Calm On The Farm
One of the key requirements for Equine Assisted Learning is the promotion of a calm environment where horses and people come together. Our physical location really helps with this. From our paddocks, we have sweeping uninterrupted views of Mount Macedon. About the only things you can hear are the sound of the breeze and the tweeting of the local bird life.
Horses like to maintain a state of calm. As flight animals their number one job every day is to keep safe- to stay alive. They are highly attuned to stress and it’s noticeable as they come together how they communicate that they are calm with each other through their outbreaths.
A ‘horsey outbreath’ as we call it, is a deep exhalation of air that comes out like an enormous BBBRRRR… It’s hard to do it justice in letters! This is their way of saying ‘calm the farm’. As clients gather at our paddock fence, ready to engage with the horses, we always use some basic grounding work to get them into a calm state before they meet the herd. As clients practice their deep breathing, the horses will pick it up and join in and before they’ve even come into physical contact with each other- their bond of calmness is created. A safe place is established.
The Dalai Lama said, ‘If an individual has a calm state of mind, that person’s attitudes and views will be calm and tranquil even in the presence of great agitation’. Many participants comment that just standing or sitting with the horses quietly brings them to a state of calm. Being in a natural setting surrounded by the horses and the sound of birdsong allows participants to unclutter their minds and just be themselves – to reflect on what it means to be in their ‘Window of Tolerance’. Hopefully, they can then apply this feeling in situations when they face ‘great agitation’.