Equine Facilitated Interactions (including Equine Facilitated Learning and Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy – see below) involve working alongside horses to create personal learning or personal insight, or develop individual wellbeing, or structure a genuinely therapeutic intervention.
There is no one standard approach to this work. These interactions, can simply be observing the horses from a distance, quietly interacting with them within their natural environment, or working alongside them in a structured way in an arena or sand-school.
Equine Facilitated Interactions are based upon effective social intelligence and conscious somatic presence. By their nature horses are situationally and socially present, to work effectively with them, we need to be the same, and so we must learn to engage these qualities in ourselves.
As a herd-based, flight animal horses are sensitive to their environment and consciously aware of the energy, emotions and intentions of those around it. They are adept readers of non-verbal communications to which their reactions and responses are honest and unconditional. This authentic social intuition is engaged in our interactions. The good news for us 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.
This honesty facilitates practical exercises in co-regulation, the means by which social beings support and calibrate each other’s energetic state and emotions. There is an exchange of real-time feedback, whereby we learn that in changing how we are, we can change not only change our own experience but that of others around us.