So Equine Facilitated Learning…. How is it that horses can provide such insightful and meaningful learning without uttering a single word?
As prey animals, horses are constantly alert to potential danger, and extremely sensitive to their environment and those around them. As a herd animal they are very strongly aware of the energy, intentions and non-verbal communication of others, to which they respond honestly in the moment.
Horses are therefore adept at picking up and responding to human intention and non-verbal communication. They sense and respond to subtle cues in our behaviour and therefore provide instant, honest and accurate feedback in the moment – creating experiences which get to the core of issues quickly, powerfully and effectively.
Furthermore, research shows that people experience many physiological benefits while interacting with horses, including lowered blood pressure and heart rate, increased levels of beta-endorphins (neurotransmitters that serve as pain suppressors), decreased stress levels, reduced feelings of anger, hostility, tension and anxiety, improved social functioning; and increased feelings of empowerment, trust, patience and self-efficacy.
Together, this means the horse – person interactions create a safe space within which to work with social and emotional learning ideas, where one can experiment directly, or in metaphor, to develop the emotional and social skills needed across all aspects of life. Meaning our clients can develop and nurture valuable personal skills required to support success, be it in the family or friendship space, or from the classroom right through to the workplace.