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Equine Assisted Learning and Healing

An evolving field involving horses is Equine Assisted Learning (EAL).  Other names might be Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP), Equine Assisted Leadership Development and Equine Assisted Coaching.  Although horses have been used for years in riding therapy programs the equine assisted fields are emerging more recently in the last 20 years or so and are more widely known in the southwest and California. Author LInda Kohanov founded one such place in Arizona called Epona Equestrian Services.  It is a collection of professionals who explore and promote the human/animal connection.  Their work has received international attention.


Horses are excellent mirrors of human energy and emotion.  The Equine Assisted field uses horses in experiential learning situations where people learn from the metaphors that come up while working through each learning exercise. EAL is very effective in developing confidence, assertiveness, self-esteem, reducing stress and increasing personal empowerment.  They are excellent sources of teaching improved leadership, communication and relationship skills as they apply in the work place and our personal lives. 


People and horses have a unique connection.  While other animals such as dogs or cats can facilitate learning and healing, horses are special because they are prey animals and we are predators setting up a totally different dynamic.  An understanding of the horse as a prey animal is key to understanding how equine assisted learning and natural horsemanship training work. 


In the wild, horses are herd animals.  They have a distinct hierarchy.  It all comes down to leadership. All they really want to know is, "who is above me and who is below me."  While it's important to treat horses well, being "nice" to them is not how they view caring.  In their eyes, they will admire and trust you when they feel they can rely on you as their leader.  That then places the responsibility on us to be worthy of leadership . . . and the dance begins. By understanding more of their language, people become more effective leaders, communicators and team players.  They are better members of the "herd."  They get along better with others.  They have a greater sense of purpose and confidence. 


Being prey animals, horses possess unique abilities to detect anything that is not congruent.  In other words if how you appear on the outside doesn't match how they perceive you on the inside, they get nervous.  They will often pick up things about people before the people themselves do because people are so used to a certain amount of "dishonesty" in their lives even about what we tell ourselves.  It's hard for us to just be in the moment, to be totally true to ourselves.  Our world doesn't allow for that as much.  Eventually we lose sight of a lot of things because we are confused by our own mixed messages.  Horses bring us back to the moment and remind us of our true nature.  Once we understand whatever lessons come through, we are in a position of power and change. 


Black Forest Farm, LLC has a variety of Equine Assisted Learning experiences developed for businesses and personal lives done in an individual and group format and designed with your goals in mind. 


Call 608-270-1550 or email us at only@blackforeststables.com to learn more or begin your journey in equine assisted learning.