What is Equine Facilitated Learning?

Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL) is the process of learning about oneself and how one is in the moment – developing self-awareness.  Therefore, once aware we can explore what happens when we change.  Importantly, we can nurture the skill of self-regulation.

Moreover, Equine Facilitated Learning is an experiential process which enables us to model different behaviours and skills.

This means that, when we are working with the horses we become aware of “how others see us”.  In other words, they reflect how we show up. Without judgement they honestly and authentically provide insight into how others’ experience us. Similarly, in this way they show us what the Johari Window calls our unseen self.  As a result, the EFL process aligns to the classic model of Emotional Intelligence (EI).  Most importantly, by understanding how we are and regulating ourselves we develop the foundation of empathic awareness, and the building of effective relationships.

Exp EFL learningExperiential Learning

EFL is an Experiential Learning process. That is to say, we work with the horses as a metaphor for our own challenges.  In other words, the experience of change or difference that occurs during the sessions can be compared to meaningful challenge in the workplace or personal life.

Consequently, we are given clear personal insight into how to approach situations or interactions differently.

In conclusion, the process represents the ultimate experiential 360° appraisal, reflecting how we are. Horses can provide a running commentary on our mindset, demeanour and behaviour. When we decide to act or to shift the way we are, then their honest and immediate commentary comes with us.

Why horses?

The nature of the horse – a herd based, flight animal – means that it has an intuitive awareness and presence. It is sensitive to its environment and consciously connected to the energies and intentions of those around it. Because horses are adept readers of non verbal communications to which their reactions and responses are honest and unconditional.

Horses seek safety which means at liberty they will intuitively move away from risk. For them to choose to engage with us we have to create the right space.

The good news is that horses do not role play. They do not have agendas, nor do they intentionally mislead. As a result, they respond to us as we are, if we change, they will change with us.

Equine Facilitated Learning at the Athena Herd Foundation

EFL at the Athena Herd Foundation is a supported by our sizeable barefoot herd of horses.  This natural environment supports optimum physical and mental health and well-being for both animals and people contributing to the provision of the best possible learning and development experience.  This creates a unique personal learning experience.

The Athena Herd Foundation team has significant collective expertise in providing EFL, delivering meaningful and insightful learning and therapeutic support around horses.   In addition, the team brings diverse professional expertise from differing backgrounds, who come together in their passion for the health and well-being of the humans and horses.

You can read more about the process in practice please read The Mindful Horse‘s guest blog on our blog page – click here.

Qualifications at the Athena Herd Foundation

The Athena Herd Foundation is an Organisational Member of ACCPH (Accredited Counsellors, Coaches, Psychotherapists and Hypnotherapists) and bacp. Our Equine Facilitated Practitioner courses are accredited meaning our training and courses are of the highest standard. Our courses closely follow the level benchmarks set by Ofqual, the Open & Distance Learning Quality Council or similar bodies.

We offer a Level 2 Certificate in Equine Facilitated Learning and a Level 4 Diploma: Equine Facilitated Practitioner and a number of accredited CPD opportunities (please visit our events page).

Who do we work with?

The Athena Herd Foundation provides EFL based learning for a various groups, including:

  • corporate leadership and management teams
  • private individuals and groups
  • community and charitable groups
  • other learning organisations such as schools and colleges
  • vulnerable and sensitive social groups
  • those seeking alternative learning and therapeutic interactions

What do we offer?

As a nature based learning organisation with a diverse team, we offer a number of different styles and approaches to personal or group development:

  • equine facilitated leadership, personal development and psychotherapy
  • interactive sessions with or without horses, as well as other nature based therapeutic activities
  • mindfulness and meditative based sessions and programmes
  • emotional and mental health awareness sessions
  • meaningful equine interventions/equitation
  • advisory, business, legal support
  • reiki /energy healing

We offer a range of provisions, from one hour to full day sessions and training as well as multiple day and overnight retreat opportunities. Contact us for more information.

ACCPH-Organisational-Member-Logo bacp

Athena EFL Work
Athena EFL Work