by Carolyn CharlesWhat makes Equine Assisted Skill Development so special? The horse of course!
As horse people, we all know that these majestic creatures are some of the best teachers in the world. We have all experienced the moments, the changes and happiness they have brought to our lives. But why is it that horses are such incredible teachers and help us learn and grow?
1. Horses feel everything!
From being able to hear our hearts beat, to feeling a fly land on them, the sensitivity of the horse is essential to why they are able to teach. This is what allows horses to discern between calm and nervous energy and lets them know how their human team members are feeling. Think about what happens when you cut your finger - sometimes you can feel your heart beat in it. Your body is sending extra help to heal the situation.
Horses are so sensitive that they can sense all of the physiological changes in our bodies. Our heart rate increasing, becoming agitated, frustrated, or when we are living in the moment and being truly authentic. That’s why when horses respond, the participant can make a change in the moment and see the immediate outcome.
2. Horses don’t judge.
A horse doesn’t care if you are beautiful or brilliant, rich or poor, tall or short! They can only think and act like a horse and are just responding to the stimulus they get from people around them.
3. Horses demand leadership.
As a herd animal, their primary need is to feel safe. Therefore, when working with people, if they don’t have a leader, they will become the leader. This allows people to really step into their personal leadership to work with the horse effectively.
They realize that if they can effectively lead a horse, there isn’t anything that they can’t do! They step into being the leaders of their own lives!
4. Horses are parallel to humans.
The learning from Equine Assisted Skill Development doesn’t just stay in the arena, it is paralleled to everyday life so that participants can fully understand exactly how to transfer the knowledge. Both humans and horses need leadership, safety, respect, communication and trust. Plus participants can see that by leading a horse and building skills they can move forward in sections of their own lives, whether that is in the workplace, with their family or within themselves.
5. Horses are a prey animal.
Indeed this is what makes it all possible, that horses are able to be so sensitive and responsive. Not just any prey animal is capable of this. Horses are able to desensitize as well, so we know that their actions are true to the stimulus around them from participants. It is through their reactions that we are able to step in and facilitate actual change.
Through interactive skill development programs, clients walk away with true epiphanies about themselves, the people around them and answers to the questions in their lives. We have never had a client leave our arena without some sort of change. This is all because we have the best teachers in the world… HORSES!
Photos courtesy of Equine Connection. Find out more about Equine Connection in our section about Equine Studies - Clinicians and Trainers.