“Horses are a hundred percent honest, which is to say that everything they express when communicating with their body language is the truth about how they are thinking and feeling at that exact moment. They never misrepresent themselves, give mixed signals, or manipulate with pretense. They never lie to each other or to humans. Horses can read body language with flawless accuracy. Our body language never lies, which enables the horse to read our behavior and our intentions. This allows for the horse to mirror what we are putting out into their space. Because horses think in pictures and communicate in nonverbal body language, their mirror neurons are naturally able to read the unconscious body language of humans, which reflects a person’s true feelings, regardless of what they say or do.” Tim Hayes, from his book The Power of Horses to Heal.
I really love Tim’s book and his explanation of why horses are powerful teachers and healers. Because horses are prey animals, they are acutely aware of their surroundings. In other words, they are highly sensitive to energy. Any change in their environment catches their attention, whether it involves a small mouse running by or a deer off in the distance.
Horses have few options for protection. They can run away, freeze in place, or try to fight back. Running away and escaping their predator is usually a horse’s first line of defense. Horses tend to be peaceful herbivores that thrive living in herds. Living in a heard requires exceptional social skills. These skills include: acceptance, tolerance, congruence, kindness, leadership, team work, and forgiveness. Basically, horses know how to treat others the way they want to be treated.
Leadership of a herd is typically a matriarch mare (female horse). She gets this role by taking care of herself, demonstrating confidence and clarity, and being congruent. Congruence requires a match between her inner environment (thoughts and feelings) and her outer environment (what she shows to the herd). She leads the herd to food and water, maintains order, and educates the young horses how to behave. There is also a lead stallion that protects the herd. Within the herd are guards who assist the lead mare and stallion by paying attention to the environment too and alerting when danger is present.
So, you can start to understand how efficient and wise horses are. Horses are natural teachers of leadership, communication, team work, social skills, and integrity. Because they are prey animals, horses are highly sensitive and provide immediate, clear, and nonbiased feedback. Horses create a safe space for us to learn, grow, and heal.
Equus coaching involves ground exercises; there is no riding involved. The exercises are designed to support your awareness and exploration of nonverbal communication styles, strengths, and challenges. With response from the horse along with observations from me as your coach, you will get a clearer sense of how you “show up” in your relationships and in your life. Time that you spend with a horse during Equus Coaching becomes one of those truly rare, transformative, Aha, lightbulb moments in life.