What is Equine Partnered Psychotherapy?
There are many kinds of equine therapies on offer in the UK to suit a range of needs from leadership training to working with trauma. Working with me involves spending time with the horses on the ground with a focus on learning how to relate to these amazing creatures whilst increasing self awareness. You will learn how to feel and be present, develop a sense of safety in your body and observe the calming signals of horses.
No previous horse experience is required.
As prey animals, horses have a heightened awareness, sensing body language, intention and nervous system activation of those around them, which ensures their survival in the wild.
Despite the years of domestication, horses retain this ability to discern the true intention of another creature. Knowing what another being is feeling on the inside, despite what may be showing on the outside, is essential to survival for a prey animal.
How a horse responds to us can provide powerful feedback about emotions, behaviour and our relationship dynamics, sometimes making the unconscious, conscious. Horses have no judgement about what the other is feeling, but see it as useful information in order to keep themselves safe.
We are able to live authentically when our actions (our outer self) reflects our emotions and beliefs (our inner self).
Horses will always reflect back to us where our outer self and our inner self are not in alignment allowing us to develop an awareness of the areas of our lives which are incongruent and causing inner conflict.
“As social animals, horses understand the intricacies of forming and sustaining relationships. They readily respond to the same nonverbal cues of dominance, submission, and cooperation used in human encounters. ”
Linda Kohanov, The Tao of Equus.
Unless we live alone at the top of a mountain, then our lives and happiness depend on successful and fulfilling relationships. Horses teach us the important of self-awareness, authenticity, clear boundaries, flexibility and cooperation in handling the relationships in our lives.
There are many spiritual qualities associated with horses, but one of the most prominent, is the ability of horses to keep us in the now, to help us be truly present in our lives.
Eckhart Tolle describes this as “that intensely alive state that is free of time, free of problems, free of thinking”.
As prey animals, horses have to be constantly aware of their environment, their bodies and each other’s feelings in order to stay safe. Somehow, just being; in the presence of horses helps humans achieve a state of relaxation and to live more in the present moment. A session with the horses will include self-regulation techniques that help you be more present in your body and meet the horses in their world.
I train with Anna Blake. Working with Anna and learning about calming signals has significantly changed the way I work with my horses and consequently my practice of Equine Partnered Psychotherapy.
“Affirmative training is the art of understanding the horse. We train with a profound concern for the horse’s mental and physical welfare. We listen to his Calming Signals to learn his perspective. We affirm the horse’s intelligence, empowering his confidence with positive energy.” Anna Blake
What this means for your sessions is that we listen to the horse’s calming signals and we give the horse as much choice as is realistically possible in a domesticated setting. The comfort and welfare of the horses comes first.