Equine Facilitated Coaching
How can horses facilitate learning and development?
“To face the next great adventure of human evolution we need to harness a combination of power and sensitivity in ourselves and, remarkably, horses are ready, willing and able to teach us how to do it”
– Linda Kohanov (Internationally recognised innovator in the field of Equine Experiential Learning and respected writer on the subject of Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy).
Horses are prey animals who depend on fight or flight responses to protect themselves. This is enabled by their exceptionally advanced ability to “understand and interpret the energy created by our thoughts, emotions and intentions” ( Dr Susan Foy, Author) so that they can instantly assess and respond to other beings and situations accordingly.
Horses are gentle, accommodating and happy to collaborate with humans, often in extremely generous ways. People often say that when they look into the eyes of the horse, the horse seems to see into their soul and connect with their hearts.
If you have ever had that sense that someone ‘really gets me’ or that they have ‘really hit the nail on the head about something that is important to me’ you will already have some understanding of what it is like to learn alongside horses.
Equine Facilitated Coaching seeks to work with those intrinsic traits to give people valuable insights about themselves and to help accelerate their personal development. The horse has no agenda – they simply react to how people are with them. This makes for an enjoyable, powerful and memorable learning experience.
All our work is non-ridden. No prior knowledge of horses is necessary to participate in this learning. The aim is not to develop horsemanship skills. The learning is directed specifically at the personal development objectives of individuals and teams – the horse is simply there to facilitate and accelerate this process.
The method of learning is different to most people’s experience of development. In the style of ‘Serious Play’, it helps breakdown unhelpful boundaries and tends to stimulate new perspectives and strategies far more rapidly than ‘thinking’ alone. It requires and enables us to embrace all of our resources – feeling, the sensations in our bodies and our intuition. Hence we call it an ‘embodied experience with horses’.
Sessions for individuals
We can work with whatever work or life issue an individual has that is most important to them at the time. The work is generally preceded by either a telephone call or a face to face conversation to establish the goal of the session. This will then be followed by a session involving the horses in some way.
Sessions for leaders
Equine Facilitated Coaching is an excellent way of helping people to understand themselves and the impact of their leadership upon others. This provides an opportunity to re-evaluate and evolve a person’s leadership so that they can be the leaders they seek to be or need to be.
Sessions for leaders can be part of a wider leadership programme or stand alone.
Why it works
When we learn in and from nature, we engage both sides of our brain. This means we experience things at a deep, neurological level and create the neural pathways we need to think, feel and act in different ways.
It’s at times like these you have those moments when everything clicks into place and it all becomes clear. Those rare moments of inspiration, discovery and understanding.
Because the experience you’ll have on our programmes is an emotional, physical and visceral one, it will have a significant effect on you. It will leave you feeling refreshed, with a new perspective, energy and insight about the way forward – for you personally and for the organisation you lead.
Our horses at Orchard House
We designed our in-house programmes to make the most of the natural resources we have here at Orchard House. On site we have a Spanish horse breeding stud and a wonderful selection of horses experienced in equine facilitated coaching. The coaching takes place in our indoor riding school allowing for all weather.