Equine assisted learning is an emerging field that combines the use of horses and activities related to horses with a variety of learning and problem-solving techniques. The processes and goals of EAL are similar to other experiential methods of learning. EAL involves applying the natural, innate behaviors and characteristics of horses to approach and solve problems and facilitate personal growth.
Equine assisted learning is a very effective means to help people to overcome traumatic events. The use of horses as “therapy animals” has been around for centuries. In fact, one of the first ever hospitals, established in the United Kingdom in 1746, was created thanks to the efforts of a horse. In addition to horses, dogs, cats and even donkeys can all be used as therapy animals.
Does Equine ASSISTED LEARNING ACTUALLY WORK?
According to the research, horseback riding improves motor skills, coordination and balance, and also lowers the risk of developing osteoporosis and arthritis. Children with various psychiatric disorders, including ADD/ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, and those with learning disabilities, show improvement in the areas of communication, cognition, and behavior when participating in equine programs. The reason for this is the unique social and sensory environment of the horse. Though there are some studies which show that riding a horse has similar effectiveness in relieving depression as riding a bicycle or walking, but most studies find equine therapy is more effective than these two methods.
While our equine assisted learning techniques don’t involve riding the horses, but instead provides a grounded approach the studies show similar results for helping children, teens, and adults improve their communication skills and help relieve depression.
What is FEEL (Facilitated Equine Experiential Learning)®?
FEEL (Facilitated Equine Experiential Learning)® is a unique collaboration between horses and humans. Horses are leaders and facilitators in the integration of mind, body, and spirit. The art of FEEL helps us reconnect with our potential for living an authentic life. Basic interactions and relationship building in the arena help build confidence and trust – promoting healing, learning new skills, re-connecting to resources inside ourselves – Spiritual connection.
What is a feel pRACTITIONER?
Certified FEEL practitioners incorporate professional equine-guided learning into their work as coaches, educators, mental health professionals, equine specialists and wellness practitioners. FEEL practitioners come together to honour the horse-human partnership.
Please note: Sherrie McAllan, our certified FEEL practitioner, is certified through the FEEL Alumni.
hOW DO THE HORSES HELP HUMANS?
The horses help you to communicate with yourself, to listen and take care of the needs of your own well-being. The horses can love us without an agenda so that we can give voice to what is inside us. The need for connection arises from our longing for unconditional love. What better way then spending time with a horse that mirrors what is real in the world, seeing ourselves as we really are? What if we could develop a more genuine relationship with ourselves and make peace with our inner world?
Do EQUINE ASSISTED LEARNING INSTRUCTORS HAVE TO BE CERTIFIED?
Yes, if you want the best results you should make sure your instructor is a certified equine assisted learning instructor. The reason is that this is the only way to gain credibility in the field. All certified equine assisted learning instructors have undergone stringent training exercises and passed the exams to ensure their competence in the job. And in order to be a truly competent EAL instructor, one has to have a thorough knowledge of horse. This is the only way to make sure that you cater to the needs of your clients.
We hope you enjoyed our article about equine assisted learning. As you can see, this is a great way to help children, teens, and adults in a variety of ways while learning more about the world around them. So what are you waiting for? Learn more about our equine assisted learning programs by booking a session!