There is no judgment with a horse and it is for this reason that horses make great companions for therapy because they can mirror and respond to human behaviour. And equine assisted therapy is helping more and more people find peace of mind.
As many horse owners are only too aware, their mood affects their horse’s behaviour. From the moment we step into their presence, horses sense us. They attune to us and see us for who we are, without judgement. It can seem almost uncanny the way they are able to pick up on our inner thoughts and feelings and instantly reflect them back to us. Even if we are not aware of how we are feeling, the horse is.
Professional counsellor Midi Fairgrieve first came across Equine Assisted Therapy ten years ago when she saw a feature on television about an actor experiencing it. She was intrigued by the deep insights being offered to the man through his time spent with the horse. Midi explains; “It was as if a fire ignited inside me and over the next few years I trained in Equine Assisted Personal Development and now offer individual sessions with my small herd of horses near Tyninghame.”
When horses are brought into a facilitated personal development situation, they will respond to whatever the client is energetically presenting and give them immediate non-verbal feedback. The sessions can lead to deep insights and realisations for the client and reveal how they relate to others and to the world around them. Being outside in nature and spending time with the horses helps clients to come out of the analytical head space, into a more peaceful state and be fully present in the here and now. Midi adds; “It brings people into a more heart-based, intuitive place within where they are more able to connect to their true feelings. When we try to hide our feelings or suppress them, for example, with alcohol, food, overwork or constant busyness, these feelings can fester and cause problems in our lives and our relationships.”
With the help of the facilitator, the insights and realisations offered by the horse allows the client to be able to process them, perhaps for the first time. This new self-awareness helps people to reconnect to their authentic self and offers a greater understanding of who they are. Midi says; “It’s a beautiful feeling, like coming ‘home’ to yourself.”
Midi works with people from all walks of life who come for a host of different reasons; to find more meaning and purpose in their life, to help with trauma, anxiety, depression, grief and loss, or who are seeking answers to life’s challenges and transitions. Working with the horses is an opportunity to experience the transformational healing power of the horse, outside of the traditional therapeutic environment. She adds; “No previous experience of horses is necessary. People with a fear of horses are welcome!“