Have you ever wondered why we use horses? Unlike many other animals, horses have the unique ability to perceive the cognitive and emotional state of humans. According to PATH Intl.,
“Equines are able to perceive, respond to, and learn from the impressions they receive from minimal sensory stimuli. The stimulus may originate from changes in human biochemistry, body language, or vocal intonations.” (www.pathintl.org)
Each horse has its own individual personality, likes, dislikes, habits, and responses to its surroundings. Some are social and playful, others are loners, leaders, or challengers. When we pair a horse with a participant, we take these characteristics into consideration.
This partnership is often the most impactful part of an equine-assisted activity. As our participants work with their horse, they are learning to build a trusting relationship. The horse, as a motivator, promotes an increase in social awareness and personal achievement. They learn to concentrate harder and produce better results in their efforts to please their favorite horse. It is incredible to watch them grow in confidence and self-esteem as they are empowered to handle a 1,000-pound animal!
This is why we choose horses to help our participants reach their highest potential!