Those who are familiar with horses recognize and understand the power of horses to influence people in incredibly powerful ways. By using horses to develop relationships, learning to care for horses responsibly, combined with horse training and professional horsemanship creates a natural situation that affects the people involved in a positive manner.
The benefits of work ethic, responsibility, assertiveness, communication and healthy relationships has long been recognized. The professional use of horses naturally provides the setting for the development of these skills and values. The ability to learn and grow is ever present for each person working with horses, and easily explains why the use of horses is growing and gaining popularity across the country.
People often ask, "Why horses? Why not other animals?" Horses are large and powerful, which creates a natural opportunity for most people to overcome fear and develop confidence. The size and power of a horse can be naturally intimidating to many people. Accomplishing a task involving a horse, in spite of those fears, creates confidence and provides an opportunity for the use of some powerful metaphors when dealing with other intimidating and challenging situations in life.
Horses are very much like humans in that they are social animals just like we are. They have defined roles within their herds, just like we do within our own groups of individual people. They would rather be with their peers doing what they want to do, once again just like we do. They have distinct personalities, attitudes and moods, yet again; just like we do. An approach that seems to work with one horse, does not necessarily work with another. At times, they seem stubborn and defiant. They like to have fun. In other words, horses provide vast opportunities for metaphorical learning. Using metaphors, in discussion or activity, is an effective technique when working with even the most challenging individuals or groups.
Horses require work, whether in caring for them or working with them! In an era when immediate gratification and the "easy way" is the norm, horses require people to be engaged in physical and mental work to be successful; a very valuable characteristic in all aspects of life.
Most importantly, horses have the ability to mirror exactly what the human body is telling them. Many people will complain, "The horse is stubborn, the horse doesn't like me" and on and on. But the lesson to be learned is that if they change themselves, the horses respond differently. Horses are honest, which makes them particularly powerful messengers.
Think about that for awhile...