Mahala’s Hope believes working with horses is a powerful and effective method for a person to gain emotional insight, leading to healthy changes in attitudes and behaviors. Horses are social creatures who readily and honestly respond to human emotions and body language. They offer immediate, constant feedback. Partnering with horses inspires healing and growth, an understanding of who we are, and how we will be able to integrate this knowledge in our lives.
Equine Experiential Learning is the practice of partnering with horses for emotional growth. Horses use non-verbal communication to describe the emotions and behaviors around them. They offer immediate feedback on how the individual is processing and handling his or her emotions. This “mirroring” of what human body language is telling them develops personal insight, confidence, and improved communication within the individual through lessons and metaphors.
Equine Learning is especially beneficial in cases where traditional therapy has not been successful. Individuals with communication and trust barriers can find relationships with animals less threatening than human relationships, and often extend trust. Horses, being very emotionally healthy, can be excellent role models for youth and adults with little emotional health.
Sessions can provide participants with a safe environment to begin to deal with the traumatic events, or series of events, that have shaken their ability to function or feel emotions as a result of creating negative belief systems about their self, others, and the world (Trotter, 2012). Horses can demonstrate and teach self-awareness, honest communication, trust, healthy boundaries, leadership, patience, assertiveness, play affection, nurturance, and more (Trotter, 2012).