What is Equine Assisted Learning (EAL)? It is a powerful and effective approach to personal growth and professional development for individuals and groups. It is a process of learning by DOING rather than by talking and listening. EAL uses horses to co-facilitate and educators to help assimilate information from interactive observations. Research has shown that EAL programs significantly improve communication, self esteem, empathy, tolerance for stress, problem solving skills, responsibility, teamwork, leadership skills trust and interpersonal relationships.
Do I need experience with horses? No. The workshops are not about horsemanship, training or riding. The horse is a facilitator for learning because of its unique characteristics (described below). You will have an experienced horse handler available to assist you at all times during the workshops.
Why do you use horses?
- Horses are responsive beings with a strong awareness and sensitivity to their surroundings
- Horses can accurately perceive a participant’s state of mind and quickly reflect this back to them
- Horses provide immediate and honest feedback as to when participants have clear intention and when they do not
- Horses have as many individual personalities, physical abilities and limitations as the people who work with them
- Horses accept people for exactly who they are and what they present internally and externally IN THE MOMENT!
- The ability to successfully communicate with the horse provides the means to learn better ways of communicating with others
What if I’m afraid of horses? A safety demonstration is given before each session and the horses used in the workshops are trained to work safely around people. If at any time during the activities you feel unsafe or wish to observe only, you are encouraged to notify the staff for help in leaving the arena.
What can I expect from the individual sessions or workshops?
Experiential education is learning by doing with reflection from the horses. These sensitive, intelligent creatures respond to both positive and negative changes generated by a person’s body and behavior. In other words, horses mirror or reflect the emotions and energy of the people around them.
People are more readily willing to accept feedback from a horse than they do from humans, as there is no judgment in the horse’s response. People trust the horse’s reflection as honest and direct. As we learn from the wisdom of the horse, we develop our intuition and create new possibilities for our lives. Each session or workshop starts with introductions to horse and humans followed by a safety demonstration. You will then have a chance to engage in activities with the horses as an individual or team. The activities are designed to highlight particular aspects of personal growth such as communication, trust, self confidence, respect, motivation, problem solving, connection and how to raise and lower personal energy and turn it into a tool for empowerment and make things happen. Then your human facilitator will ask powerful questions to help you explore what you’ve just experienced and turn it into an opportunity to learn about yourself. In that way you can apply what you’ve learned IMMEDIATELY to your daily life. You’ll have a chance to identify specific strategies for creating positive change that will benefit you today.
- Fun without fear as you meet new friends, both human and horse and learn to work as a team in your “herd”
- Self discovery through immediate, honest, observable feedback from your teacher, the horse
- Develop confidence, empowerment, compassion, independence and inner healing in a fun, non threatening environment
- Improved communication, self esteem, empathy, tolerance for stress, problem solving skills, responsibility, trust and improved interpersonal relationships
- A chance to nurture your soul and find a greater connection to your natural self through the wisdom & intuition of the horse
Is EAL the same as therapy? No it is not the same. Cathy is trained as an educator, instructor and facilitator. As a facilitator, her job is to keep the focus on the future, not the past, in the context of a learned skill, not an emotion or past event. Participants are asked to focus on a social skill they learned, a personal insight, or a life skill that may lead to personal growth and making positive change in your every day life.
What training has Cathy completed that qualifies her to facilitate the workshops? Cathy has completed a certification training with the Equine Experiential Education Association(E3A) which is an international professional membership organization offering training, certification, business development and resources for the implementation of Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) programs by educators, coaches, professional development trainers and other facilitators. Cathy is also a certified (International Coach Federation) leadership coach as of July 2017.
Read one woman’s journey of inspiration and education at NEW DAY INSPIRATIONS