Fear is the opposite of Love. Horses are the masters of authenticity and can help develop a relationship of honesty in which the connection of true love can be discovered. Horses, like humans, know the meaning of fear. They cannot cope, feel stressed and insecure with someone who is incongruent, hiding fear, and needs to control or dominate while smiling and saying false loving words.
Through the exercises the residents will identify how each horse can intuit the feelings of another, express his own needs, and teach us to respond to those needs with respect. This is the key to learning how to love. Therapy horses relate to our moods and can help us identify our hidden needs. By learning to identify our own needs, we can teach others how to love us, and that we are worthy of love.
Horses are aware of how we feel deep inside and react in ways that help us to be authentic with them and with ourselves. A horse knows if we overfeed, overheat, over control, or over pet a horse because we are unconscious of his real needs (and we feel bad with ourselves for not knowing). Just like it happens with kids who can read our non-verbal, subconscious cues such as body language, eye contact, emotional state, tone of voice, and capacity to respond to their unique needs.
Kids and horses know if we are fully present with them or not. Because horses can express their needs, they teach us to be present, pay attention, and to connect with them. They show us how to pay attention and connect to our own needs and feelings as well. Through mutual respect and honesty, we can learn to experience love if we are fully present and authentic with each other.
Historically, horses know the fear of predators such as mountain lions, snakes, and more recently, humans, who can be quite abusive. Similarly, children who have known the abuse of human predators also experience the ravages of fear. Most of the therapy horses in our program have been abused at one time and this is an experience they will have in common with the children.
The horses are sensitive to the disconnection we experience as a result of fear and anxiety and will respond in ways that show us how to connect with them and with ourselves authentically in a safe, caring environment. The residents will enjoy a multitude of activities with their horse as well as experience a variety of riding styles, bareback, bitless, and bridleless. They will also interact with groups of horses, including playful foals and young horses.