Horse Assisted Coaching
Horse assisted coaching is a focused, intentional relationship between a professionally trained horse assisted coach, a willing horse and an individual client or group of people. The individual or group is looking to change things up, get unstuck, or deepen their personal or professional relationships.
Role of the horse
The horse’s role is simply to be a horse. Horses, as prey animals, are very good at “reading” the intent and the underlying emotions of other beings. They mirror the internal landscape of humans. Thoughts, emotions, and intentions all carry energy. Horse physiology is set up to feel this energy. They make no judgment on “good” or “bad” emotions. Emotions are information to pay attention to and when we step back and observe them, we have more choice in our actions. Being more aware of our emotions and intentions and the body feel of them contribute to our emotional and social intelligence. This awareness leads to greater success for being a thoughtful leader in our own lives and in the lives of others.
What is the role of the client in a one-to-one session?
The client’s role is to show up and be open to learning more about him/herself and what he/she wants to shift or have more of in life. The client is the center of a sort of energy dance between herself/himself, the horse(s) and the coach.The client brings some sort of agenda to the session which the coach and horse follow. The coach responds to the agenda by asking questions of the client. The horses pick up on the thoughts, emotions and intentions of the client and mirror it for the client to see. The coach, in turn, responds to the horse(s) behavior, metaphorically or literally, and the client’s insights by asking questions to deepen the learning for the client. This brings the client closer to what it is they want in their life or reach the place that is wanting change. There is no right or wrong way for the client to be. Whatever happens in the equine assisted coaching session is grist for the mill of the client learning more about herself.
What is the role of a client in a group session?
The coach meets with the group’s leader in advance to determine what the desired outcome is and how the equine facilitated learning activities will contribute to that outcome. Then the coach will design activities for the group to experience and reflect on. Research shows this type of focused experiential learning is effective in helping people to learn more about their beliefs, strengths, weaknesses and areas of learning for the sake of more effective interaction with others.
What is the role of the coach?
The coaches role is to tune into the presence of the client and “read” the actions of the horse(s). Horses like us to be present. Ruminating about the past or focusing on the future takes us somewhere else and it makes the horses around us agitated until we become present. Being present helps us to live our lives more fully and connect more effectively with other people. The coach asks deep questions to reach the place where the client is stuck, wanting change or seeking more in life. The coach also observes the actions of the horse(s) as they mirror what is going on for the client.