The Power of Partnering with a Horse
Horses perceive and respond to energy, emotions and subtle body language cues as a means of communicating. They are both extremely powerful and extremely sensitive. They are always honest, authentic and congruent, meaning their intentions are in alignment with their behaviors. Partnering with them offers us the opportunity to tune in to our own energy, emotions and nonverbal signals and practice modulating our energy to communicate and set boundaries as needed. The field of equine assisted therapy and learning has evolved and expanded immensely over the past decade. More and more research is reinforcing what many of us "horse people" have always known and experienced but couldn’t always explain. Now we have science to back up the "how" behind the "what", yet I still leave space for a bit of magic. Horses always seem to know exactly what is needed in each moment and are willing to offer it to us if we are open to receiving it. To experience that deep resonance can feel magical. Being in the presence of horses inspires a feeling of awe, an expansive emotion associated with many health benefits including improved mood. In my role as an equine therapist, I consider myself a “translator” and guide in learning the horse's language in order to access their immense wisdom.
As naturally social creatures who rely on their herd for survival in the wild, the horse acts as a model for positive social behavior and effective partnership skills. Developing a connection with a horse takes patience, courage, attunement, self-awareness, and the same interpersonal skills required for successful interactions with other humans. A herd, like any family or team, is most connected and functions best when the relationships within it are based on mutual trust, respect, and clear communication.
Horses offer us instant, honest and nonjudgmental feedback about our way of being in the world. Their language is based in energy and emotions and they can sense subtle shifts in our bodies, often before we do since we spend so much time in our heads. They invite us to quiet our busy brains and return to our bodies where we can learn to modulate our emotions and recalibrate our nervous systems.
A relationship with a horse is a powerfully motivating incentive to change the behavior patterns that are not serving us. Children and adults alike will find the challenging process of self-growth and learning to be much more rewarding and fun when given the opportunity to engage with these magnificent creatures surrounded by the beauty and serenity of nature.