Home : Horsemanship Essays by Franklin Levinson : Working with Children and Horses

Working with Children and Horses

I am certain part of the success I have had in working with horses and children is an ability to step back just enough to not attempt to control everything that happens between them, but rather act as a ‘guide’ to successful outcome involving appropriate active communication. When communication is successful it is empowering for both parties in the interaction. The general tendency humans have with horses is to over input them and to exert much energy into ‘controlling’ them. This is due to erroneous projections and opinions about horses as opposed to real knowledge based on the true nature of horses. With children, while their safety is paramount, our tendency is to overprotect and not allow too much interaction with the outside world with nature included. Thus limited views and unrealistic attitudes concerning ‘nature’ become the norm. Even with learning disabled or mentally impaired individuals, successful communication and interaction with the outside world (nature) is still an empowering, maturing and necessary occurrence for certain types of fundamental development to happen.

Horses, being naturally social and inclined to appropriate interaction with whoever is with them, are a perfect manifestation of nature for children to interact with, become empowered by and have an experience that expands their world immensely. While specific selection of horses for experiences with children and non-horse horse people is paramount because of safety considerations, appropriately guided interaction between horses and humans provides an experience that tends to uplift all individuals who are participating, including the horse. One of the similarities between horses and humans is the desire for feelings of community between individuals. This supports feelings of safety and connection. If we are only made to feel separate, because of being overly protected, controlled or kept ‘apart’, aberrations in thought and behavior develop. This is the same for horses and humans alike.

Successful communication between horses and children is a valid, warranted and desirable occurrence. Professionalism and skill in selection of animals and guidance of interaction is paramount to safety considerations and the overall success of the experience. Allowing safe and successful interaction between children and horses, through skillful and professional guidance, is my goal in this work. The ‘magic’ of successful interspecies communication is a natural occurrence that uplifts, inspires and connects all parties together as being part of one big, conjoined family called Nature. The horses and the children themselves provide this magic through their heart to heart connection.