Trusting Our Horses Part I: They Know Wh ...

Trusting Our Horses Part I: They Know What They Need and They Know What We Need…

Jun 05, 2022

Key Themes: Equine Choice, Consent and Freedom of Movement

Trusting the intuitive nature of horses is a fundamental component in Equine Facilitated practice, and indeed any aspect of caring for and working with horses and other animals.

When we do so we open up a wide range of potential healing outcomes in our sessions far beyond what we might anticipate or even hope for. Trusting the horses to bring forth their finely honed and sensitive responses to both their own needs and those of people is therefore key.

Here’s one example and although not taken from an equine facilitated session but rather the general care of my horses, it illustrates this component nicely as to why it’s so key for us to trust the horses’ intuition and sensing of what needs to take place.

I arrived one day at the field with an equine physiotherapist for a session with North, or so we had planned, as he’d been having regular sessions to help his body readjust and heal after a decade on the racetrack. However, on approaching the herd North turned and walked off up the hill, clearly indicating: “no thank you, I’m fine”. Instead, one of my mares, LP, marched down from furthest away at the top of the bank, she circled the two of as we stood waiting to see what was going to happen, then promptly stood side-ways on to the physio, indicating that one side of her ribs needed attention. We both laughed and the physio set to work with LP who was very grateful for what was clearly a much needed body treatment, and leaving North happily to himself.

It’s so often the case that we have a plan and we “think” we know what our horses, or indeed any of our animals need, and yet, we can never really know of course. And sometimes, what we think they need is actually what WE ourselves need.

Instead, what we can do is remain open to the input, suggestions and unmistakably clear suggestions that horses constantly try to indicate to us through their body language, movements, suggestions and responses. The normal approach to such a body-work treatment would be to catch the horse and either hold them, tie them up or stable them, but this experience shows unequivocally just how important and beautiful it is to let the horses decide for themselves what they need and when. When the horse's choice is enabled then they will tell us exactly what they do/don't need.

Trusting THIS above all else, in my view, is the benchmark of both caring for and working alongside these wonderful beings…

©Angela Dunning, The Horse’s Truth,

Image by Jozef Klopacka, Shutterstock.

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