How do horses teach us?
In order to understand the teaching process, you first must understand the “teacher.” In nature, horses are hunted animals (prey animals) and are always on the look out for predators that might kill them. As a matter of survival, horses have developed a very high level of sensitivity and awareness to their surroundings. They have the ability to sense intent, read body language, interpret movement and so on. Whether the object of observation is a grizzly bear or a person, the horse’s ability to “read” that being is the same. So, what happens in a therapy session? A highly trained facilitator, the horse and the client are working together to achieve a goal: for example, the client must get the horse to move without touching the horse. In this scenario, the client is attempting to communicate with the horse, the horse is reacting to the client’s body language, and the facilitator is reading the horse. The horse is reflecting the energy level of the human and exhibits corresponding behaviours. The facilitator sees what the horse is sensing from the client and then can guide the client to become more aware of his or her inner state of mind and subsequently change it. This is only one of the ways horses make good therapists. Due to their nature and biological make up, horses have many other attributes, which allow them to be great teachers.
What is the science supporting Equine Therapeutic Benefits?
It’s been proven that when humans are around animals and nature, the “feel good” hormones, Serotonin and Oxytocin, are released. When these feel good hormones flood the body we feel less stress and the brain is much more capable of taking in information. While riding a horse, the rhythmic movement of the horse moves the rider’s body in a specific rhythmic motion which triggers the brain waves to align, which in turn sets the stage for spontaneous learning, concentration, balance, co-ordination and much more. The physical benefits are amazing as well! The rider’s body becomes naturally strengthened - especially the core - as riding requires use of muscles we never thought we had!
What type of facility is the Heal With Horses Therapeutic Centre?
The Heal With Horses Therapeutic Centre is a natural, safe farm and is continually undergoing improvements. Over the last few years, the HWH farm put a clubhouse by the arena and a new gravel driveway with lots of parking spaces in front of the clubhouse. This is much more convenient for clients. The “petting zoo” area was overhauled as well with a new larger pen area. This allows children and adults to have a lot more room to hang out with the pigs, goats, sheep and chickens. After the wettest spring in 2017, soil started being added to many parts of the land and fencing is being moved. Improvements never stop! The clubhouse and riding arena were painted in a fabulous red. Which begs the question, “were the horses totally impressed with the red colour?” Please read on.
Can Horses See Colours?
Horses see only two unique hues believed to be similar to blue and yellow. This is because they have only these two colour photoreceptors in their eyes (unlike humans that have three - namely red, blue, green). In addition, they do not see intermediate hues (ie a mixture of blue and yellow). Instead they will see paler versions of the two colours or a gradient of white/grey mix. Sadly, then, the horses cannot appreciate the new red paint job.
Heal With Horses is a Registered Not-For-Profit Organization. Do you do fundraising?
HWH has its own fundraising division called Cotton Candy Cowgirls. With the help of the dedicated volunteers and board members, fabulous gourmet flavours of organic cotton candy are created and packaged for sale. The Cotton Candy Cowgirls can be found a few times a year at fairs and shows in the region of Prince Edward County selling these delicious treats.
HWH also hosts Maple in the County at the farm in March. Lots of food and activities to start the new year!
All of the sales go to HWH.