Horses are unique in how they help us open doors and show us things in a new light. As large, powerful, social herbivores, they’re highly sensitive to the emotions and intentions of other herd members as well as predators. This translates to an ability to read subtle changes in humans. Horses are highly effective at detecting and mirroring the attitudes, physiological states, and behaviors of people they interact with. Secure, finely trained herd members showing an aptitude for therapeutic work may simply walk away from a dysregulated or incongruent client. Yet when this person moves toward a more balanced, congruent, regulated state, these same horses will sense and reward the shift, often by walking back to the person and fully engaging. In effect, horses exhibit alertness and discernment without being judgmental.
Some horses make particularly gifted therapeutic partners. These animals can calm people struggling with strong emotions and memories. This is especially important for survivors of traumatic events. Embodying strength, beauty, adaptability and courage, horses are fully capable of protecting vulnerable herd members from aggressors. They can sense a lion hiding in the grass at a significant distance, and sometimes perform altruistic acts to successfully save younger, older or injured herd members from predatory attacks. Mature horses draw on thenonpredatory power of the herd, providing comfort and inspiration to people who feel victimized by life’s challenges. Over time, they teach us how to be alert yet relaxed, strong yet compassionate. They teach us how to protect ourselves and our loved ones through empowered, socially intelligent connections with others who are capable of standing up to aggressors without becoming abusive.
Through carefully developed protocols and tools incorporating evidence-based research in multiple fields, Connection Focused Therapy® employs horses to help people effect change in a positive, non-threatening way.
Connection Focused Therapy® is about the horses helping to effect change in the lives of people in a positive, non-threatening way.