When I was first learning about coaching with horses, I struggled to find a good explanation of what it actually was. There were an overwhelming number of different definitions and acronyms. The few definitions I found seemed to have a lot of fluffy terminology that didn’t quite answer my questions.
So, I’ve decided to write a simple series to answer all the questions I had when I first heard about equine coaching:
1) What is equine coaching,
2) How equine coaching works, and
3) How equine coaching helps women
To start, let’s talk about what equine coaching isn’t.
When I first tell someone I’m an equine coach, I’m often asked questions like, “So, does that mean you train horses?” or “You coach horseback riders?”
Equine coaching is not:
Riding or horsemanship lessons
Horse cuddle time
Equine therapy (*more on this in this post)
So, what exactly is equine coaching, then?
Here’s the textbook definition: Equine coaching is a learning modality where participants engage in experiential activities with horses for personal development.
In normal words? Equine coaching is a real-time experience where, with the help of a coach, clients have the opportunity to learn about themselves by interacting with horses.
Here are just some of the ways equine coaching helps people:
expand self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and consciousness
work through personal challenges and change
Release emotional pain and limiting beliefs
improve self-confidence and leadership skills
develop stronger communication skills and interpersonal relationships
Now, you might be asking ‘How can a horse do that?’
Google ‘equine coaching’ and you’ll find tons of different explanations as to how horses have the ability to help humans. Some practitioners say it’s because horses are prey animals and have spent thousands of years becoming finely attuned to the world around them for survival. These people talk about how horses can sense the hunger pangs of an approaching predator, the subtle whisper of a storm brewing, or a hint of smoke in the air. Because of their heightened sensory abilities, horses can tune into intentions and emotions in a way that humans simply can’t.
Others talk about how horses ‘mirror’ humans. These practitioners talk about how horses will reflect back the energy and intentions that we carry. There is preliminary research from the Heart Math Institute that suggests when a horse is in contact with a human, their heart rate may mirror the human’s emotions. This mirroring effect allows the human to see what he or she may be oblivious to in terms of their emotional state.
Then, there’s the folks who talk about the ancient wisdom of the horse. These people argue that horses are divine, sentient beings that have an ability to understand how all life is intrinsically connected. They claim horses are a bridge from the spiritual realm to the physical world we live in.
I personally like to let clients decide what fits best for their journey. I have personally experienced all three of these phenomenons and don’t prescribe to just one. The only thing I know for sure is that every moment I spend with a horse, I learn something about myself and that’s what I want you to experience too.