Equine Assisted Learning programs are a powerful journey of learning and understanding for those who participate. Horses in this program are effective teaching tools; immediately responding to what participants do, trained facilitators look for "teachable moments" that horses identify. Quite simply, the horse does the teaching; facilitators are there to offer explanation and provide guidance as they work through the solution.
The single most asked question is, why are horses used? To understand how this process works we must first realize how horses learn and understand the laws of survival. In a horse’s world, the rules are clear, easy to understand and dealt with swiftly when challenged.
Nature provides them with instincts and senses that are very astute. For their mere survival, a wild horse must be aware of their surroundings and quick to react. They watch for the slightest movement, especially threatening body posture. Horses know how to discern the difference between a calm non-threatening approach and anxious, nervous energy; immediately identifying individuals struggling internally. By understanding the true nature of the horse, we can alter our techniques to become efficient facilitators.
Horses look for strong leadership are willing to follow, but only after they find respect and trust. If we provide contradictory behaviour, they will question and challenge our authority to lead. Horses respect the stringent outline of the hierarchy. In a horse’s world, team work is respected and expected. Horses respond favourably to positive stimulus and respect consequences inasmuch as it is fair. Horses are tough and steadfast dance partners; they don’t judge, but they don’t forget. They don’t let you cheat and their feed back is honest. Dr. Phil may have paraphrased "how’s that working for you" but horses have been asking since the beginning of time. The horse is known as "the teller of truth" who desires to "do the right thing." It is believed that a horse's spirit will lead individuals in the "right direction" and will assist them in understanding their place in the circle of life.
If we, as facilitators, are willing to listen, they can assist us with guiding groups to becoming better individuals. By including horses in specially designed educational experiences, equine assisted specialists have greatly multiplied the participant’s rate of success to self discovery. Horses can’t overthink a participant’s motive and horses can’t manipulate behaviour. But by their intuitive nature and innate sensitivity, horses can provide facilitators with a window into the participant’s personality. As facilitators listen to a horse’s non-verbal communication, together, they have the ability to walk participants through to finding life-altering change. By understanding why and how horses are aware of our every movement – you will come to understand how effective equine-assisted learning programs are to finding individual.
By their intuitive nature and innate sensitivity, horses can provide facilitators with a window into the participants personality. As a prey animal, they are sensitive to the stimulus of each participant. They react to the stimulus through body language and participants must adjust their feelings and behaviours to work successfully with the horses.
What can a horse teach you that a human can't?
Horses consistently model assertiveness and teach us how.
Horses can't lie or over think a participants motive.
Horses feedback is honest and instant.
Horses have natural "herd behaviours" that require trust, respect and teamwork from all members of the team. Horses automatically respond to confusion and frustration as these feelings can put the herd at risk.
They lead through assuredness - not brute force.
Horses have distinct personalities and through this, they all have a different methods of teaching.
Quite simply, equine assisted learning, works