Equine Assisted Therapy is a growing field that uses the horse as a catalyst for personal growth. Horses are able to become our mirrors by responding to incongruence within us and providing opportunities to learn more about ourselves. We may complain that 'this horse is stubborn and doesn't like me', but the lesson is that if we change ourselves, the horse will respond differently. Horses are honest, which makes them especially powerful messengers because they see through any excuses, fears and doubts we may have about ourselves. They show us how to become more congruent as we learn to change our beliefs, thoughts and attitudes towards ourselves and others.
Equine Assisted Therapy is experiential in nature - clients learn by participating in activities with the horse and processing any feelings, behaviours, and patterns that arise. The focus is not on riding or horsemanship but on activities which require the client or group to develop certain skills. These include nonverbal communication, assertiveness, creative thinking and problem-solving, leadership, taking responsibility, teamwork, relationships, self-care, confidence and trust. It is particularly useful for resolving long-term patterns of behaviour that produce unhelpful consequences. There is no riding involved, all sessions are conducted on the ground, and no prior experience with horses is required.
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