"Horses are completely honest, with no hidden agenda or hidden fears. They want to be in balance always" - Kim Hallin

Equine Facilitated Learning

We believe in experiential learning which means that participants learn about themselves and their relationship to their world, through activities and exercises with horses. Open and reflective discussion helps uncover feelings, activates awareness of behavioural patterns and together with coaching, creates the possibility of new, more effective behaviour. The coach will guide the participant to embed that behaviour, so that they can access it once back in the office. Hence, true behavioural change is possible.

We are often asked, "Why horses, why can’t we use dogs or other animals?"

Horses are big and powerful which means they are intimidating to many. This provides the first challenge to overcome and builds confidence within the participant. Secondly, horses are herd animals with well-defined roles within the herd. For a horse to be willing to follow a person, the person first needs to establish their position as a worthy leader. This cannot be achieved using force or dominance. A difficult lesson for most humans to learn!

Most importantly, horses are sensitive to emotions and intentions, which means they provide a wonderful mirror to the human as they are in that moment. This enables the participant to receive instant feedback on their non-verbal communication and internal state, thus allowing them to spend time making changes and to try out a new way. Participants often say “the horse is stupid” because they are not getting the desired result; however one can ask, are they communicating effectively? If they “own” their internal landscape and change the way they communicate, the horse will respond differently.

 

Corporate Workshops

Our wonderful centre and the herd of horses and donkeys that are our key therapists, host a number of other equine assisted activities – in the realm of personal and leadership development.

Leadership has been increasingly under the spotlight. We have seen many leadership models evolve and books fill the shelves, yet business leaders still struggle to adapt the old “tell and tell” leadership style to a more conscious, enabling style. Many leaders find it tough to embed the behaviour change discussed and learnt during a classroom based course or training.

We aim to create a space within which delegates can safely explore creativity and responsiveness relating to the horses. Experienced facilitators support delegates in co-creating a new way of being, in which authenticity, collaboration and experimentation are emphasised. The idea is to thrive! …rather than just survive.

Horses are masters of being alert in the present. This ability to live very consciously in the present, also allows them to reflect - real time - the interpersonal dynamics occurring in interaction with humans. 

They not only reflect incongruities in emotion and intention, they also highlight unrecognised strengths and improvements. Since all this is happening at a nonverbal level, the skill acquisition is fully felt and rapid. In this way awareness is expanded at the same time that an individual’s self-confidence is developed. 

Delegates get a distinctive experience of this from our workshops, as this is quite different to working with horses that operate as a competitive athlete with a drive to compete and win.

Individual Sessions

All of this work can be experienced as a group, a team or an individual depending on needs and objectives. Individual sessions consist of the participant, the horse, a coach or psychologist, and horse expert. 

The horses are attuned to focus on the person they are working with and are conscious of their role in the process. Interaction with a therapy horse allows the participant to discover the natural consequences of his actions in a non-judgemental and safe environment.

The horse responds to the participant with consistent clarity and honesty. As the participant is allowed to experiment within these natural boundaries, he or she develops various skills, which subsequently greatly empower him/her in all aspects of his/her life.

Horses are compassionate teachers of basic life skills – responsibility, relationship skills, communication, respect and boundaries.

Youth Development

The programme offers children the opportunity to learn social and life skills in a safe environment, with the help of both human and equine teachers.

The horses add fun and excitement, as well as a different level of risk. Together with the non-judgmental manner of horses and their very sincere interaction, this helps us to create and facilitate scenarios that teach some of the following skills:

- Awareness of physical body and thereby an awareness of feelings and emotions arising at any moment
- Skills to help take meaning from the feelings and to self-regulate their behaviour
- Making autonomous decisions
- A wider relational awareness to the environment and others, enabling children to consider these along with their own immediate needs when making decisions
- Practical experience in forming healthy relationships
- Engaging creativity within daily life

Creativity, collaboration, emotional and social intelligence, cognitive flexibility through playful experiences are placed alongside the traditional cognitive skills that are widely focused on in schooling.

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