Why Horses?

Horses are prey animals and in the wild their survival depends on living harmoniously as part of a herd.  They have a heightened sense of awareness and communicate potential danger to each other silently through their bodies.  Amazingly, horses are able to perceive accurately the current emotion and intent of a predator; they know whether it is just passing through or intent on killing them.  Horses live in the present moment, seeing the world exactly as it is and their behaviour is motivated mainly by their instinct to live, followed by their desire to be emotionally and physically comfortable.  Therefore, their reaction to the environment, including the human predator, is entirely honest.

It is these natural instincts which enable horses to be excellent therapists.  Before spoken language developed, humans communicated through body language, and even today 90% of human communication is non-verbal.  We unconsciously express all of our thoughts and feelings through our bodies, and horses know when we are attempting to disguise how we are truly feeling, and will reflect this back to us.  They are not interested in our past or future, only with how we are in the present moment and what that might mean for their survival and comfort.

When interacting with horses they show us, with their honest and non-judgemental responses, how our emotions, energy, and behaviour affect them.  This understanding and learning can be transferred to our relationships and how we live our lives.  Furthermore, being with horses invites us to connect with them as sentient beings, connect with the present, and connect with ourselves, which can lead to healing of emotional pain.

Hayes, Tim. The Power of Horses To Heal Riding Home. New York: St.Martin's Press, 2015
Kohanov, Linda. The Power of the Herd. California: New World Library, 2013