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Horses and their effect on humans


I just got done reading an article you wrote regarding Equine Facilitated Learning and was wondering if you could help me out a bit. I just recently graduated with an AS in Equine Science and unfortunately I cannot continue my education due to financial inability, so I gave myself a research/writing project to keep myself in the horse world (since I can't afford to ride, train, or teach anymore) as well as keep my mind "in the zone" as it were. Basically I want to research and write about 2 things:

1. Effective training techniques (Natural Horsemanship/Native American Horsemanship, etc)

2. How does the ability to successfully work with and train a horse effect people in their daily lives, working lives, personal lives (how they perceive themselves and the world around them) and decision making - especially regarding raising children.

Would you be able to recommend to me any books, articles, internet sites, or anything else that would provide information along those lines? I have no trouble finding zillions of articles, both in books/magazines and online, about natural techniques from all the "greats" in the training world, but am having a heck of a time finding anything regarding the effects on humans...except for this wonderful article you wrote.

Any pointers would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you for reading my e-mail and I hope to hear back from you!

Hi Lindsay,

First off thanks for the email and I am glad some of my writings resonate with you. I am attaching a recent essay entitled Beyond Natural Horsemanship. I wish to caution you about the natural horsemanship bandwagon and craze. Most folks do not have a real handle on what natural horsemanship is supposed to mean and it is really currently only an affective marketing tool/term at this point. Always look for several specific things when researching the relationship between horses and humans; first compassion for horses and all living things, then wisdom about horses acquired over time, next is developed and earned mutual trust through learned and practiced skills. If these elements are not present, forget it. There are many horse trainers out there and most all show the same techniques over and over. To me, success with horses has to encompass a core philosophy based in the Golden Rule, accompanied by excellence in compassionate and inspired leadership. I just do not see any other meaningful way. Everything else, to me, appears shallow.

So you can see if these concepts are embraced this means the human applying them has accepted a higher, more functional and less ego based way of being not only with horses, but in the world as well. Through acceptance of the above principles, the human has begun to realize the inherent values in 'giving' as opposed to always looking to 'get.' The concept and value of forgiveness and an attitude of gratitude will begin to manifest continuously in a humans life once they become successful with horses following these principles. Our lives are based around our attitudes and thoughts. What we think our lives are is how we perceive it to be. Change your thoughts and attitude and change your life. These are basic principles put forth by every enlightened teacher and individual throughout time. Modern enlightened individuals such as Gandhi, Tutu, Mother Theresa, Dr. Dyer, Dr. Jerry Jampolsky, Chopra, Ram Das, Alan Cohen, Lee Jampolsky, John Grey, many of the Indian Gurus and teachers and others, all speak the same message and teaching. Being with horses allows humans the opportunity to practice these wonderful and humane principles in fun, experiential, immediate, focused and loving ways. Success with horses in this manner is truly a life enriching and life enhancing experience.

There are a number of programs based on something called Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, Equine Assisted - Facilitated Therapies, Equine Guided Education, on and on. I do something called Equine Facilitated Learning mostly with learning disabled children as I do not wish to psychoanalyze a human at the expense of a horse. Unfortunately, many of these programs charge a lot of money to get certified in and never bring forth the above mentioned paradigms or philosophies. They USE horses as living inkblot tests, as opposed to imparting real knowledge about the horse and then teaching and demonstrating 'partnering' with horses. They project their own mental stuff onto the horse saying the horse feeling/thinking this or that, wanting to appear as experts on the mind of the horse. I caution you again to always look for a few things that any course or group involved with horses should be promoting, beyond and along with their program: compassion for the horse (and all life), learned/acquired wisdom about the horse (not opinions), developed trust with the horse (mutually successful communication) and good, practiced acquired skills in regards to successful interaction between the horse and the human. Many people involved with horses (owners, instructors, trainers, on and on) will not admit there is something they do not know about horses. Personally, I never stop learning from horses. Each horse I am with teaches me new things. There is so much to learn that one lifetime is not enough. It is a journey and a wonderful journey at that.

Check out Horse Sense and the Human Heart by the McCormick Sisters and Naked Liberty by Caroline Resnick. Books by Mark Rashid are good as well. Google these authors. But even these wonderful horse people and authors do not put the principles I have mentioned out in front as strongly as I do, although they are implied in their writings. But I am extremely passionate about this, as you might be able to tell from how I speak about it. These principles permeate all of my teaching/writings and courses. I appreciate your contact very much. It has given me an opportunity to write again about my passion for and commitment to the highest horse/human relationship possible. In that relationship is found the keys to a better life for all, horse and human alike. The similarities between good parenting (raising well-adjusted and kind/compassionate children) and training horses through the principles I have mentioned above are many and are mutually complementary. There are many gentle, effective training techniques described on my website in the Help center and Essay/Article sections. Have a look around. Again, consider looking beyond natural horsemanship and beyond the massive marketing that has happened around this term. You might have to do a bit of digging to find it. I will help where I can.

Keep in touch and let me know how it all goes.....
Sincerely, Franklin

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