How Do Horses Help People?
Whether leadership coaching, relationship workshops, or therapy, we incorporate horses into many exercises; however, we do not ride them. We will work in a round pen with a horse – no saddles, halters, or bridles. Equine Experiential Learning uses safe and gentle work to help you become aware of patterns of behavior that keep you from reaching your best and building relationships with people. Horses can help you to face your fears, communicate your true feelings, and recognize your strengths.
Horses are consummate facilitators in the work of human development. Their size alone inspires a heightened state of awareness. Horses are social animals that readily and honestly respond to the challenges in building a trusting relationship.
Horses see through the times when we say one thing but are thinking and feeling another. As prey animals, they have a highly developed ability to sense changes in the stance, intent, and emotions of predators and other horses at a distance. Since we are predators, too, they quickly transfer this sensing ability to us as human beings.
Horses have thrived as a species for thousands of years by relying on congruent communication and authentic leadership, a competence they teach to people. Through working with a horse in a round pen, you will become more aware of how you interact with people. You will also begin to understand how much of our communication with others is non-verbal. Facilitators provide immediate feedback about the participant’s interactions with the horses, both positive and negative, which builds relationship skills and develops emotional intelligence.
A tremendous boost in confidence comes from learning to connect to and direct a thousand-pound animal by having mental focus, creative visualization, and clarity of intent. These skills, which can be challenging to teach in a traditional training session, are fun to learn and have many applications in how we relate to people every day. Schooled equestrians, novice riders, and people who have never been near a horse before can all benefit from this powerful experience.
“I learned that setting my own boundaries establishes a mutual connection and respect. I also learned the importance of checking in with myself.” – J.D.
“The most valuable part for me was overcoming anxiety to do what I wanted to do. I learned when I get triggered, I need to breathe and come back to the present where it is safe.” – A.M.
“I felt internal strength that has wavered so much lately. Regrouping is so important. I LOVED this!” – Program participant
“Phenomenal experience today. Words cannot describe it.” – Program participant