Horse Power

What is Equine Facilitated Learning?
An Equine Facilitated Learning at Meadow Creek Farm incorporates horses for emotional growth and learning.  It is a 

collaborative effort between an Equine Specialist (Me), participants and horses to address personal growth or therapeutic goals.

Equine Facilitated Learning is experiential in nature which means that participants learn about themselves and others by participating in activities with the horses, and then discussing observations, behaviors, and patterns. 

Not all programs or individuals who use horses practice Equine Facilitated Learning. The focus of this type of work is not on a particular riding style or horsemanship.  The focus of Equine Facilitated Learning involves setting up ground activities involving the horses which will require the individual or group to apply certain skills. Non-verbal communication, assertiveness, creative thinking and problem-solving, leadership, taking responsibility, teamwork and relationships, confidence, and attitude are several examples of the tools utilized and developed by engaging in a Equine Facilitated Learning session.

Equine Facilitated Learning is a powerful and effective approach that has an incredible impact on individuals, youth, families, and groups. It addresses a variety of human development needs including behavioral issues, attention deficit disorder, relationship problems and communication needs.

Why Horses?
Horses are large and powerful, which creates a natural opportunity for individuals to overcome fear and develop confidence. The size and power of a horse are naturally intimidating to many people. Accomplishing a task involving the horse, in spite of those fears, creates confidence and provides for wonderful metaphors when dealing with other intimidating and challenging situations in life.

Horses are very much like humans in that they are social animals. They have defined roles within their herds. They would rather be with their peers. They have distinct personalities, attitudes, and moods. An approach that seems to work with one horse, does not necessarily work with another. At times, they seem stubborn and defiant, but they like to have fun. In other words, horses provide vast opportunities for metaphorical learning. Using metaphors, in discussion or activity, is an effective technique in developing self awareness and discovery. 

Awareness of how the horses respond (physically or mentally) to pressure (physical or emotional) and pain (physical or emotional) can give you insight into your own responses.  Do you know when you are feeling pressure versus pain?  Do you respond appropriately and healthfully? Horses teach you how to evaluate and respond to the world around you.

Most importantly, horses have the ability to mirror exactly what human body language is telling them. Many people will complain, "The horse is stubborn. The horse doesn’t like me," etc. But the lesson to be learned is that if they change themselves, the horses respond differently. Horses are honest, which makes them especially powerful messengers.  All aspects of your life are essential, but not necessarily in equal parts.  For example, horses have mastered their individual balance between time at attention, and time at-ease.  You will learn to identify your own needs and imbalances, as well as those of

the people around you. This simple, yet profound philosophy teaches you to be a more effective communicator, businessperson, friend, and human being.

Horses provide both physical and emotional metaphors into our own behavioral patterns.   When do you push?  When do you pull?  Do you do one more than the other?  How does your pushing and pulling behavior affect others?  Do you know what you are saying when you aren't saying anything?  Horses make good use of their body language to convey the most basic and important messages to each other.  Humans do the same.  Sometimes what our mouths say is not in alignment with what our bodies say.  Equine Facilitated Learning will instruct you as to how to be a more effective communicator by aligning your verbal and nonverbal messages.

In an era when immediate gratification and the "easy way" are the norm, horses require people to be patiently engaged in physical and mental work to be successful, a valuable characteristic in all aspects of life.

Who Can Benefit?
An Equine Facilitated Learning experience will benefit everyone.  Individuals, Families, Groups, Leagues and Teams.  Everyone who is interested in improving in areas such as team building, leadership, improved communication, respect of others, increased self-awareness, human relations, stress management, organization and many more. If there is something troubling you or you wish to improve, please let us know.  We know our horses can help.