What is Equine Assisted Learning (EAL)?
EAL is not simply defined, as we look to encapsulate what in truth is a profound, deep, and whole experience of connection that is available to us with these living beings we call horses. Let us start by recognizing that the human connection with horses is an ancient one. Our re-connecting with them lets us harness an archaic evolutionary relationship, with all the wisdom that entails.
Working with horses, as horses (that is to say not as props or objects of use), reminds us that we may have lost our way as humans in this modern world. Their presence reconnects us back to place and land, and to the natural rhythms and needs of the present moment. The equine nervous system is profoundly attuned to its environment, and through a process of entrainment, horses are able to help us calibrate and heal our own sense of being through this form of direct embodied learning. They teach through feedback, allowing us to calibrate to greater states of health, well-being, balance, and centeredness, if we remain open and responsive to their utterly honest offerings.
As the Rolling Stones once belted out, “You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, well, you might find you get what you need”, and so it is true with your work with horse and herd. The truth is we don’t know what we don’t know (or sometimes we do and just don’t want to admit it because of the vulnerability that would require). Equine work is an experience in learning, that is to say travelling into that which is unknown and uncertain; not an exercise in knowing. There is no ultimate mastery to be found here, just continual discovery into our human becoming. Offerings of direction, vision, healing, initiation, courage, love, creativity, leadership, navigation, and developmental growth are all present here; just never in the way you expect.
The invitation has been given, the call put out: the herd awaits your reply and reunion. Come home to range and graze (and gaze) in something bigger then the self you have known.