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The Horse & Human Partnership

The Horse & Human Partnership

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.
— Sir Winston Churchill

Why do we partner with horses in nature?

Nature invites an awareness of our elemental connection to the planet. Science has shown how nature awakens areas of our brains and replenishes energetic wells within us. 

Likewise, partnership with horses has been shown to expand our human potential as we work with, and learn from, a non-judgemental being in a willing and open way. Horses and humans have a long history of working in partnership together.

What is Equine Facilitated Learning, and why is it so impactful?

Equine Facilitated Learning & Coaching (EFLC) can take many shapes and forms across a wide spectrum of industries and specialities. We define it as a process of experiential learning, facilitated in partnership and presence with horses, for the purpose of personal development, discovering & drawing out authentic leadership, exploring emotional intelligence and awareness, and cultivating resilience of spirit and being. It's typically done on the ground in the presence of a horse, who works with the client in partnership with a human coach/facilitator.

Why is EFLC such a transformational experience? As a result of the highly sensitive nature of horses, what a person holds emotionally in their body and mentally in their mind, affects how the horse responds to them. Horses instinctively respond to truth and authenticity. The horse acts as a supportive witness, mirror and companion during personal discoveries of hidden aspects of oneself- providing profound experiences at the cellular level as individuals explore self-worth, tolerance, patience and compassion.

Horses show up without ego, agenda or judgement- they are simply with us as Anam Caras (Soul Friends). 

The beauty of this work is that it's truly a process of making the "invisible" visible; as people witness and experience the impact that their own self-awareness has on the horse, they gain greater awareness of the impact of shifting energy and mindsets- and are empowered to make desired changes in their lives. 

Curious to learn more? 

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The science behind the invisible connection between our bodies and horses

People often express an unexplainable attraction to be near horses, even if they've never actually ridden or interacted with them before. There is something magical about their presence and capacity for healing and empowering humans. Although we work with our horses from a foundation that is deeply grounded in intuition, this is an exciting time to see more and more scientific information emerging about the horse-human connection and the healing capacity of our interactions with them. 

There have been two great rivers in the human journey- spirituality, and science. In our early days they were interwoven; but they’ve been hideously separated over the last centuries.
And we’ve been torn apart by that.
And now, in our time, they’re flowing together- and the promise of that is huge.
— Joanna Macy

Heart intelligence

Thanks to the many studies conducted by The Heartmath Institute over the last few decades, we know that the human heart emits a magnetic field that extends well beyond our bodies. This magnetic field overlaps and interacts with the energetic fields of everything around us, including horses and other humans! Considering the horse's heart is nearly five times the size of the human heart, they have an incredibly expansive magnetic heart field. It's no wonder humans naturally feel better in their presence- the emit a lot of heart energy!

The heart is a core foundation of our work with the horses, and we focus on building awareness and connection between the human heart and the horse heart in order to bring more coherence and intention to our interactions. With an awareness of this field, we are able to consciously engage our hearts and the intelligence of the heart. The tools we offer to build this connection can be take out into the world and embedded in daily practice to support a more wholehearted approach to life. 

Curious for more? Check out these articles about the relationship between the horse and human hearts:

Brain power

Horses, just like nature, are good for our brains. They ignite our cognitive development in exciting and intriguing ways. For decades people have worked with horses in a number of therapeutic forums, and there is a large body of evidence showing how effective horses are in supporting children and adults with Autism. This is leading us to explore how horses affect human brains in more general terms, beyond solely therapeutic purposes. 

Within our programs, workshops and expeditions, we integrate many of the approaches and philosophy of Dr. Allan Hamilton, a Harvard-graduate brain surgeon and horse trainer who has written the beautiful and essential book Zen Mind Zen Horse: The Science and Spirituality of Working with Horses . We also integrate core aspects of The Horseboy Method, which is grounded in neuro-science and the effect horses have on the human brain, and our capacity to learn. 

Curious for more? Check out these case studies about the impact of horse interactions on the human brain:

Emotional flow

Emotional agility and coherence is an essential aspect to wellbeing. When we can understand where our emotions arise from, what the underlying story is behind them, and learn how to work with them rather than pushing against them, we become empowered to move through our lives with more ease and clarity. Horses are incredible partners in this work with emotions. They are highly sensitive and experts at reading body language. They live within the language of feeling, and often will feel a human's emotion before the human themselves is even aware of it. While we might be able to hide our emotions from other people, and even from ourselves, the horse is able to feel what is really going on. 

Emotional awareness keeps everyone in the herd safe, so we integrate this into all aspects of our work. The beauty of working with emotions and horses is that there is no judgement, no "right" or "wrong" emotion, no "good" or "bad" emotion. As the horses mirror for us, every emotion is information and we work with the information and messages offered through emotions, to live from a more authentic and empowered sense of being. Our work integrates the wisdom of how to work with emotions that leaders such as Karla McLaren, Linda Kohanov, Peter Levine and Bessel Van Der Kolk (just to name a few!) have brought into the world. 

Curious for more? Explore more about the power of possibility that emotional agility offers:

    Neuroscience research shows that
    the only way we can change the way we feel
    is by becoming aware of our inner experience
    and learning to befriend what is going on inside ourselves.
    — Bessel Van Der Kolk M.D.