Experiential learning has become a powerful and proven approach to teaching based on one incontrovertible reality: people learn best through experience.
Experiential learning with horses offers unfamiliar experiences and unique opportunities to learn personally and professionally because they provide immediate and unbiased feedback. They have an unprecedented ability to tune into an individual’s energy and respond in kind, helping humans discover their strengths and gaps that affect inner balance and clear communication as they improve skills to interpret non-verbal information accurately.
Most people are so focused on the end goal that they commonly miss vital non-verbal cues. Yet, these cues provide invaluable information that helps cut through blocks, confusion and wasted time.
Extroverted individuals often miss the subtle cues and can become overbearing causing a family or a team’s morale to suffer. Those who are naturally more introverted often leave difficult discussions feeling they can’t bring value because they don’t feel heard. Through various exercises and discussions, participants of experiential learning discover how to modulate their energy to respond appropriately to others, especially under stressful situations.
These training techniques build confidence, compassion, and camaraderie as people step outside of their typical environment and experiment with new and fun ways to improve themselves.
The Soulful Component
Experiential learning not only provides practical skills for communication and connection, but there is a deeper component of wellbeing at play.
Many lucky enough to be around horses found a soulful connection in early childhood that calls us to rekindle later in life. It is a familiar story in that we experience an unusual opening of the heart, but only when we are ready to listen. It is an entirely different kind of connection to these sentient beings that aids and deepens a human’s soulful alignment with their more significant parts of life.
This dynamic effect isn’t limited to those who have had previous experience with horses.
Scientific studies are beginning to explain why this is possible. It is as if we get stuck in the analytic side of thought and inadvertently close ourselves off from the possibility of a deeper level of intuitive connection. Through physical proximity with horses in a natural environment, our heart rate and energetic balance begins to shift, opening us to more intuitive levels of awareness within ourselves.
We find moments when who we are is no longer separate from all that is.
It is at this time that our life experience becomes a transformational journey.
We tap into the sanctuary of the heart and find the gateway to our own natural and unique rhythm, where we grow by identifying with inner truth and learn from the gifts of listening within.
~ Barbara Alexander, Founder, Epona Ridge