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Horses as Healers

Equine Facilitated Therapy and Learning

For the last twenty-some years, horses have shown up as teachers, guides, and partners to therapists and coaches all over the world. While the methods and focus differ, horses by being horses offer accurate reflections, messages, and life-changing experiences to people who are open to their presence. Working with therapists, horses help facilitate healing from trauma, assist youth in recovery, and veterans and others with PTSD. Equine programs, such as Serenity's, also offer effective support for leadership development, life transitions, and self-discovery.

The focus of Horses as Healers  is not riding or horsemanship, although horse care is sometimes a part of the activities. Within the sessions individuals are able to explore what’s alive for them in the moment or pursue a particular issue such as processing grief.  Issues vary with each individual and can include uncovering emotions such as anger, anxiety, sadness or grief.  Issues related to self-esteem, assertiveness, control, trust, communication, boundaries, separation, decision-making, leadership, cooperation or other social issues are often among those that surface.  Participants learn about themselves and others by participating in activities with the horses, and then processing feelings, behaviors, and patterns. 

Horses being prey animals are tracking everything in their environment.  They rely on instinct and intuition and are adept at reading non-verbal cues such as energy, intention, and emotions.  Also, being herd animals they rely on the other herd members to accurately reflect what is going on in the environment and react appropriately.  Having other herd members that they trust helps them to relax and feel safe. 

 Non-verbal communication with a horse helps people better understand themselves and how they relate with others in the world.

As healers the horses, once again relying on instinct and intuition and reading non-verbal cues, become mirrors with their responses reflecting back to the individual.  Going back to the horses desire to be able to trust a herd mate with their accurate reflection of the environment, the horse as healer is looking for the person to become aware of the tension they present when they are not accurately reflecting what is going on within.

As soon as the person acknowledges how they are really feeling, they don't even have to change it, the horse will be more comfortable. The person’s inside and the outside now match. We call this being Congruent, and horses like this a lot. So do people.

Documented research shows positive physical and psychological results from humans interacting with horses. These include, but are not limited to, decreased blood pressure and heart rate, lower levels of stress, reduced feelings of tension, anxiety, anger and hostility, as well as increased levels of beta-endorphin, and beneficial feelings of self-esteem, empowerment, patience and trust.

Serenity clinics and individual sessions provide a safe environment for self-discovery and exploring emotional roadblocks and creating new ways of being for healing. We honor the horses’ as healers and capacity for accurate reflection and invite you to join us.  

Please help us to continue this very important program.  Your donation will support our work with people in need!