Horses aren’t impressed with recovery talk or good intentions. We must earn and constantly re-earn permission to lead them. Horses know when we’re grounded, focused and being real. And they know immediately when we’re not, even if we don’t know it ourselves. It’s impossible to fake a real connection with an animal who’s evolved over millions of years to intuitively understand who can be trusted and who may be experiencing the kind of inner turmoil that can signal a threat. Horses respond with unique insight into exactly who we are in the moment. They are profoundly gifted reflectors of our true selves because their very survival depends on reading us right. That’s why time spent working with horses on the ground under the guidance of a team of certified EAGALA professionals, using the evidence-driven, ethical EAGALA Model offers your clients a safe, hands-on and immediate way to practice being honest and open to change.
EAGALA Model Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy and Personal Development is experiencing rapid growth around the globe.
Why? In two words: STRONG OUTCOMES. Equine-assisted work often helps clients change and grow more effectively and quickly than traditional clinical and psycho-educational approaches.
That’s because people typically learn best by doing. Life lessons take deeper root when individuals both understand them in their heads and experience them in their bodies. Working with horses is engaging, real time and hands-on. The experience is immediate and fully felt.
So why horses and not other animals?
Horses are large and powerful. This creates a natural opportunity for some to overcome fear and develop confidence. Working alongside a horse, in spite of those fears, creates confidence and provides wonderful insight when dealing with other intimidating and challenging situations in life.
Horses are social animals, with defined roles within their herds. They would rather be with their peers. They have distinct personalities, attitudes and moods; an approach that works with one horse won’t necessarily work with another. At times, they seem stubborn and defiant. They like to have fun. In other words, horses are a lot like us socially – when we work on our relationships with them, we in turn are learning how to improve our relationships with others.
Horses respond with unique insight into exactly who we are in the moment. They are profoundly gifted reflectors of our true selves because their very survival depends on reading us right.
Because they can read and respond to the nonverbal messages we are always sending, they begin to act in ways that feel familiar to other relationships or dynamics in our lives. They become our spouse, partner, colleague, children, dreams, fears, addictions, etc. and begin to act out these very dynamics in our lives. This gives us a chance to work through those relationships and issues in a safe and nonjudgmental environment.
A client may say, “This horse is stubborn. That horse doesn’t like me,” etc. The lesson is that by changing ourselves, the horses respond differently. They provide this immediate feedback to real changes that we make – not what we just talk about.
For some reason, even when we feel stuck or hopeless, the horses move and make changes in the space, which in turn helps us become “unstuck.” Clients repeatedly report that the horses seem to act and be exactly what is needed in the moment.
Acknowledgments: In the development of this information, we extend our deepest appreciation to EAGALA, and all those who have come before us