Equine Assisted Experiential Learning
Magic happens when humans and horses come together. Horses are consummate facilitators in the work of human development. Their size alone inspires a heightened state of awareness. These intelligent, sensitive creatures respond to both positive and negative changes in the human's behavior, offering constant feedback and timely rewards or consequences for their actions.
Simply put, horses, despite being large and powerful, are prey animals. Animals, especially those preyed upon in nature, have had to be sensitive to subtleties in the environment, emotional energy and the intention behind it. This is their very survival mechanism. How can this sensitivity translate to work with humans? The body language of someone "putting on a happy face" is incongruent with the rise in blood pressure, muscle tension and emotional intensity transmitted unconsciously by an individual who is actually afraid, frustrated or angry. The saying goes "the horse can smell your fear", but it's much more subtle and complicated than that. The observation that horses mirror the "feeling behind the facade" is one of the key principles of equine facilitated work.
There are many forms of equine experiential work in the marketplace. The work at Epona Lifeworks is based on the Epona Approach™ developed by Linda Kohanov (The Tao of Equus, Riding Between the Worlds) and Kathleen Barry Ingram and is emotionally and physically sensitive to the individual and the horse. It is all about being in an authentic partnership with another sentient being, learning from each other. Through a series of specially designed activities, Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL) helps us deepen our awareness of personal issues, core feelings and areas of bodily tension that may inhibit the ability to reach our true potential.
Benefits of Experiential Learning with Horses
- Illustrate essential skills for authentic community building.
- Show ways to set boundaries while staying connected and grounded.
- Work with you to explore your authentic self and how this part of you does or doesn’t manifest in your life.
- Help you to see how others see you.
- Explore how you build relationships in your personal and professional life.
- Show you the importance of being aware of and interpreting the messages behind your emotions.
- Identify and work with you and your self-limiting thoughts and behaviors.
The beauty of the work with the horses is that they are powerful mirrors of our emotional selves. There is no room for stories, excuses,…no B.S. The feedback of a horse is immediate, truthful, non-judgmental and helps us create more awareness about our own power, our confidence, and the energy we transmit when we are -- or aren't -- in that authentic place.