Horses as Guides, Teachers and Healers
Long before there were humans, horses existed. In fact, our historical and archeological evidence records the horse as more than 50 million years old. The domestication of the horse and the human ability to harness horsepower and horse sense profoundly shaped our history. Only 100 years ago horses lived in our backyards; they plowed our fields, rode us to school and carried our medicines and groceries.
When our industrial dependence on horses faded, the horse transformed itself again. The modern horse’s emergence as teacher, healer and guide has its roots in the 1960’s. In 1969 NARHA (North American Riding for the Handicapped) was formed. Soon after physical therapists developed treatment protocols for movements of the horse. In 1990, the first Equine Assisted Psychotherapy program was implemented at Sierra Tucson by Barbara Rector, MA CEIP-ED.
The later 1990’s saw the rise of EFHMA (Equine Facilitated Mental Health Association), EPONA and EGALA. In early 2000, Ariana Strozzi coined the term ‘Equine Guided Education’. Ariana, June Gunter, Gaby Fabian and Alyssa Aubrey co-founded the Equine Guided Education Association together and established the founding principles. We declared the horse did more than facilitate or assist in a process of learning. The horse actually “guided” the experience.
Medicine Horse Ranch (Equine-Guided Education programs) incorporates relational activities with the horse to further human self- development. Activities take place on the ground, in a safe and supportive environment.
Horses have the ability to mirror exactly what the human body language is telling them, which quickens self-awareness leading to powerful insight and change. The size and power of a horse is naturally intimating to many people. Accomplishing a task with a horse in spite of fear bolsters confidence and self-esteem. Horses provide wonderful metaphors for self-leadership, recovery, and self-discovery inside transformative experiences for other varied life situations.
Our Medicine Horse staff are experienced, certified experiential educators, knowledgeable in best practices and principles for the field of equine interaction professionals. Students and teachers agree to be responsible for themselves while practicing new skills with mindfulness and accountability.
The horse is treated as a respected partner in all our interactions together. Our standard for the horse’s care (body, mind and spirit) pays tribute and homage to this sentient being, whose contributions to human civilization are unequaled.