I wanted to switch gears this week and talk a little bit about another branch of Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT) that may be beneficial to some members of our community. In addition to the population that is traditionally served in therapeutic riding, Equine Assisted Learning is offered to an even larger breadth of individuals.
What is Equine Assisted Learning?
Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) involves a series of unmounted horsemanship activities. These are often completed individually or in a larger group setting and focus on problem solving and team building exercises. In some cases, EAL sessions may focus on horsemanship activities that can't be done on horseback, such as bathing or leading the horse. In others, a group may use the horse as a means to a deeper understanding of themselves as individuals.
What are the benefits?
Horses are strong, independent, and emotionally expressive animals. Learning how they respond to your actions is often very eye opening to participants as they begin to realize the impact their actions may have on this animal (and people they interact with). Learning the nonverbal communication that horses use translates well to body language that we present to the people around us.
In addition to the increase in self-awareness, equine assisted learning can have an array of other benefits. There are countless educational, problem solving, team building, and fun activities that participants can be a part of to further their knowledge of themselves, their group, the horse, and the environment around them.