The power of horses influences people in incredibly powerful ways. Horses offer unique opportunities for us to understand and develop relationships, trust, respect and responsibility. Working with horses also offers keen insight on awareness, boundaries, communication styles, and assertiveness. These values along with a developed strong work ethic, have long been recognized as key ingredients of our ability to achieve success working with horses.
The professional use of horses naturally provides the setting for the development of these skills and values. The ability to learn and grow is ever-present for each person working with horses and easily explains why the use of horses continues to grow and gain popularity across the country.
People often ask, "Why horses? Why not other animals?" Horses are large and powerful, which creates a natural opportunity for most people to overcome fear and develop confidence. The size and power of a horse can be naturally intimidating to many people. Accomplishing a task involving a horse, despite those fears, creates confidence and provides an opportunity for the use of powerful metaphors when dealing with other intimidating and challenging situations in life.
Horses are very much like humans in that they are also socially centered. They have defined roles within their herds, as we do within our own groups of individual people. They also have distinct personalities, attitudes and moods. An approach that seems to work with one horse, does not necessarily work with another. At times, they may seem stubborn and defiant. They may just want to have fun. In other words, horses provide vast opportunities for metaphorical learning. Using metaphors, in discussion or activity, is an effective technique when working with even the most challenging individuals or groups.
Horses require work, whether in caring for them or working with them! In an era when immediate gratification and the "easy way" is the norm, horses require people to be engaged in physical and mental work to be successful, a valuable characteristic in all aspects of life.
Most importantly, horses’ behaviors typically mirror exactly what the human body is telling them, or at least their perception of that communication. Many people will complain, "The horse is stubborn, the horse doesn't like me". But the lesson to be learned is that if they change themselves and communication styles, the horses respond differently. Horses are honest, which makes them particularly powerful messengers.