Why Horses Heal
So, Why Do We Use Horses for Assisted Learning?
Contrary to belief, there is a correlation between horses and people. By including horses in specially-designed experiential learning exercises, equine-assisted facilitators are able to observe the non-verbal communication of the horses and be a translator, as well as a guide to encourage the participant to attain the outcome of each exercise. This hands-on approach to learning has proven to greatly multiply the participant's retention and understanding of skills learned. Keep in mind that this is not a riding program but strictly handling and groundwork with horses.
While Equine Assisted Learning has the ability to take an individual through a powerful journey of learning and understanding, the most asked question is, "WHY HORSES?"
Here are some of the reasons why horses are so suited to this unique experience:
Horses are sensitive, aware of their surroundings and quick to react. They watch for the slightest movement and look for threatening body postures as they learn to communicate through body language and vocalization. Horses know how to discern the difference between a calm, non-threatening approach and anxious, nervous energy. However, every horse is different, just as each person is unique.
The boundaries are clear and easy to understand in a horse's world. Horses look for strong leadership and are willing to follow after they find respect and trust. If we provide contradictory behaviour, they start to question and challenge our authority to lead by testing boundaries and leadership.
In a horse’s world, teamwork is expected and respected. Horses respect fair consequences. Horses cannot lie or overthink a situation. They approach honestly to every interaction. Learning to listen to what horses have to say is powerful and can sometimes be the stimulant to individual change.
Horses react to stimuli and allow a skilled facilitator to use the horse as a guideline. By their intuitive nature, horses can provide facilitators with a window into the participant’s personality. Through the discovery of how sensitive horses are and how kind and forgiving they can be, we can guide participants to become better individuals by identifying specific horse behaviours.