Equine Assisted Learning (EAL)
Equine-Assisted Learning (EAL) is a unique experiential learning approach that promotes the development of life skills in partnership with horses, while working with them on the ground.
The focus on life skills can be related to academic achievement and behavior, personal growth and exploration, or corporate/professional pursuits such as leadership development and team building.
If you’ve never been near a horse before, no problem. No horse experience is necessary or expected.
Horse & Buddy offers team building and mindfulness retreats. Click either photo for details!
We can also customize an offering for an individual or a team. Contact us at EAL@horseandbuddy.org for more information!
How does EAL work?
As social prey animals, horses are constantly living in the present moment and aware of their surroundings, including the non-verbal cues and behavior of humans.
Horses can provide real-time feedback, responding to our behavior and body language. This can help participants to better understand how their non-verbal communication or behavior impacts and influences others in their lives.
Horses ask us to be constantly present and self-aware, a state of mind that has become challenging in a world where life is often focused on our to-do list or the next thing on our agenda.
When participants work with horses, improved self-awareness can reveal patterns of behavior and give participants an opportunity to think and behave in a new way. Furthermore, learning to work with such large and powerful animals is empowering.
As the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.) shares on their website, “In all, horses provide us with a way to see our internal landscape and modes of operation exposed. They offer us the opportunity to experience humility, compassion and challenge - all critical elements to supporting self-growth and self-awareness.”
What does a typical session look like?
In an EAL session, a PATH Intl. certified Equine Specialist conducts an equine-assisted activity designed to develop a desired life skill or developmental goal.
These goals may be identified in partnership with a professional in education, facilitation, or human behavior, who may or may not be present for the activity. This partnership will vary on a case-by-case basis, based on the needs of the participant(s). The Equine Specialist will always be present for all activities at the barn.
All equine activities are done on the ground, not on horseback, with a focus on the safety of all participants and a respectful partnership with the horse(s).
For example, activities could include working as a team to get a horse over a jump to elicit progress in communication, leadership, and teamwork; learning to care for and groom a horse to illustrate the importance of self-care, planning, and relationship-building; learning to move a horse at liberty around the ring to develop self-awareness, intention-setting, and self-esteem.
Unlike in other “ground school” horsemanship programs, EAL is ultimately focused on the personal, life skill goal of the participant over the goal of the activity.
Who can benefit from EAL?
Everyone! Wouldn't you rather have a horse as your teacher?
Are you a business leader or HR professional looking for a unique and memorable team building event? Is your child struggling with socialization, academics, or classroom behavior? Are you an individual that would benefit from better self-awareness or improved self-esteem? Are you a leader looking to improve a specific skill set in your team such as decision-making, planning, or communication? These are just a few examples. We can customize a program to meet your specific goals in a group or individual setting.
EAL can help with many life skills including: