Some of the principles that have helped many in the healthcare environment are listed below:
- Break the task down into smaller tasks that the horse can understand.
- Relationship is the most important aspect of horsemanship. It is not the equipment or technique, it is the quality of relationship, feeling and communication.
- Trust and empathy in that relationship.
Many students have found measurable changes in how they interact with their patients after going through the equine assisted learning process. For example, learning not to pressure their patients when they feel that they know what is best for them, but rather taking time to empathize and understand what fears might be underlying a patient’s reaction.
“Medical students are so left brained, they list to one side. Medicine and Horsemanship balances intellectual activity with an awareness of sensory input from one’s own body as a way to stay centered and grounded, keeping impatience and anger in containment during patient encounters.”
Similar to the Medicine and Horsemanship course, HorseDream Canada’s World Tours provide an opportunity for healthcare professionals to enhance their natural abilities and improve their working skills through interactions with specifically trained horses. It is evident that horses have the ability to positively influence a person’s professionalism.
For more information on Stanford’s progress with this class, read their director’s interview here.