'Why Horses Make the Best Therapists!
The horse mirrors the person that it is with. The horse is looking to have feelings of safety and peace always. This is because the horse is a ‘prey’ animal always looking over its shoulder for the ‘predator’. If the human is trying to control the animal for whatever reason, this produces fear within the horse. If the human does not display authenticity around the horse, this makes the horse fearful. If the human is disrespectful of the horse (inappropriate touching, movements, sounds, thoughts or feelings), this produces fear with the horse and the horse will not respond to the rider. When the human begins to make conscious and appropriate requests, rather than demands, of the horse cooperation begins to happen. The horse provides instant feedback to every action by the rider. When a human waits for and notices responses of the horse to the rider’s communication (non-verbal cues) this shows acknowledgment and respect for the horse. Trust and respect are earned with horses in much the same way as with people. The ‘golden rule’ applies to horses. A horse requires positive guidance and leadership from the rider. It is the rider’s responsibility to approach the horse as a great parent approaches a child, with love, compassion, patience and consistency. A rider who can understand the horse and human dynamics and develop and demonstrate the behaviors necessary to bond with the horse will carry these skills into other aspects of life.' (Hoofprints on the heart)