Horses are prey animals, meaning that in the wild they end up being other animal’s meals. Due to this, horses are naturally very aware of their surroundings, to keep an eye out for danger. There is safety in numbers, and as such, horses are herd animals. Every herd needs a leader, so the horses will play dominating games to test each other for the ‘head of the herd’ position.
These dominating games that horses play with each other extends to their interactions with humans. Horses want to feel safe in knowing that their humans are the boss, so they will test them to make sure that their human is still the boss. They will play little games from nudging their humans with their heads and purposely not paying attention, to running away from their human in the field and trying to nip at them. All of this game playing makes horses the perfect animal for teaching humans key skills such as setting boundaries, reading body language, communication, assertiveness, leadership, and many more.
It can be very intimidating working with any animal, rather alone one that is 1,500 lbs! Horses are amazing animals for helping humans learn, regardless of their confidence level. Even clients who are confident walk out of an EAL session feeling on top of the world. They feel like they have accomplished something that they have never been able to accomplish before.
Horses are loving animals by nature and show this through body language and showing respect to others. When you work with horses and you are able to intuitively connect to them by reading their body language, it does something special to your soul. Especially knowing that the horse is innately fearful of the unknown, it boosts your confidence when they give you their trust and love and they allow you to be their leader.
Horses, like other animals, do not care about what you wear, what colour your skin is, how much money you have or what religion you practice. They care less about how old or young you are, or even how much horse knowledge you have! Horses only care about feeling safe, fed and having their instincts met (eat, sleep, reproduce).
Horses don’t care if you make a mistake while working with them, they don’t hold grudges (unless you severely abuse them), and they certainly don’t go back to the paddock and tell all the other horses nasty things about you. Instead, they are forgiving, non-judgmental, loving, intuitive beings that can teach you how to be the same. They give you open and honest feedback about yourself and your behaviours in a way that feels natural and non-threatening.
Lower Stress & Anxiety
There is something calming and relieving about being around a horse in general that has been described as good for the soul. Study after study has shown how bring around and working with horses has positive effects on stress and anxiety levels, among many positive outcomes. From children to adults and mothers to vets, working with horses can help lower stress and anxiety in your everyday life.
Whether you are coming out to the farm after a long, grueling day, or you are coming out for pro-active measures, you can be assured that you will leave feeling better and having more skills to help you tackle tomorrow.