Welcome to

 Horse Honesty Workshops and Retreats

Horse Honesty’s mission is workshops and retreats with the horse in mind.  But on a deeper level we want to serve you and allow you to expand your mind and refocus your energy on improving yourself.   In our three-day workshops and retreats we allow you to get away from the hustle and bustle of the world to de-stress in a place of tranquility at Sundog Ranch in the foothills near Chico California.

We are excited to be offering 4 new retreats for 2018 in addition to our very successful retreat Happiness Health and Horses!!

Horses and Yoga Workshop/ Retreat           April 6th – 8th  2018  

Basics of Canine & Equine Photography    April 13th – 15th  2018    

Healing with Horses                                           1 day  April 21st  2018

Intro to Horses “Naturally”                              May 3rd – 5th  2018

Happiness, Health and Horses                        October 5th to 7th  2018





Horse Honesty Workshops and Retreats 2018

Horses and Yoga Workshop & Retreat

3 days

April 6 – 8th, 2018

Three day workshop taught by Lara Conkey-Wiebelhaus and Deni Whiting. Lara will teach yoga poses on or with horses and Deni will help with natural horsemanship techniques to facilitate yoga on horses.   Check in Friday afternoon 3 – 5, Saturday a full day, Sunday till 1 pm  Location Sundog Ranch.  Bring your own horse or borrow one of ours.


Price $595    Includes lodging and meals.  Itinerary will be similar to Happiness, Health and Horses substitute yoga for sessions and more free time.  INQUIRE WITH JO ABOUT HORSE BOARDING.  WE DO NOT CHARGE EXTRA BUT ASK THAT YOU BRING YOUR OWN HAY.  WE HAVE A LARGE PASTURE THAT ELECTRIC OR PORTABLE CORRALS CAN BE SET UP.  WE ALSO HAVE SOME STEEL PANELS TO MAKE CORRALS.

Basics of Canine & Equine Photography Workshop

3 days

April 13 – 15, 2018

Taught by Jo Danehy, an award-winning photographer  (see her resume on Meet the Team page). Learn her secrets to success!  Learn tips on lighting, composition and how to get your camera out of the auto setting.  Take your photo’s up a notch so your friends and family will notice.   Location: Sundog Ranch and possibly other location TBA nearby for equine shots. We start Friday afternoon around 3 pm to meet and greet, explore basic concepts, and Jo will share some of her secrets to success.  We will and then shoot for about an hour before and at sunset.  Saturday we will start early with sunrise/morning shoot with mid day devoted to editing then another sunset shoot.  Sunday we will critique Friday and Saturday shoots and end with a meal.  Workshop over by 1pm Sunday.    Jo will arrange lunch on Saturday and Sunday.  Let Jo know if you have special diet.

Lodging not included in price.  Inquire with Jo if interested in lodging at Sundog. Space is limited.

Price $295     

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Healing with Horses Workshop

1 day

April 21, 2018   10-5 pm

Taught by Tara Coyote.

Tara Coyote

Tara combines her extensive background as a movement teacher with her experience as a certified Equine Facilitated Learning instructor, Life Coach & Grief Specialist to create a unique experience for her clients. With the healing presence of the horses and the somatic experience of being present with one’s body and emotions, an incredible healing experience awaits you!

Come spend time with the horses and Tara to discover some of the key elements of how she has been healing herself naturally in her cancer journey. (Note: This is not a ‘how to heal cancer naturally workshop’ but how to orient your mind and body to heal in the most efficient and joyful way possible with whatever mental or physical ailment you are challenged with. Everyone is welcome to this workshop!

We all are on a healing journey whether it be from an emotional or physical ailment.  These are powerful times we’re living in and the key to finding balance lies in our ability to be present to

our own personal healing journey. All of us have the innate ability to heal ourselves of whatever malady comes our way and horses can be wonderful assistants in the process of healing. Time with the horses offers an immense opportunity to dive into a deeper level of personal transformation.

Tara was diagnosed in September, 2016 with Stage 3 Breast Cancer. She decided to take an unconventional route to heal her cancer and decided to decline the standard route of chemotherapy, surgery and radiation. She is now successfully healing her cancer through natural means. Tara credits her four horses as part of the reason she is thriving through her cancer journey as horses offer tremendous healing potential.

Our bodies store our emotions, whatever is not released in a healthy manner becomes stuck, which can eventually turn into dis-ease. There are so many tools for healing and the horses are powerful allies to help us tune into the messages our bodies have to share.

The proper use of boundaries, the messages behind emotions and the dramatic impact stress has upon our bodies and minds are some of the concepts you will be introduced to, along with nurturing, safe time with the horses.

Join Tara and Jo’s horses for this one day workshop to taste the brilliant essence of the transformational quality of being with the horses.

To learn more about Tara’s healing journey please go to her blog Cancer Warrioress and her Cancer Warrioress Facebook page : Facebook

Lodging available at Sundog if you are traveling and need a place to stay.  Inquire with Jo.

PRICE $195


Intro to Horses “Naturally” Workshop

 3 day   2018  May 4-6


Taught by Deni Whiting.  (See Deni’s resume under Meet the Team)  Take advantage of this “once in a year” opportunity to learn all about horses “naturally” from one of the best!  Designed for the novice who may want to learn about horses AND experienced horse people who want to “re-learn” with natural horsemanship methods.

“What is Natural Horsemanship?” written by Aeron Mack

“Natural Horsemanship is a philosophy of working with horses based on the horse’s natural instincts and methods of communication, with the understanding that horses do not learn through fear or pain, but rather from pressure and the release of pressure.

It is a common misconception that Natural Horsemanship equals “wimpy” horsemanship, where the ‘relationship’ is prized above all else. This is not the case.  Natural horsemanship trainers must use firm but fair force when necessary to ensure the safety of the rider or handler, as well as the horse.  We simply do not use fear or pain to motivate the animal, nor do we attempt to force the animal into submission.

Basic ideas

There are countless “schools” or theories of natural horsemanship but the following ideas are common to most of them:

  • Horses are social herd animals, evolved for social interaction and the ability to escape predators. The horse has a highly developed communication system practiced primarily through body language. It is possible for humans to learn to use body language to communicate with the horse. Horses use ear position, head position, speed of movement, threatening gestures, showing of teeth and swinging of hips, and many other gestures to communicate. They are quick to escalate a behavior if early warnings are not heeded. Similarly, in natural horsemanship, the handler or trainer uses body language along with other forms of gentle pressure with increasing escalation to get the horse to respond. Horses are quick to form a relationship of respect with humans who treat them in this fashion; “firm but fair” is a motto.
  • Most natural horsemanship practitioners agree that teaching through pain and fear do not result in the type of relationship that benefits both horse and handler. The object is for the horse to be calm and feel safe throughout the training process. A horse that feels calm and safe with his handler is quick to bond with that person, and the results can be remarkable.
  • The human must be knowledgeable of the horse’s natural instincts and communication system, and use this knowledge in his work with the horse.
  • Like many other forms of horse training, operant conditioning through pressure and release are core concepts. The basic technique is to apply a pressure of some kind to the horse as a “cue” for an action and then release the pressure as soon as the horse responds, either by doing what was asked for, or by doing something that could be understood as a step towards the requested action, a “try”. Timing is everything, as the horse learns not from the pressure itself, but rather from the release of that pressure. These techniques are based on the principle of reinforcement, rather than physical force, which most Natural Horsemanship practitioners avoid using whenever possible.
  • Most Natural Horsemanship approaches emphasize the use of groundwork to establish boundaries and set up communication with the horse. This can include leading exercises, long reining and liberty work.
  • As with all successful animal training methods, there is an emphasis on timing, feel and consistency from the handler.

Natural horsemanship has become very popular in the past two decades and there are many books, videos, tapes, and websites available to interested equestrians. This philosophy has capitalized on the use of behavioral reinforcement to replace inhumane practices used in some methods of training, the ultimate goal of which is a calmer, happier and more willing partner in the horse.

Natural Horsemanship avoids fear- and pain-based training methods. While natural and gentle methods of training have been around for millennia, dating to the advocacy of gentle methods by Xenophon in Ancient Greece, there have also been any number of techniques over the years that attempted to train a horse by breaking the horse’s spirit, often forcing it to fight back and then be dominated or defeated. Natural Horsemanship advocates point out that by removing fear an individual gains trust from the horse. By not scaring and hurting the horse, the horse learns to work with people in a partnership verses as an adversary.




Happiness Health and Horses Woman’s Retreat

(aka HHH) 

Oct 5 – 7  2018

Our first workshop HHH was originally designed for “non horse people” who were drawn to learn from the spirit of the horse or just be near horses in a safe environment.  But we found horse people wanted to attend this retreat too. So horse people are welcome.  We tailor the experience so anybody can benefit from the retreat.

The mission of HHH is to learn through the eyes and heart of a horse to become mindful of your individual energy.  Find out how horses react to your emotions which may or may not be hidden, your body language, your tone and attitude.

Develop awareness of patterns and emotions you may have that may prevent you from finding happiness or your finding the “true you”.

If you are a non horse person who desires to get near horses but has a FEAR of the horse because of its gigantic size and power then this retreat is a great start to conquering that fear.

How can horses help you?

Horses are amazing, sensitive animals.   As a means of survival developed over thousands of years horses are acutely aware of their surroundings.  As prey animals they make quick and accurate decisions to avoid danger.   That is why horses can read you like a book before you ever get near them.  Horses are authentic and react honestly to whatever real or hidden emotions, energy or behavior you may display to them.  The horses can in turn help you “think like a horse”  channeling your energy to become more authentic and honest.

During the workshop there will be (2 ) 2 hour horse therapy sessions on Saturday and (1) 2 hour session on Sunday.

You are also free to visit with the horses during “free” time.

Practice Yoga

Start your day by finding your balance mentally and physically sunrise yoga overlooking stunning views of the canyon.  Being outside in harmony with nature allows you to reawaken, forming a deeper connection with yourself.

We will practice “Sunrise Yoga” on both mornings of the clinic before breakfast.  You won’t want to miss this.


Friday night experience  Jo’s wild horse slide show and presentation.  Jo has traveled all over the west photographing America’s wild horses, most recently in Oregon’s Steens Mountain Wilderness and Montana’s Pryor Mountains.  See Jo’s new photography from those trips. You may be moved to tears and or you may have many questions regarding the controversies surrounding America’s wild horses.  Jo can most likely answer any questions you have and if not she can find you answers.  The subject of wild horses prompts excellent discussion on how horses live and communicate as well.  Giving you better understanding of horse behavior, wild or domestic.

Saturday night we will have a camp fire near the barn overlooking the expansive valley, twinkling lights and sparkling stars overhead.  If you want to break from the “healthy” food to melt a smore we won’t stop you.

Of course the hot tub beckons a visit after entertainment.  Soak in the warm water with a glass of wine while you gaze overhead at the canopy of twinkling stars. 

Nourishing Food

Nurture your body healthy nourishing food.   The 3 meals a day will not only delight your taste buds they will strengthen your insides. Non alcoholic beverages and fine wine will be available for your refreshment pleasure.

If you have any specific dietary concerns such as allergies, gluten intolerance, vegetarian, vegan please let us know!  We will cater to every request.

What to bring? Climate etc.

Sundog Ranch is a fully equipped Bed and Breakfast.  All bed linens, towels, shampoo etc. are provided.  The weather in April and early May can be a toss-up.  Average temps are in the low 70’s up to low 80’s in May.  But of course there is a possibility for a cool spell or heat spell.   Check forecasts and come prepared.  The pool is not heated but in any case bring your swim suit as you won’t want to miss a dip in the hot tub, rain or shine.  In October the chance of rain is slim.  Definitely bring sun protection.

Start and End Times

Check in is between 3-5 pm Friday afternoon.   We will start the retreat with happy hour at 6 pm Friday.  Dinner at 7  Slideshow around 8:30.  Exact schedules and meal menus for Sat. and Sun. will be posted both mornings if not before. 

Layover Option

Since this is a three-day workshop Jo is offering the chance to extend your stay an extra 24 hours.    Arrive Thursday after 3pm and have Thursday afternoon and evening, and all day Friday at Sundog.  Thursday dinner and Friday breakfast provided by Jo.  Great for those who want more time to relax and de-stress.  See Registration page for more info.

Have Fun  Eat Delicious Heathy Food  Drink Wine  Do Yoga  Relax  De-Stress!!
No riding experience is required.   You will have contact with the horses if you choose but you will not ride horses in the workshop.






Sundog Ranch

Sundog is a ridge ranch 15 minutes northeast of Chico in the foothills of Northern California. The home and land have expansive views over the desolate Rock Creek Canyon, Northern California big valley and coastal range.  The architecturally designed home is inviting and unique. The home feels as though is has let the outdoors in.  You can decompress in nature’s landscape and quiet.  Soak up the sun by the pool, read a book in the garden. Spend time with the horses. Hug a donkey or hear her bray.  And last but not least you could end the day by sitting by the fire or taking an evening dip in the hot tub with a glass of wine while you gaze at a breathtaking canopy of stars overhead………before going to bed.

The Sundogs 2012

From Left: Sasha, Maisie, Yolo, Lassen and Nevada

See map below for location.  Sundog is located 20 minutes from Chico, California, 2 hours from Sacramento, Ca. 4 hours from the San Francisco Bay Area,  3 hours to Lake Tahoe, 3.5 hours to Reno, Nevada,  3 hours to Napa Valley, 3 – 4 hours to the Northern California Coast, 2 hours to Mt Lassen National Park, 2 hrs to Mt Shasta Recreation area and about 3 hours to the Oregon border.




Meet the Team

Deni Whiting

Ace in the Hole107    Expert Horse Human Connector

Deni lives her passion. She has been teaching with horses for over 20 years. In fact she still considers herself “a student of the horse”. She is a “forever learner” about horses. She practices natural horsemanship and has trained under the likes of Pat and Linda Parelli, Leslie Desmond, Amy Bowers-Book and Jonathan Fields. She is a certified rider bio-mechanic coach under Colleen Kelly. Deni is a master at understanding horse behavior which transcends right into natural horsemanship.   In Intro to Horses Naturally, Deni will share and show natural horsemanship methods and philosophy.  In Happiness, Health and Horses Deni will bring the horses into the circle to give each participant a chance to have a up and close, safe interaction with a horse.  We are lucky to have Deni as our master horse human teacher here at Sundog.

Lara Conkey-Wiebelhaus

SallyRonSalRon     Our Very Flexible Yoga Teacher

Lara is a local Cohasset resident and horse woman. She is on a new journey as yoga teacher since 2016. She is quickly gaining fame teaching for Chico Yoga Center, Chico Sports Club and Cohasset Community Association. If you have never done yoga or if you are a pro you will love her instruction. She teaches to every level. She will be customizing her sessions to “the horse”.  We were lucky to have her for Sunrise Yoga at Happiness Health and Horses this year and now Horses and Yoga and HHH next year!

Sharon Blau

SallyRonSalRon-3    Chef Extraordinare


Sharon Blau is HONESTLY the best chef ever for the HHH workshop. Horse Honesty believes that food has the power to nourish the body and soul and Sharon delivers.  She creates amazing culinary creations for the entire weekend.  You will see her smiling face in the kitchen keeping everybody company while filling the house with tantalizing aroma’s. Sharon is a devoted natural horsemanship student of Deni Whiting.

Jo Danehy

Bio 0    Lead Mare at Sundog Ranch

Jo Danehy is the pioneer and owner of Sun Dog Ranch and the founder of Horse Honesty retreats.  Jo and her late husband Roy, cleared the land then helped design and build the house and ranch. Jo is a recently retired RN, a hobby breeder of Golden Retrievers, and most notably an award-winning photographer and owner of Danehy Photography.  Jo won Best in Show in 2016 at Art at the Classic and also in 2017 at Horse Expo “Art of the Horse”  Jo is self taught with 15 years behind the camera. You can see her work at http://www.danehyphotography.com   She has been published and won numerous awards in California and New Mexico.  Sundog Ranch is the product of years of hard work to achieve a dream.  Jo is excited about transitioning Sundog Ranch from a private residence into a retreat and workshop venue. Jo also raises goats to clear the land.  She is a horsewoman and devoted student of Deni Whiting.


As of 12/31/17 You can use Paypal to pay but DO NOT USE PAYPAL BUY NOW BUTTONS TO LEFT OF THIS PAGE.  We are in process of updating.


At this time the best way to pay for each retreat is through Paypal at jodanehy@mac.com, the receipt will say Horse Honesty.  Make a note on Paypal about which retreat you are signing up for.   Additionally send an email to jodanehy@mac.com and tell her which retreat you signed up for.  Jo will notify you that your registration is confirmed.    Jo can also make secure credit card transactions for any workshop purchase over the phone if you wish.  If you prefer to send a check please call or email Jo about which retreat you want to sign up and then make out a check to Jo Danehy and to 113 Via De La Cruz Way, Chico, Ca 95973



For more information on retreats or workshops inquire on the form below on this page or you may call Jo Danehy directly.  See registration page for detailed payment options.

Jo Danehy  (530) 680-3274

Sundog Ranch

113 Via De La Cruz Way

Chico, California. 95973