The Equine Approach
Personal Growth, Education and Therapy Through Horsemanship
 
 

We believe the horse is the true teacher and only by honoring its voice will optimum learning and growth occur.  That belief is our platform for empowering our clients in healthy relationship skills. Our program is based on relationship skills explored out of the saddle, from the ground.  Being on the same level as the horse emphasizes communication over control and allows skills to develop in a non-threatening way.  

 

The Equine Approach - Philosophy

“In the beginning of all things, wisdom and knowledge were with the animals; for Tirawa, the One Above, did not speak directly to man.  He sent certain animals to tell man that he showed himself trough the beasts, and that from them, and from the stars and the sun and the moon, should man learn.”


-Pawnee Eagle Chief Letakots-Lesa


Core Values

  1.     Integrity

  2.     Quality

  3.     Respect

  4.     Service


You can lead a horse to water, but can you make him drink?


When traditional approaches to growth and change aren’t achieving results …


Experience the Equine Approach to …


Self-esteem

Trust

Boundaries

Communication

Respect

Building partnerships

Leading change

What is it about horses?

The horse is a prey animal with rich physical language and clear social roles and boundaries. Comfort and safety are his primary concerns. He is most comfortable with a leader he can trust.  These basics drive his behavior and his highly-developed responses to his environment.


Horses prefer a structured, predictable environment

Horses maintain a preference of personal space

Horse have a warm soft coat that facilitates a healthy touch

Horses are straight forward

Horses reflect our emotions

Horses promote asking for an accepting help

Horses regulate hyper-arousal from past traumatic experiences

What does it look like?

Like any good relationship, a relationship with a horse is best built from the ground up. We also believe that the fastest way to build it is to go slow. Really slow. Participants spend time observing horses’ natural behaviors before entering their space. We are mindful of their cues as they respond to our presence and we learn to approach and interact with them. Typical activities include horse behavior observation and discussion, approaching and haltering horses, massage and energy work, grooming, leading through various activities and obstacles, off-lead work, mindfulness practices, horse care, team initiatives and more. Safety for horses and people is always the first consideration.


Currently we are not including riding in our curriculum. If riding is a must for you, we will happily refer you to some resources that offer it.


We’ll be outside most of the time, or if indoors it will be an unheated space, so seasonally appropriate clothing is important! We will walk or stand for the majority of our time together.

How do Equine Assisted Activities help?

Increases:

            Self-awareness

            Emotional regulation

            Behavioral control

            Sense of normality

            Self-confidence

            Empathy

            Sense of Empowerment

Improves:

            Communication skills

            Anger management skills

            Getting Results

            Leading People

            Dealing with Conflict

            Leading Change

            Building Partnerships

To watch a video about The Equine Approach Click Here

The Activities

By their very nature, horsemanship activities facilitate exploration of many different issues. Typical activities for a session include grooming, observing or interacting with horses on lead or at liberty, leading in various exercises, equine body work techniques and more.


Herd Observation

Through their eloquent body language, the horses speak volumes. When we take the time to mindfully observe, we can begin to understand what they’re saying and prepare to engage with more awareness. Horses have an observable social structure, and when a herd is turned out together we can notice that structure. It’s easy to see which horse is dominant, but which one is the leader? It may not be the same individual. Leadership skills and attributes, in horses and humans, are rich topics to explore.


Grooming

Grooming serves many purposes. It allows us to get acquainted gradually before taking on an activity together. As we brush him and clean out his feet, we learn to observe a horse’s responses to our actions. For example, we notice how differently he responds to quick movements as opposed to gentle ones. Participants are taught what positions are safe for them and what is threatening or non-threatening to the horse. They learn to read and interpret the horse’s responses for themselves. They learn to build a relationship based on mutual respect and trust, and to give something back to the horse. Through grooming we are able to explore the concepts of nurturing, empathy, boundaries, safety, cause and effect, respect, trust and relationship skills.


Obstacles and Initiatives

By using simple props to create an obstacle course, we can build on our relationship skills as we navigate those challenges with a horse. The feedback the horse offers as to how we are experiencing a challenge can be very informative! Whether we are confident or confused, putting on an act or genuine, the horse recognizes what is authentic and reflects it back to us.


Equine Body Work

The benefits of equine massage are many. It helps enhance muscle tone and increases range of motion in the horse. It can reduce inflammation and swelling as well as increase flexibility. It reduces stress in the horse. It increases the comfort and familiarity in working with horses and teaches people to be aware of the subtle body language of equines.  Equine massage strengthens the bond between horse and human.

The Equine Approach LLC is a Member Center of Path Intl.

Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship is the credentialing organization for accrediting centers and certifying instructors and equine specialists.  The PATH Intl. mission is to promote safety and optimal outcomes in equine-assisted activities and therapies for individuals with special needs.