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Equine Facilitated Learning
Equine Facilitated Learning

Opening the Connection Through the Way of the Horse
article from
The Ranch at Jesus Canyon

There is a new breed of horse training that is being offered, that is not so new, its Equine Facilitated Learning. It is powerful, transformative, and something every horse owner should consider doing if they want to learn to communicate with their horse or any horse at a deeper more authentic level – and walk away with tools for more effective overall communication and understanding of others as well.

Student studyAccording to the “Equine Facilitated Mental Health Association,” Equine Facilitated Experiential Learning promotes personal exploration of feelings and behaviors in an educational format, while Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy both promotes personal exploration of feelings and behaviors, and allows for clinical interpretation of feelings and behaviors. Experiential Learning refers to a style of learning that occurs when a person is interacting with the environment, including the people, animals and situations involved. It is learning by doing and may take place during a short period of time, such as during a workshop, or during regularly scheduled sessions.

According to NARHA, these workshops offer significant value for participants. “Specially designed interactive experiences may promote psychosocial healing and growth through: improving self-esteem and self-awareness; developing trust in a safe environment, providing social skills training, encouraging sensory stimulation and integration, combining body awareness exercises with motor planning and verbal communication, developing choice-making and goal-setting skills, developing sequencing and problem-solving skills, encouraging responsibility, and Promoting pro-social attitudes through care-giving experiences.”

According to the Epona Equestrian Services website; “Epona Approved Instructors are qualified to teach basic Epona techniques in horse-human relationship skills, mind-body awareness, emotional fitness, assertiveness, and authentic leadership. Some are licensed therapists adept at including horses in the healing process. Others are experienced horse trainers and riding instructors who understand the emotional, mental and spiritual dynamics of horse-human relationships.”
Now more than ever, you will see as a horse owner and enthusiast many workshops and multi-day intensives offered to help you better communicate, lead, and learn from your horse. These workshops don’t just apply to horsemanship they apply to life and contain great value. This writer just participated in a one day workshop entitled, “Opening to Connection Through the Way of the Horse.” It was held at The Ranch at Jesus Canyon, and led by Epona certified Instructor Andi Burgis who has 20 years leading experiential workshops an educator and horsewoman.

We arrived at the Ranch at 8 AM and gathered under a tree for shade with 8 strangers, where we learned about how horses communicate, how they interpret our communication. We learned how to understand a little bit more about our physical communication, and we met the “herd” we would be working with that day, six beautiful horses – mostly paints and quarter horses; all stunningly beautiful.

We were blessed that day with an amazing day of sunshine and beautiful California weather. As the day progressed many participants who had never encountered a horse learned how to approach, how to greet and how to overcome their fears of horses by using the EPONA approach. Those of us who were comfortable with horses learned as well that connection in this new way required setting down what you thought you knew and trying new skills of listening through connection, communication; understanding.

As the primary facilitator Andi Burgis shares, it was amazing to JC Canyon Andiwatch, lead and guide the participants to the learning from the horse wisdom. The insights from the group both on the day of as well as the many emails I have received since the workshop, reflect the depth of learning and growth that occurred. The most important thing to me is the way the participants are connecting and using the learning from the workshops in their daily lives. Now that’s transformation!”

The Ranch at Jesus Canyon offers single and multi-day Equine Experiential Training Events for those people who are interested in moving deeper into their understanding of horses, and those who want to learn to communicate better with their horse partner and human friends as well.

Contact: Our Friendly Staff
LLano, California
Phone: (949) 322-5834

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