Being prey animals, horses are motivated by safety more than anything else. They are hard-wired to respond to threats and stimuli in an instant, relying heavily on their fight-flight-freeze mechanism. That intertwined with their life in a herd has caused them to become masters at both sending and receiving communication.
The horse was designed to live in a community, in a herd that cares for and protects one another. It is their safety net for survival. For this safety net to work properly, the relationships between the horses must be both predictable and congruent. There can be no masks. No “fakeness.” That’s what predators do. You don’t have to be perfect, but you do have to be real. These relationships are crucial for survival and safety.
Horses are interpreting everything around them and then respond to what they perceive could be a threat. This survival mechanism makes them highly aware of a person’s thoughts, emotions, and intentions – especially when they are not congruent. Horses, by nature function out of a “trauma brain”, operating primarily from the survival center of their brain. By observing their highly acute responses, we can receive instant biofeedback. That can be an incredible tool for growth.
By helping clients establish connection and build a relationship with a horse, we can help bring to light normal patterns and behaviors. As we learn to communicate effectively with the horse, we open pathways for growth and discovery – in who we are, and how we relate to ourselves, others and the world around us.
Horses are always present, always congruent and non-judgemental. There is now significant research showing spending time with horses can also stabilize heart rates.
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Our volunteers love horses and enjoy people, making for a fun and fulfilling time during lessons, camps, and/or special events.