This Cowgirl Shaman Earns $90/Hour Reading the Minds of Horses

a woman and a horse
“I believe anybody can do this, I really do,” says Terri Jay. “It’s picking up things without conscious thought.” Photo courtesy of Terri Jay

Nearly three decades ago, Terri Jay was leading a horse therapy program at an elementary school in her home state of Nevada.

As she helped a little boy with cerebral palsy into the saddle, she heard him say: “Ouch, there’s a cramp in my hip.”

After she adjusted him, she heard him ask: “You can hear me?”

Not thinking much of it, she replied affirmatively before leading him around the field. They chatted about homework, friends and the school play. When it was over, one of the volunteers pointed out that Jay’s conversation had been one-sided — the boy was completely non-verbal.

“It didn’t dawn on me at the time that he wasn’t talking out loud,” Jay says.

Deeply confused, Jay went to the boy’s classroom, where she says he’d typed up “horse lady can hear me” on his communication device. His teacher was in disbelief, according to Jay, as was she.

“I was just in shock,” she says. “I’d never had anything like this happen to me before.”

From Skeptic to Believer

Though Jay didn’t understand how, she knew she’d heard that boy speak.

“My first thought was it’s a bunch of BS,” she says. “I’m very down-to-earth and pragmatic; to think about hearing thoughts was way out of my realm of possibility.”

But she figured if she could hear a non-verbal child, she could also hear horses — and make her equine therapy program safer.

At the time, Jay was married to a horse trainer who often dealt with problem horses. As she practiced listening to their thoughts, she discovered most of them had pain issues — and was able to make a big difference in their lives, as well as their owners’ lives.

“It just sort of all segued together,” she says.

Psychic Jobs: The Business of a Real-Life Horse Whisperer

Word of Jay’s ability spread throughout the horse community, and people began asking her to help them figure out what was wrong with their horses.

Her growing business reached new heights when she built a website, and was then again buoyed by the release of “The Horse Whisperer” book and movie in 1995 and 1998.

Further technological advances — like accepting payments through Paypal, marketing through Facebook and attracting visitors through search engines — allowed her to offer her services throughout the country and even overseas.

She now works full time, or as she says, “seven days a week and holidays.” Most of her readings are one-on-one, over the phone; she usually does three in the morning and three in the afternoon.

Jay charges $50 for a 30-minute session and $90 for an hour. Customers rarely ask for refunds, and when they do, Jay says the clients often apologize later because they realize she’d been right.

She’s also expanded her services over the years.

When a horse client mentioned that her daughter had recently passed away, Jay asked the client if she’d like to speak to her.

Jay revealed that the client had been looking through her daughter’s jewelry for a bracelet the day before — and was correct.

“So that’s when I found out I was a medium,” she says.

Today, 40% of her income comes from work as a horse psychic, and 30% comes from work as a medium.

The rest comes from her books, online training and other services, which include:

  • Finding lost pets by telling owners what their pets are seeing, smelling and hearing
  • Determining the location of gold by feeling for its energy on the map
  • Remotely inspecting homes for people buying a house site unseen
  • Communicating with non-verbal people who are in comas or have severe autism or dementia

How Jay’s Readings Work

To understand how she does what she does, Jay recommends a movie called “What the Bleep Do We Know?!” about quantum physics. She says its release was “a big turning point” in her life.

“It helped me a lot because I realized there’s no woo-woo to this stuff,” she says. “It’s just physics — I’m just a big cell phone tower that picks up on vibrations that people are missing.

“That [movie] made me feel so much better because I’m a down-to-earth cowgirl and things have to be grounded and rooted for me to accept them.”

When she communicates with another animal or person, Jay says she doesn’t receive words or sentences. Rather, she receives “pulses of information”; whatever tastes, sights, sounds and feelings the other person or animal is experiencing.

“Any time you’re talking to a dog or cat or horse, it’s almost like the first thing you get are smells,” she says. “You have to have no preconceived notions.”

As an example, Jay says a client asked if her dead mother-in-law had seen what they’d done for her. Jay responded the family had planted a tree in her honor. The daughter-in-law asked what it looked like, and Jay said it had tiny pink flowers.

“And then of course I hear dead silence,” she says. “Because I was right.”

The Highs and Lows of Life As a Cowgirl Shaman

Jay admits her work can be draining, and has learned over the years she can’t do too many readings in a day.

“You do things with visualization and intention to protect yourself and stay plugged in,” she says. “You also need a lot of protein; it’s like you burn extra protein when you do this work.”

Because “everything has a vibration and frequency,” Jay is constantly being “bombarded” with information. She can’t listen to music, and also says shopping is difficult.

“I’m on all the time,” she says. “I don’t have an off switch.”

But, even though it’s tiring, she loves her work and finds it extremely rewarding.

“When people are grieving and they get a reading, they’re not the same when they’re done,” she says. “You’re helping people feel better. It truly is healing work.”

Do You Believe It?

Jay says she’s not a magician — just someone who’s learned to tune in better.

“I believe anybody can do this, I really do,” she says. “It’s picking up things without conscious thought.”

We’re all born with 10 senses, Jay explains: the five traditional ones, plus intuition, clairvoyance, clairsentience, clairaudience and claircognizance.

To develop her skills, she read books like “Kinship With All Life” and “Talking With Horses” — but says the most important factors were healing herself and finding happiness.

“You’ve got to get out of your own way,” she says. “Learn to feel instead of think.”

As for the skeptics, she gets it.

“I’m even still skeptical if that makes any sense,” she says. “But I always say I can’t make this [stuff] up — it ends up being too specific.

“It’s not my job to convince people. My job is to relay information; what they choose to do with it is up to them. I joke and say I’m just a messenger.”

Susan Shain is a freelance writer and digital nomad. She covers travel, food and personal finance (basically, how to save money so you can travel more and eat more). Visit her blog at, or say hi on Twitter @susan_shain.