What is Equine Assisted Learning?

EAL is a holistic therapeutic approach where individuals partner with horses for the purpose of making positive changes in their lives. The professional facilitator guides and supports the individual through various activities with the horse. The “relationship” between human and horse is utilized in place of “talk therapy”, where you “talk” and a therapist “listens”.

Simply interacting with these beautiful, soulful creatures can be profound just on its own, but to make sure that your learning experiences stick with you we apply “hands on learning” and “learning by doing” with reflection from the horses. Experiential education secures impact and retention. It requires us to participate fully in the moment and to utilize our body, mind and spirit in unison.

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Who is EAL for?

EAL can benefit people of all ages, young or old and requires no horse experience. Whether you are looking for “self discovery” or are struggling with depression, EAL can help and is beneficial in helping to resolve a wide range of problems, including:

  • Behavioural problems
  • Substance Abuse
  • Anxiety
  • Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Addiction
  • Relationship problems
  • Autism
  • Eating disorders
  • Communication
  • Bullying
  • Abuse
  • Social Disorders
  • Self Esteem
  • Depression
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

How can EAL help?

Our tailored sessions/programs can help individuals and groups learn new and effective ways of changing behaviour patterns. As people are developing rapport and what works with the horse and what doesn’t, they in turn reflect and learn about themselves. The horse mirrors back what the person is projecting and then provides non-judgemental feedback. The horse’s reactions allow that person a chance to change their approach and modify their behaviour in order to receive the desirable behaviour from the horse. This provides the individual with a “bird’s eye view” of who they really are, what is really going on and how they can change it. They give people an opportunity to reach deep inside to find their own answers and to find what truly has meaning for them, helping to develop the following life-long qualities:

  • Communication
  • Body Awareness
  • Self Love/appreciation
  • Personal Boundaries
  • Assertiveness
  • Creative Thinking
  • Problem Solving
  • Leadership
  • Confidence/Self-Esteem
  • Teamwork
  • Positive Attitude
  • Responsibility
  • Relationship Building
  • Patience
  • Emotional agility/understanding the messages behind your emotions
  • Becoming aware of Non-Verbal Communication/reading between the lines
  • Feeling personal authenticity and what has meaning for you

The Three Key Elements

Successful Equine Facilitated Learning programs have the following three essential components:

  • sound horses
  • trained facilitators
  • a quiet safe space in a natural setting

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The Horses

Horses are intuitive, sentient and empathetic due to their ability to pick up subtle shifts in moods.  Their ability to sense a person’s truth makes it impossible for people to hide their true feelings.  Horses thereby require people to be honest and bring their best selves forward.  They are silent observers with no expectations or hidden agendas.  They are non-judgemental and do not regret the past nor fear the future; they are simply present and react accordingly.

 

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The Facilitator’s Roles and Responsibilities

Much like the horses, the Facilitators and Equine Specialists are intuitive, gentle and empathetic.  They are professionally trained, certified and experienced.  They help participants to come out of their “analytical thinking mind” and into their bodies where their personal truth resides, while organizing and delivering purposeful equine activities.  They facilitate debriefing sessions to help each participant clarify his/her experience in order for them to bring what has been learned outside with them into their lives.

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The Venue – a place of Safety for Herd and Human

A physical place of safety is important because it creates a space that fosters emotional and social learning.

The farm offers:

  • safety, privacy
  • natural, peaceful and unique setting
  • safe enclosures for horse activities
  • respectful treatment of horses
  • insurance