what is equine assisted learning?
To put it simply, Equine Assisted Learning is a learner based educational, experiential program that is facilitated within a group format and focuses on ground activities rather than horseback riding. More specifically, Equine Assisted Learning is a horse course with an effective approach to human development that encourages individual and team growth. Participants engage in objectively driven exercises and find themselves learning valuable life skills in a fun and exciting atmosphere. Equine Assisted Learning has proven to be useful, powerful, positive, educational, and creative.
Double T Ranch's program emphasizes a curriculum of 8-12 weeks, as well as one-day workshops and events and includes 15 exercises of facilitating life skills through positively reinforced interaction with horses. The horse's jobs are speaking to the clients through their bodies to help bring about the changes that the clients need to make. Exercises are developed to encourage self-confidence through validated, hands-on experiences. Equine Assisted Learning through Double T Ranch is not equine therapy even though we know that therapy exists whenever we are near horses. We do not require a clinical professional with us to do these exercises and programs. The participants are empowered to find solutions to their lives and move forward with newly acquired skills.
Equine Assisted Learning works, because the teachers are the horses!
In a horse’s world, the rules are clear, easy to understand and dealt with swiftly when challenged. Nature provides them with instincts and senses that are very astute. For their mere survival, a wild horse must be aware of their surroundings and quick to react. Horses are tough and steadfast dance partners; they don’t judge, but they don’t forget. They don’t let you cheat and their feedback is honest and instant.
Their inability to lie, or pretend, is the basis of why we work with horses as teachers. They are honest and non-judgmental. The honesty one finds when communicating with a horse can be life-changing and transformational. Horses have unique characteristics as a prey animal, which contributes to a powerful human-animal interaction.
In these skills development programs, participants will need to step up and find the leader within themselves, because if a horse doesn’t have a leader, they will become the leader. The true teachers in these exercises are the horses, and the participants will quickly see that the facilitators are there to offer an explanation and provide guidance as they work through the solution.
Horses have abilities that humans don’t have. As a prey animal, they intuitively know the truths as they are consistently reacting to the stimulus provided by the participants and can hear our hearts beating. They react to the stimulus through body language and participants must adjust their feelings and behaviours to work successfully with the horses. At 1200-1500 lbs, there is no pushing around our teachers.
Working with horses creates memories that we can apply to our lives and retain far longer than sitting in ‘just another classroom'.
why do we work with a prey animal?
how does this work?
Horses can magnify an individual’s problem immediately and provide a skilled facilitator with an opportunity to identify an individual’s character and their communication style. Horses don’t overthink a participant’s motive, but horses do challenge their behaviour and leadership. Horses in this program are effective teaching tools; immediately responding to stimulus from the participants, while trained facilitators look for "teachable moments" that horses identify.
By understanding why and how horses are aware of our every movement, and how they communicate through body language – participants will come to know the effectiveness of these equine-assisted learning programs. Facilitators listen to a horse’s nonverbal communication, and together with the participants, they have the ability to work toward success.
Horses have a lot to teach us, but they are also a lot like us. Herds to horses are just like teams to people. Horses require a leader that they trust and respect, just like we would love to have in the workplace, in school and in our everyday lives. These parallels give us the ability to parallel everything that happens back to real life, so that what is learnt really sticks!