Horses communicate without words. They rarely make much noise at all, even when in danger. Compare the alarm call of a bird, or a dog, or a monkey, with a herd of horses which startles and sets to flight in silence. Making a noise alerts predators. So on the whole horses communicate silently, energetically, with each other. With us too, they tune into our energy as a way of knowing and understanding us.
When we step into the world of the horse, during equine assisted learning, and build relationship with them, we step into this non-verbal realm in which the horse responds to our emotional, energetic cues. Often these emotions are not in our conscious awareness, so habituated have we become to feeling them.
Thus very quickly the horse brings our full awareness, in the instant, to our emotional experience in all its authenticity.
Building somatic awareness
With every emotion comes a physical feeling – a felt sense in our body. And the more aware we become of our somatic experience, the better we can learn to master our emotions. And the easier it becomes to be present. This is when horses respond most positively to us. Equine assisted learning helps us to engage our bodies, before our mind. Thus we are also able to lower our anxiety level, let go of fear and find an embodied, courageous leadership.
Emotions are information
Our embodied approach to equine assisted learning centres around mastering our emotions as a positive force for change. Very often we become afraid of our emotions in case they overwhelm or betray us. Yet they can help us build self awareness, make decisions and become empowered. They give us information about our environment, about relationships and about our internal world. Casting light on our self-beliefs, our values, our undiscovered potential, our dreams and our fears. By learning to interpret and respect our emotions we build profound self awareness.
Horses reveal the subtle changes in our intention, our confidence, our purpose, our way of relating. All clues as to what is really going on in our hearts and minds.
Equine assisted learning gives us the opportunity to practise building emotional intelligence in real-time. Each step of the way the horses give us instant feedback – they are never too polite to tell us what they really feel. This immediate feedback loop reinforces our learning and because the experiential nature of the process involves mind, body and spirit (the fundamental essence of what is each of us) it gives us a powerful felt sense of the new way of being. We embody it. We never forget it.