Fran Griffen is a natural horsemanship coach. Also known as horse whispering, the natural horsemanship training method involves cognitive communication rather than physical. Her business – Hunter Natural Horsemanship is located in the pristine Hunter Valley in central New South Wales. Here, she educates horse owners and trainers about how to foster deep connections with their horses.
“My business is multi-faceted. I help people work with their own horses, understand their horses and build a communication with them. I teach them to communicate in a way that makes their riding more harmonious. I also help people with their personal development and using horses as a tool for that.”
Fran has had a long and wholesome career with horses and believes that her individualistic experience has shaped the way in which her training with Hunter Natural Horsemanship operates today.
“My journey with natural horsemanship started halfway through my horse life. I started as more of a competitor and I competed in a show called “eventing” which was showjumping, dressage training and cross country jumping. I was also an equestrian coach for 30 years and completed my training through Equestrian Australia. I have always liked people and I love to teach so it was quite natural for me to take on the coaching role. I was also a horse lover and a competitor and I was looking for a way to combine horses and my love of the sport with a career.”
In 1995, Fran was formally introduced to natural horsemanship by a man called Pat Parelli, an American man famed for his part in bringing natural horsemanship to Australia.
“He was giving a demonstration in my local area. I started looking into natural horsemanship through Pat’s program. I became an instructor with the Parelli program for quite a number of years and then I developed my own style around my previous training as well as the work that I did with the Parelli program. As a result, Hunter Natural Horsemanship has been designed to offer holistic natural horsemanship.”
Over the years, Fran has developed a deep understanding of what it means to harbour a close connection with horses. She is passionate about ensuring others can have that same kind of relationship and understanding with their own horses.
“I love the fact that I can help people communicate with their horses. When I started working with horses I was more focussed on having the horses perform – now I focus on having the relationship, the communication and having the horse calm and happy. I also enjoy teaching people ways of talking to horses that’s non-confrontational; a way of helping them understand us and us understand them. A wonderful by-product that you get from natural horsemanship is the personal development, you get a sense of self, you learn how to manage energy, you learn how to be connected to nature and it’s an amazing ride.”
Natural horsemanship is about developing relationships with the horses and using training methods derived from their natural behaviour. In order to observe and understand these natural behaviours, Fran believes it helps to have the horses in a natural environment.
“At Glen Oak we’re semi rural on 18 acres so there’s enough room for the horses and we can keep that natural setting. That really impacts on our business because we are centred around holistic living; living with horses, communicating with horses and we need that natural environment, that good energy and the space for the horses to live comfortably.”
Although Fran had developed a successful career from her home-business and realised the importance of her location, she felt that her rural living situation was somewhat limiting for her business.
“My career until the last few years has largely just been in the paddock – person to person, face to face. However I realised that it was quite limiting and I couldn’t reach a lot of people purely from these one-to-one meetings. Some of my other colleagues were starting to work online – offering videos and starting to use webinars and I started to look at that for myself. I decided to develop an online classroom and add educational and instructional videos every month for my members to access. My main draw to an online platform was the reach, I wanted to reach more people and teach them about communication, harmony; how to really live with our horses and to be happy with our horses.”
Fran made the jump to an online platform five years ago and began sharing her expertise with the rest of the world. While her growing audience presented a great opportunity, she felt she wasn’t truly able to harness it without the correct technical knowledge or an effective platform to sell her videos.
“I had a website that I ran my video classroom through and although I had some help from my good friends and a good local business, but I didn’t have the professional edge or the reach and I needed something to take it to the next level. I needed it to look good, to operate well and to give my clients a professional service. However, I didn’t personally have any experience with online technology – I work with nature, I work outdoors and I just wasn’t savvy enough to do what I wanted. I went looking for something that could give me all of that and that’s where I brought Yondo onboard. Before Yondo, I found that I was online but I wasn’t effectively online. I wanted to be more efficient and project that professional image.”
Fran signed-up to Yondo at the beginning of the year and believes that their service has greatly improved the overall operation of her business and has given her the confidence to grow her business.
“I’m still quite new to Yondo. I started at the beginning of the year and initially I just wanted to do some webinars to increase my online presence, and to take my message a little further into the world. I found that the Yondo staff were just so helpful and so supportive. Because I don’t have that tech knowledge I needed the hand-holding. I started with two webinars and they went really well. I then discovered their video-on-demand library where I could create a store and transfer my videos over and deliver them with a professional edge. I loved that I could tie the store beautifully into my website too. I used a lot of Yondo’s custom services; they helped me link my website, upload my videos and it couldn’t have been an easier process for me.”
“The customer service is the thing I can stress, they are there for you all the time. They’re there for you speaking your language rather than their language and they’ve made it so easy for me to slipstream into a better product, a more professional image and step up my online presence. It all happened quickly, effectively and I’m just so happy with the product – it looks great and it’s user friendly.”
Fran is optimistic about her future online and believes that Yondo is an eCommerce solution that any business looking forward to the future should take hold of.
“Looking ahead, I can see that with the video classroom and Yondo’s great customer service, I’m going to be able to build that classroom to a bigger level to reach more people and I’ve got the confidence to do so while having Yondo right behind me. They’ve already been so hands on and so helpful that I consider Yondo to be more of a partnership, not a product. I really think it’s a great company and I really can’t speak more highly of it. I can see that I’m going to have a great relationship with Yondo for the next 50 years.”