Horses live in the moment, mirror human emotions/attitudes and moods. They are big animals, so break down people’s defences. The direct focus is on the horses and not the person, so the client can be more reflective. There is no right or wrong way with horses. Horses are non-verbal communicators. Horses do not judge.
Equine Assisted Learning and Equine Assisted Psychotherapy
Equine Assisted Learning and Psychotherapy (EAL/EAP) is an experiential form of therapy which incorporates the use of horses to help us achieve growth and learning. All the activities are done on the ground, THERE IS NO RIDING involved. EAL/EAP is a team approach, which is made up of the horses, an equine specialist and the mental health professional. The equine specialist focuses on physical safety, the mental health professional focuses on emotional safety. I use theEAGALA, (equine assisted growth and learning association) model. RTE1 Nationwide ran a piece on EAGALA Ireland, Wednesday 2nd March 2016.
Facilitated activities can be tailor made for each individual, group or family, and through these activities participants can learn about themselves and others. This is aided by processing and discussing their findings following each activity. Participants are always encouraged to discuss or share only what they are comfortable with when they are in a group setting.
We encourage participants to notice their body language, energy levels, and behavior. This is achieved by becoming aware of how the horses react to them. The results are naturally evolving, cause and effect situations are created and the horses give immediate feedback, which is interpreted by the participants.
The focus is on the horses so the participants are less conscious of their own actions and the process flows freely. We draw metaphors from what is happening in the arena with the horses, to life outside the arena for the participants.