Human Healing and Empowerment Through Equine Therapy
I’ve often said that dogs are codependent, cats are anti-dependent, and horses are authentic. Horses are powerful, strong, and deeply relational. Their very survival, in fact, depends on their relationships with one another. Horses are animals of prey and as such, must work in community and cooperation with one another to detect and defend against attack from predators. Their tool is our teacher: they live in the present.
Fully attuned to every move, every sound, every subtle shift in their environment, a horse is fully present in the present. They are fully themselves with all the variant personality types seen in the human world. And when we as humans (predators, I might add) enter their realm, their attunement extends to us. Horses attune and respond to energy fields, which means that parts of ourselves that we may not even be aware of are being felt and responded to in the moment. Thus, in an instant, horses become our mirrors. Calling us to the now, reflecting what they see, and inviting us to be nothing more and nothing less than our authentic selves. This place of authenticity is where horses find their trust in us and help us to restore it within ourselves.
The Therapeutic Team
I was trained several years ago in the EAGALA model. EAGALA stands for Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association and they are an organization that trains mental health professionals as well as horse persons to do equine psychotherapy.
I subscribe to EAGALA’s three member team approach: one psychotherapist, one equine specialist, and the horse(s). As the licensed mental health professional, it is my job to attend to the emotional/ therapeutic process of the client. I will always work in tandem with an equine specialist, who is also trained in the EAGALA model, and whose job it is to attend to the horses as well as the general physical safety of the clients. The horses we work with belong to the equine specialist and the therapy takes place on her farmland in Madison, Tennessee. Last but not least, the horse(s) are the third team member, because without their attunement, willingness, and honesty, the magic can’t happen.
Equine psychotherapy can be used to work with individuals, couples, families, and psychotherapy groups.
Please Note …
1) Equine psychotherapy is done on the ground. No mounting or riding horses is involved.
2) Experience with horses is not required to participate.
3) If you have experience with horses this will neither hurt nor help your participation.