“For horses can educate through first hand, subjective, personal experiences, unlike human teachers and professors can ever do. Horses can build character, not merely urge one to improve on it. Horses forge the mind, the character, the emotions and inner lives of humans. People can talk to one another about all these things and remain distanced and lonesome. In partnership with a horse, one is seldom lacking for thought, emotion and inspiration. One is always attended by a great companion.”
~Charles de Kunffy
Animals of Prey
Horses are animals of prey, that have be hunted by predators for centuries. Therefore they are acutely and highly attuned to every aspect of the world around them. They are instinctive, their very survival depends on their ability to interpret the energetic and emotional currents in their environments. Horses are herd animals and rely on each other for safety and survival.
Every herd has a pecking order and each member has a role in the herds survival, they exist fully in the moment with out pretense or judgment, they do not hold on to the past or project into the future. The need for cooperation, teamwork and loyalty give us food for thought and help us learn to use some of the same techniques of the herd to reach our own personal and professional goals. This keen awareness allows the horse the unique ability to interpret the body language and emotions of the animals and people around them and make a quick and honest decisions as to their true intention. We might even refer to them as living breathing biofeedback machines.
The skills learned working with horses help participants build confidence, mindfulness and emotional intelligence. Interacting with horses enables us to learn clear and effective ways to build trust and gain respect.They are masters at teaching leadership skills and let you know in no uncertain terms if you are worthy of the responsibility of leadership. The herd asks, will you guide them in the right direction? Will you avoid danger and harm? Will you provide comfort and tranquility? Do you have the wisdom of a true leader? Working with horses illuminates the ability to be both authentic and congruent in your thoughts AND actions, leading to transforming how we as humans interact with our world.
Horses provide vast opportunities for metaphorical learning. Horses have the distinctly amazing ability to mirror and reflect the exact internal landscape of our intentions on a moment to moment basis derived from what our human body language is telling them. Horses are honest and powerful messengers. Horses can teach us the value in our unspoken language and enable us to change our message to be more authentic.
Successful interaction with horses requires us to be present in the moment, communicating clearly and consistently, and having thoughts, emotions and behaviors that are congruent. Horses interpret our emotional states and immediately respond accordingly, allowing us to learn the most valuable of lessons….By changing ourselves, the world around us can change accordingly.
When interacting with horses, the horse will respond to what we are actually communicating, not what they think we are communicating. Horses know our intention in a very “intuitive” way, often before we do. The horse will pick up on any inconsistencies between our actions and our emotions, they will respond honestly to our communications and give us undeniable and immediate feedback into the consequences of our interactions. Horses quickly educate people about how effective their actions are, how consistent they are in communicating, and how clearly they define their goals. Horses do not care about our perceived power or position, they posses the ability provide us with the unique opportunity to gain profound insight into our authentic self…… a gift that is very difficult to learn from any other relationships.
“Horses will tell us when we have violated their boundaries and have not clearly set our own. They show us when they’re confused about our instructions. They let us know when we have touched them too roughly or inattentively. They show their appreciation for gentleness and honesty and clarity of intent. Because horses react to the most subtle human signals, they hold up a magnifying mirror to ourselves and our behaviors. In this mirror we see the image and path for our professional development and our personal growth.”