It’s about the process, not the outcome.
It’s about the journey, not the goal.
It’s about the relationship – to self and others, not completing games, tasks or activities.
It’s about respecting the horses every step of the way, not focusing only on what can be gained by the clients or indeed the professionals involved.
It’s not about taking as much as we can from another species with little regard for their well-being, enjoyment and fulfilling participation.
It’s not about meeting targets or ticking boxes, it’s about dealing with whatever arises in each moment for the client and observing the horses in each moment for their suggestions, feedback and guidance.
It’s about honing presence, self-reflection, connection and authenticity, no matter what is happening.
It’s about mutual respect between humans and horses and developing human-equine equity, not perpetuating archaic and out-dated forms of animals serving humans.
It’s learning to recognize and respond to the boundaries and needs of another species so that we both treat them well and learn how to respect the needs and limits of ourselves and others.
It’s about learning self-care and respect through respecting others and heeding the horses’ wishes that we honour ourselves fully, and that we quit neglecting and harming ourselves.
It’s about building inter-species relationships, where exploration and curiosity take the place of implicit beliefs of being the dominant or better species.
It’s about bringing mind and body back into their state of true unity and learning to respect our own bodies, as we learn to respect the horse’s body.
It’s about learning to self-regulate through learning skills to relate to horses in body-centred, present and mindful ways, and acknowledging our impact when we are dysregulated on a survival-oriented species, particularly in domesticated and confined settings.
In the end, it’s about many, many things but ultimately, it’s about learning to be fully with one’s self and building connections with others, human and equine, or any animal for that matter, and in so doing respecting and honouring each other every moment.
Angela Dunning, 5th March 2022.
You can learn more about my Philosophy & Approach here, and in my book 'The Horse Leads the Way: Honoring the True Role of the Horse in Equine Facilitated Practice'.