Equine-Assisted Learning & Therapy programs provide a unique and powerful experience to help people overcome challenges, heal and grow emotionally, and improve relationships through trust and connection. In all of our HorseLink programs, we incorporate working with horses into many exercises; however, we don’t actually ride them – we will work in a round pen with a horse – no saddles, halters or bridles. Horses can help you to face your fears, communicate your true feelings, recognize your strengths, and be in the present moment.
Horses help humans in:
- Establishing connection and trust: Horses are prey animals and, unlike dogs or cats, must be hyper-vigilant of their environment in order to “be safe.” They do not trust unconditionally, thus humans have to work to gain their trust and cooperation. Horses extend trust and feel safe with those who are congruent, where one’s internal emotional state matches their external behavior and body language.
- Gaining confidence: Horses are herd animals and accept and look for a leader to follow; however, this must be earned. True leadership with a horse is consensual and cannot be obtained through aggression, but rather through assertiveness, which is both gentle and calm, yet powerful.
- Creating a bond and providing safety: Horses are nonjudgmental and accept you just as you are. They do not have an agenda and simply provide constant feedback on a human’s emotions and reactions. They will willingly bond with people and extend to them compassion, kindness, and patience.
Equine-Assisted work is based on the belief that people learn best by direct and purposeful contact with their learning experience and can consciously alter the way they feel, think, and behave beyond habitual patterns and resistances accumulated throughout their lives.