Equine Facilitated Learning and Coaching
Finding the right words to express the special way that horses help humans to grow their awareness has been a thought provoking process. I have chosen to use Equine Facilitated Learning and Coaching (EFLC) as I see it includes the horse and the human as partners in providing personal and professional growth experiences for individuals and groups.
I reflected on the meaning of each word:
Equine – Horse
Facilitate – to make easier or less difficult, to help forward (an action, a process, etc.), and to assist the progress of (a person).
Learning – the acquisition and development of memories and behaviors, including skills, knowledge, understanding, values, and wisdom. It is the product of experience and the goal of education. Learning ranges from simple forms of learning such as habituation and classical conditioning seen in many animal species, to more complex activities such as play, seen only in relatively intelligent animals.
Coaching – a form of communication that provides exploration, insight, clarity and direction for a person, or group of people, to enhance and succeed in personal or professional advancement and achievement.
I concluded that:
A horse in its natural state of being is a mirror and teacher for humans. Through interacting with horses in a setting that encourages awareness of body, mind and spirit, learning is achieved for the human. Clients gain new skills, knowledge, behaviors and understanding about self and others. The coach (human) through a coaching conversation (after the session) helps the client apply the learning into other areas of their life.
Equine Facilitated Learning and Coaching is based in the philosophy that through interacting and creating relationships with horses a person may explore and learn new ways of understanding how they interface with the world around them. Horses are non-judgmental beings that facilitate learning in a positive and immediate manner. It is often easier to learn a life lesson from a 1,000 pound horse, than through a friend, supervisor or business partner. There are no pre-established judgments or defensive posturing that often block learning experiences with our human counterparts.
During sessions with horses, the horse’s nature brings to the surface aspects of the client (behaviors, habits, skill levels) that they may have previously been unaware of. Once the person reaches new levels of awareness of self, higher levels of trust, intimacy and respect are reached with the horse. The learning happens on a visceral experience and lodges deeply into the memory cells of the body. Through understanding the horse and the horse’s nature, and learning in the moment how to best communicate with horses, the human’s growth is expediential. It is only through great levels of understanding and mutual acceptance and awareness that higher more intelligence levels of communication such a play can emerge.
The programs I provide honor the horse for the teachings they provide for the client and offer the addition support through a coaching conversation. An experienced trained coach has the conversation and communication skills and tools to help the client have a full understanding of their equine experience and how to apply that experience into their everyday life. As a trained and seasoned business and life coach I am dedicated to providing a process for the impact of working with a horse to make substance changes in a person’s life, relationships and to succeed in living with purpose in the world.