IdyleWild Farm

Every day,
my horses empower me with strength. They fill my heart and soul with joy, love and inspiration. IdyleWild is my way of sharing these magnificent gifts
with you. 

Who We Are at IdyleWild Farm

& Find Your Freedom
We don't see things as they are 
We see things as we are.
~ Anaïs Nin, Author


Being Human
As human beings, we like to think of ourselves as open-minded and objective.  In reality, how we see ourselves (and who we are to the rest of the world) is filtered through the lenses of our past experiences, our values, and our core beliefs.  Just as we wear sunglasses to limit the intensity of a bright day, the lenses through which we view ourselves limit our understanding of who we are. Our filters determine our actions, interpret our circumstances, and have a profound influence on our relationships with ourselves and with each other.  

    photo by Kathryn Corona

As Seen Through Horses’ Eyes.
Unlike human beings, horses have no filters that influence how they interpret the world around them.  In the wild, their only “agenda” is to survive. They must be present to their reality in every moment, and regardless of the circumstance, their reactions reflect what’s really happening.  For these reasons, interacting with horses provides us a unique opportunity to gain a new perspective about ourselves and who we are being in the world. 

By the time you’ve had a relationship with a horse for a while, there are characteristics in the way the horse behaves with you and around you and responds to you that are directly (related) to some of your traits as a human being… whether it’s insecurity or aggression or fear or hate… Your horse is a mirror to your soul. Sometimes you might not like what you see… sometimes you will.

~ Buck Brannaman, Horse Trainer

In nature, horses are prey animals and human beings are predators. This is the basis of the horse-human relationship.  If we approach horses with this understanding, we are given the opportunity to see ourselves – through horses’ eyes – for who we really are. Horses are present in every moment; when we interact with them, their responses are immediate, clear and honest.  If we are hiding emotions, a horse will sense it. When we are communicating through body language, a horse will pick up on it. If we are acting one way but feeling something completely different, a horse will know it. Who we are with horses is who we are in the world, and horses will always show us exactly who we are being by reacting to the real messages we are sending. 

The essential joy of being with horses is that it brings us
in contact 
with the rare elements of
grace, beauty, spirit, and fire.

~ Sharon Ralls Lemon
    Editor, Horse Illustrated Magazine

For those who are willing to see, horses show us who we are and who we are being - emotionally, psychologically, down to our souls.  For those who are willing to listen, horses can help us transform our perceptions of ourselves and of the world around us.  For those who are willing to learn, horses can teach us how to recognize and remove our filters and discover a new awareness, a new of reality in which we can find power, experience freedom, and learn to be authentically self-expressed.  If we can see ourselves through horses’ eyes, we can transform our relationships – to horses, to ourselves, and to each other.  

Be Empowered.
Be Enlivened.
Be Inspired.

Elyssa Doner, 
Founder and Instructor, IdyleWild Farm
I created IdyleWild from a lifelong passion for horses, my experiences as a teacher and mentor of students with learning difficulties, and my own love of teaching and learning.

As a teacher, mentor, and Academic Dean at a school for students who learn differently, one of my most important responsibilities is providing a safe, compassionate, and therapeutic environment where my students can learn and flourish. The programs at IdyleWild provide every student with the same kind of environment. Our programs will enhance your own relationship to horses by cultivating your understanding of the ways that horses communicate.

I have had the wonderful fortune of spending 40 years of my life with horses. I have enjoyed a multitude of experiences, from showing on the tri-state American Saddle Horse Association circuit to competing in amateur team-penning. I've trained and taught riding lessons professionally, and I have managed boarding facilities.  All of these experiences have culminated into the amazing space of IdyleWild Farm.

Best of all, I never stopped learning. In September 2014, I had the honor of riding in a clinic with Buck Brannaman (check out our Props & Pics page!). I hold a Post-Master's Certification in Equine-Assisted Learning and an Associate's Degree in Equine Mangement. I have completed Therapeutic Riding Instructor Certification (Phase 2) through the PA Council on Therapeutic Horsemanship and taught therapeutic riding lessons to students - children and adults - with an array of physical, emotional, and developmental differences. I have PATH Int'l certification as an Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning, and ARIA certification as a recreational riding instructor.

Every day, my horses empower me with strength. They fill my heart and soul with joy, love and inspiration. IdyleWild is my way of sharing these magnificent gifts with you.

The Horses of IdyleWild

The Inspiration for IdyleWild's Programs:
Chase (front) and Oreo (back)

Oreo (affectionately known as "Boo") is a 26-year old Andalusian. He and Elyssa began their life-long partnership nearly 21 years ago. Together, they have team-penned and covered hundreds of trail miles throughout Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania. Oreo is loving, gentle, and kind. He shares himself willingly and openly with every rider he carries, and he invites everyone he encounters to do the same. 

Chase is a seasoned Quarter Horse/Thoroughbred cross. He came to IdyleWild from a ranch "out west" six years ago. When he arrived at IdyleWild, Chase was resigned to living his life the "cowboy way." Timid and anxious, he was always on high alert. Over the past seven years, Chase has blossomed into a sweet and curious trail partner who has learned to trust the people in his life. In return, his consistency and dependability under saddle have been a gift to all those who have ridden him.

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