How do horses help us to heal?

Horses are sensitive beings with complex social systems and highly developed skills of communication, relating and perception. They deeply sense the world around them and respond to what they feel.

They are highly aware and live moment to moment, responding to situations as they arise. Horses are relational and depend on other members of the herd for socializing, grooming and forming relationships. They are very honest, clear communicators; they let each other know how they are feeling and what they are ok with. This is really helpful to anyone who enters the paddock, as they encourage us to be present and clear about what we need as well.

A lot of us have forgotten how to communicate well; we are out of touch with ourselves and therefore can’t clearly state what we need to others. This leads to feelings of confusion, disappointment and sometimes alienation as we feel that no one understands us.

Horses remind us to live in the moment and to check in with ourselves first, they remind us to take deep breaths and to check in and feel.

They also provide a safe, non-judgemental space for us to remember how to relax into our own experience.

Horses help us to heal, as they demand our presence, if we are over thinking or distracted they will often walk away. They also ask us to just be ourselves, this is when they feel safe and they relax when we relax.

Healing happens through relationship and through feeling and being in the body, most of us live up in our heads, detached from our body, our feelings, ourselves and from others. Being around a horse encourages you to drop back into your body and to get in touch with how you are feeling.

Horses like congruency and authenticity- when you are real and everything matches- your feelings match your words, match your body language, and match how you relate to them- you can’t fake that you are ok around a horse. Horses can feel when we are not fully showing up in our authentic self and they will respond to that either by walking away or sometimes by trying to send us away- they find incongruency and inauthenticity unsafe- like most people do, we have just learn to pretend it’s ok.

Horses provide a non-judgemental safe place for us to try out different ways of forming relationships and they provide a steady, calming presence that helps us to feel safe to feel again.

In my experience horses will push to get the best out of us, they want us to authentically show up, if we are open to listening to them, they will help us to remember all of who we are.

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