to expand her online presence with subscribers, pointing out her writing has become more responsive and immediate with social media allowing for live interaction.

She also intends to continue her coaching and dressage and write a book geared to Grade 5 students, while finding time to compete and spend with Cyrus.

Farrokhzad is a goal oriented person and credits her horses as a positive influence.

“Horses give balance to life and really listening to them is key to determining how to go forward towards your next goal,” she said

Bridget Ryan