I am excited to begin "wave one" of my Horse Wisdom Facilitated Learning certification program with 5 students beginning the first week of May. In reviewing the content, I was inspired o share on a section called "Enhancing your horse communication skills. In this section of the program, I talk about the importance of consent when working in partnership with horses.
Giving your horse a choice to say Yes or No creates trust and connection.
As facilitators, horse owners or riders, we need to understand our equine partners and must consistently look for how they express permission or objection. If a horse is fussy, it isn't because it is stupid or stubborn. It is expressing something to us that is important to understand. This should consistently be applied in the field during equine assisted interventions. That it be working at liberty or in structured programs.
Having a clear understanding of horse communication for the facilitator is of utmost importance. The safety for all involved depends on that clarity of knowledge, and safety is ALWAYS #1 around horses.
Unfortunately, in various horse industry, coercion, control, and threat, create horses to react, and eventually learn helplessness, It is not possible to create a healthy relationship under those conditions, There is no connection without consent.
As facilitators, we first need to create and nurture trust with our equines if we want our clients to benefit from our horse partners' wisdom and our facilitation.
Hope Ferdowsian, MD, MPH quotes:"Like many vulnerable humans, animals are capable, though often deprived, of making informed decisions about their lives. Animals can express assent and dissent, but we rarely respect their personal sovereignty in ways that acknowledge their aptitude for making choices. Play and cooperation among animals are examples of how animals can express consent with one another, but we don’t speak the languages of other animals, and they typically don’t speak ours. Even when they express dissent to us, their feelings are often ignored. The ways animals are exploited in research, entertainment, food and clothing production, and other areas of human society clearly defy their sovereignty – much like human exploitation does, suggesting that something much deeper is at work here. In addition to the physical violence animals suffer through, they also suffer from fear, anxiety, and depression – like we do – when their personal sovereignty is violated.”
In all facilitation, the client and the horse must be considered. It requires mutual respect, option, agreement, acceptance to signs of “yes” and “no”, and connection. In doing so, we are able to understand what is communicated and respond in a way that honours both voices. Aiming for win-win experiences between the human and horse is what is required. Just like in our own human-human relationships.
Neptune, my youngest horse of 4 years, is excellent at helping us humans negotiate and work towards win-win scenarios. He has intense energy and can be "in your face". Very uncomfortable to someone who has not been around horses, and even for the more experienced horse-person. He wants attention. What needs to be achieved is mutual respect. I get what I want, you get what you want. Neptune has the wisdom to help us understand how to negotiate in our relationships while setting healthy boundaries.
From all interactions with horses, there are many life-lessons that can derive from every interaction. That is why working with horses is so powerful. We get to experience it. When experienced, we do not forget.
Learning horse language is so fascinating and rewarding. We need to be open and pure in our approach and leave our ego aside. Ego's gotta go.
Should you feel the call to become a facilitator, working in partnership with horses, or you would want to experience the magick of horse wisdom for yourself, check out my website, sign-up as a member for free and never miss any updates.
Until next time,
Love, Light, Blessings
Frannie Chara & the BWH Herd