Anna Twinney: Reflections of a Brilliance-Based Businesswoman

In August I had the amazing experience of learning with Anna Twinney and her partner Vin Mancarella.  With her well-chosen words, strategic silence and thoughtful actions, she made such a powerful impact on me that I had to bring her to you.  Anna was gracious enough to share her Brilliance-Based career story with me in a private interview a few weeks ago.

Briefly, what are the highlights of your career story?

I was born in England, grew up in Germany, and returned to England when I was 16. At the age of 17, I went to London as an assistant compliance officer for an investment bank and earned more than I had in my whole career. We received quarterly and annual bonuses, and one employee threw his computer out a fifth story window because he thought his quarter-of-a-million pound bonus was not enough. It impacted me so much that I decided this wasn’t the industry I want to be working in.

I ended up volunteering with the police force. Ultimately, my ex-husband Nick and I were the first married couple to join the police force in the United Kingdom.  It was really nice to be that little piece of history.  I stayed with the police force for six years, performing many jobs, from the control room to training. In those days, the British police force was one of the best in the world.  I say in those days because we were communicating.  There were no guns and there were no weapons.  All you had were your communication skills.

I took a year sabbatical to bring horse whispering to the police force to create a better bedside manner.  My horse Carrie was one of the reasons. She was quite delicate to work with and required an amazing horsewoman, and that wasn’t quite me at the time. She was the drive for me to look at natural horsemanship. 

I went to Monty Roberts and his learning center in the U.K.  I was one of two people, out of a 20-person class, to be chosen to go to Flag Is Up Farms in California to study.  For that period, I became a groom.  It was absolutely wonderful.  I was starting racehorses on the saddle, riding them, exercise riding, starting quarter horses on the saddle, and rehabilitation with an aqua tread.  I was the groom holding for the vet and holding for the chiropractor, getting the yearlings ready for the sales, gentling untouched horses.  It was just a magnificent place to be. 

Ultimately, the police force wanted to know if I was returning. I literally thought, “Do I want to return to gray England where it’s raining and I get abused physically, mentally, emotionally, or do I want to stay here with the horses and follow a dream?”  I knew my answer immediately.

With that choice came quite a price to pay, actually. The marriage came to an end, a marriage that was working fairly well.  I’d love to say really well, but if it was really well, it would have still worked.  He gave his blessing and said, “I can’t compete with a country. This is where your heart is.  You need to fulfill your dreams.” As easy as it sounds, it wasn’t. 

I returned to Flag Is Up Farms.  At that point, I gave up everything.  I gave up my horse, dog, husband, house, and family. What I now had was a suitcase. I lived out of a suitcase for about eight years, which meant that I didn’t really invest in anything else. Though I had a room, and then rented a house, I didn’t have more to my name than I could carry in a suitcase. 

One of the first highlights is to have been the head instructor for Monty Roberts. Monty Roberts asked me to start up a school for him. Those were the challenges, the joys of learning to be a horse whisperer.  It’s that huge thing of having a career in horse whispering and making it work, and ultimately becoming the head instructor of a very well-known horse whisperer, and being entrusted to run his farm. 

I did end up staying probably a year or two longer than my intuition had told me, meaning my intuition told me time is coming to an end but you do need to stay here. I ended up going to work for a mustang sanctuary.  It was really, really special because I’d taught for years.  I’d been at Flag Is Up on and off for six years. I left there to be with the horses, to literally say, “I need a break from the people I’ve been serving since I was 17.” 

I just want to really get to know these horses and the intimacy, the language of equus, which the mustangs can give you.  It’s the whisper.  It’s that connection.  It’s that next level.  I worked there for two years. It’s a huge highlight because not everybody can work with mustangs. It’s such a specialist area.  These are wild horses, untouched horses.  You’ve got to really finesse what you’re doing. 

What I discovered over the years is the language of the horse was far beyond body language.  There are two other pieces to it. One is the energetic connection and one is the telepathic communication.  

For me, the horse’s language are these three areas.  We can study energy.  I studied Reiki to the Reiki master level.  I’ve studied animal communication and I’m a successful animal communicator.  While I was at the Wild Horse Sanctuary, not only could I really get to the depth of this language, but I could actually finesse my ability to communicate through the energetic connection and really begin to hone in on the skills of telepathy. 

I worked part-time at the Wild Horse Sanctuary and listened to my intuition telling me to start my own business. I wanted to work with horses full time and take care of 200 head of horses, then manage a facility for volunteers with an educational and training program. I teamed up with Crawford Hall.  Crawford had been Monty Roberts’ head person, farm manager and the dean at the school for 28 years.  

We established a business called Crawford Hall’s Equine Connection.  Crawford Hall then employed me as a specialist.  I was part of that company and it was my company.  Crawford is a paraplegic.  We were a great team.  He was really the man behind it, but at the same time, I was the one working the horses and traveling.  It allowed me to start my business with a great mentor. 

The first year I had six clinics which was an amazing beginning and allowed me to really build my business. I left 20 months later and Vin and I decided to live together in Colorado. I loved California and he loved Manhattan, so this was our compromise. 

Moving to Colorado, I thought I had to start creating a new client base. The joy of the business was already that my clients were all over the United States, Canada, Europe, and even New Zealand and Australia.  I found where I lived wasn’t that important.  My business could be picked up and taken anywhere in the world because the clinics weren’t locally based. 

Clinics became the area of my focus.  That had been part of my dream.  My dream originally was to run the facility at Monty’s.  I ran it and created all the classes and clinics that they run today. 

I look back and say, “There’s a huge highlight of my career,” from bobby to horse whisperer to head instructor to developing clinics.  The next move is to specialize in the language of the horse.  There’s nobody else doing this.  Nobody is communicating with telepathic means, body language and energy.  There are many healers out there, there are many animal communicators, and there are great clinicians, but nobody has combined the three, which is the authenticity of the language of the horse.  There’s another huge highlight.

My third highlight was to create the clinics around the globe so that I could actually travel, see the world, and also take methods to places that couldn’t afford to come to California at the time.  My dream was to take the clinics to third-world countries, to those less fortunate individuals.  I’m doing that.  I’ve been to Spain. I wouldn’t class it as a third-world country, but certainly there were underprivileged people.  The horses had been neglected.  Gradually we’re getting out there with a hope to get to Nigeria in February next year.  It’s happening.  That dream is happening.

How do you define “success” for yourself?

When I was younger, I always thought there was one dream to focus in on.  Then I’ve seen this morph.  I think, “Wow, is it just me that has a dream and then goes, ‘I want the dream to change,’ only for me to realize that actually the dream never changed?”  The dream doesn’t change, it progresses. 

I ask myself a lot, “What is success for me?”  On the day-to-day basis, the success is to bring the lost animal home, to allow the animal that looks like it’s time for them to pass to pass with ease or to actually give them longer with their person.  The success is to change behavior, to save the foal from slaughter, to connect the person with the horse, then to allow that person to overcome a fear and to move forward.

For me, when I look at that, that’s not a definition; that’s an explanation.  The success is to make a change every day, ultimately.  I also look at it in another way.  This is the personal piece.  For me the success also is how many people can I touch? How many foals can I save?  How many people can I enlighten that animals are sentient beings?  How many people can I educate that they can all talk to animals through telepathy?  To me, that’s the success.  The success is in the day to day.

So that’s success for my business.  For me personally, success will be learning the balance of everything on a day-to-day basis, from personal to work life, for me, for my family, for my animals.  I feel like there are different pieces of success.

What changes have you made or experienced in your life and business that have enabled you to experience more ease?

There are many.  It is checking in with my heart, which I do a lot.  I do that when it comes down to a clinic choice. In an ideal world, I’d love to make my clinics in gorgeous places. I go to Kauai and Maui to teach.  I have been to Australia and New Zealand and love those exotic places.  In a sense, that fulfills my heart.

When I get the colder locations, I go, “That’s not really me,” but I will check in. I won’t just decline it because I like the tropics. I will take the locations where I know I need to go. If that means Spain—others will go, “Well, Spain is gorgeous.”  I went to an area that wasn’t gorgeous.  It was the desert and it was a very challenging place for the horses.  I didn’t get to see the country.  I tend to fly in, do the stuff I need to do, and then fly out.  

Occasionally I’ll get a day. I’ve really made it with ease that I will get a day.  The first few years, the day never happened.  It would mean that I’d help with another horse or do communications or have business meetings. I really have to enforce the fact that this is the day for me.  Sometimes that works; sometimes it doesn’t.  The animals are more important.  I have tried that extensively, when I go to a new country, to actually have a day for me.   

I check in with my heart and my gut which allows me to make substantial business decisions. That actually helped us to decide to create DVDs.  We realized that it was our own investment.  So I created an account and when I began to sell merchandise, the money went into that account.  That account money never got touched.  We were able to create DVDs on a zero budget.  I was able to pay back the money per DVD to the videographer and editor.  It was an amazing deal I created for myself and I paid them back. 

When I began to make the money, it went into the account.  That’s allowed me to continue to make DVDs.  We are into DVD number eight and they cost $10,000 and upwards to make something that has the quality for television. These can make it on TV and we have seen an investment there.  

When somebody listening to this or reading it might say, “I don’t have the money.”  I didn’t either.  Nobody is going to start poorer than I was.  I started in a deficit and I made it.  I basically said, “You can’t touch that money.  That one will always be reinvested into the education field.”  That’s what I’ve done.  I’ve written books, created podcasts and products.  It always goes back in to continue to make products that will change the world, the way the world sees horses, and to make the life of horses easier.  

How has that made it easier in my life?  Ultimately, it becomes passive income.  Even if there’s a piece we can take off the top or ultimately it will be passive income, it makes life easier.  It makes life easier in so many ways because you can touch people around the world.  The DVD can go to Africa, to Poland, to Russia, to Croatia. We had a little radio show, and the podcasts can reach the far corners of the globe through the computer.  The podcast is free for people who can’t afford a DVD. 

This makes a huge difference in the ease of my life.  If we look at one of my missions and successes, it’s to change one horse at a time, one animal at a time, one life at a time.  I can do that with greater ease by actually creating the platform of media to help me do that.  I could probably tell you the top ten things in my life that have enabled me to experience this ease.  I would say that utilizing the media to reach more people is one of the big ones.

What kind of support do you have for yourself on this journey that you’re on?Personally and professionally, what kind of support do you have?

We can’t do it alone.  You sometimes feel alone.  You sometimes feel overworked and underpaid.  I do believe a lot of us feel that way.  If I look at my journey and look at each piece, then Monty Roberts was the beginning for me on this.  Does it go as far back as Nick, my former husband, saying, “I’m giving you the wings to fly”?  Absolutely.  My parents for not giving me a tough time when I leave?  Monty for opening the door saying, “I believe in you”?  For Crawford Hall for imparting his wisdom and knowledge?  For every trainer that passed my way at Flag Is Up?  I can continue.  People giving me opportunities to basically say, “We trust you with our horses” and for every person that’s hosted me to put this whole thing together. 

And Vin.  Vin has been on this journey with me for the last eight years now and a huge support.  He’s my rock, he really is.  He’s his own rock.  He’s also got his own journey and his own success.  At the same time, he’s seen the power in what we’re doing.  He’s emotionally, mentally exceedingly supportive.  Also behind the scenes and even on the forefront of the scenes, he’s a co-producer with the radio show.  He has been one of the videographers with the DVDs.  He’s my safety net on editing.  He’s got a degree in English.  He edits every article, every book, every DVD.  I do have an amazing partner to be journeying with, somebody who’s spiritual. 

He, too, is a Reiki master.  He’s a medium.  He’s done nutritional health counseling, life coaching.  It’s this piece that you look back and say, “This is the right match for us.”  It’s wonderful to journey with somebody alongside you that says, “Okay, I can see your passion.  I can see that this is an amazing platform to touch the world.  I can journey with you with it and I can help you with it.”  There’s really nobody that doesn’t help in their own way, from fundraising to literally supporting you.

We have added a virtual assistant in the last year.  She does minimal hours but does the social media.  We have a bookkeeper that’s alleviated us from the bookkeeping piece.  

Gradually we’re looking to bring the right people on board that have the belief in the business.  That’s the key, that they believe in it.  It’s a challenge to find somebody that would have the same drive and commitment, but it’s easier to find somebody that believes.  It’s those kinds of people that we’re looking to share the journey with us. 

As a successful Brilliance-Based Businesswoman, what’s the best piece of advice you have for other aspiring and active Brilliance-Based Businesswomen out there?

Checking in with the heart, I love, and I definitely do that daily.  Here’s the thing: when people want to follow their dreams, it’s definitely possible.  Reaching for the stars, I think, is the key, so literally not having any limitation. 

The one piece of advice I really love above all of this is to know what you’re doing.  Educate yourself in that area that you stand out.  The key is so many people now are leaving their workplace.  With the economy as it is, as people are being laid off, some are looking to actually do the career path of their choice.  Some are looking to take that leap of faith while others won’t know what to do with their life.  This is the time of opportunity, it truly is.  It’s the time to do anything you want. 

The key to do anything you want will also be to be the best you can be in that area.  You have to stand out.  You have to know your topic.  You have to know your subject matter.  You have to be dedicated and committed and be the best you can be.  It’s those things that will allow for success on top of following that heart and checking in.  There is a lot of competition out there.  There are a lot of brilliant people.  To stand out, you need to know who you are.  You need to not step out into the world until you really know that you’re good.  You can always learn.  I said that in this interview, that I’m always learning and I’m a sponge and never want to stop growing and learning.  You’re always learning. 

At the same time, when I stepped out as an animal communicator, I was good.  I was really good.  I didn’t step out until I knew that I was accurate, very accurate.  You cannot afford a mistake.  When you’re talking to the animals, you’ve got to be brilliant.  The animals’ lives are in their hands, helping them to come home if they’re lost.  If they’re passing over and you’re talking to an animal on the other side, you need a degree of proof.  You have to know that the information, the advice and the messages you’re sharing are real and true.  That means you need to know that you’re brilliant, that you’re very good at what you’re doing. 

My advice really is to know who you are and move forward in your power to the point where you know what you’re sharing is accurate, is worth it, is worth the money, worth the time and will literally make a difference in somebody’s world.

What’s the best way for others to learn more about what you do?

We have the website:  From the website, you can go to the blog and Facebook. The website has articles on horsemanship and animal communication and energy healing.  We also have over 120 YouTube videos available for people to watch.  We have the podcast, which is the radio show with different guests in all of those worlds.  Those are the free resources that are available.  You can also see the programs for 2012 under the events calendar. 


  1. Michelle Twohig

    I've loved listening to several interviews with Anna over the last few years, and recently bought one of her Reiki DVDs and enjoy it. So much of this information was new to me, however, and ended up filling in lots of holes I wondered about! Both fascinating and inspirational. Thanks.

  2. lauren munger

    A beautiful article for a wonderful, well deserving woman and horse whisperer. Anna is such an inspiration!