Equine Facilitated Learning
Working with our startup clients in nature and in partnership with horses is truly unique. We continue to learn about ourselves when we spend time in nature and with horses.
We can explain why horses offer such powerful learning for humans but nothing is nearly as useful or meaningful as coming out to the barn to have your own experience with these master teachers.
As prey animals, horses are extremely sensitive to their surroundings. Particularly in the presence of predators, horses are alert. They discern and react to the surrounding energy constantly. The majority of human communication is nonverbal like horses but we have lost touch with this valuable mode of expression and connection. Horses reflect back to us what they perceive from us and provide the opportunity for us to learn how we build relationships, how we meet challenges and how we lead at work and in our lives.
Most of us can relate to living in our heads the majority of the time. We plan, problem solve and rush around multitasking. We may know that logic, analysis and reasoning are incapable of solving everything but we are not able to tune in to our multiple sources of intelligence beyond our thinking mind to what can be gleaned from our guts and our hearts. Being with horses, who are always present to what is called for in the moment, can help us access that awareness in ourselves. When we step into “horse time” we have the opportunity to reconnect with who we are and how we want to feel as we move through life.
Our equine facilitated programs are held at the Golden Gate Dairy Stables in Muir Beach, CA. A mere thirty minutes from San Francisco you are surrounded by natural beauty where you can temporarily let go of the digital world and rejuvenate. Our interactions with the horses take place on the ground, no riding involved. Anyone apprehensive about up-close and personal interaction with a horse will learn every bit as much by observing them. Hands-on engagement is always based on choice and readiness.
EFL Participant Comments“A key takeaway was listening to what resonated with each of us with the different horses, then observing my team members and how we all interacted with the horses differently.”
– Team member, San Francisco Startup
“The horse clearly mirrored my hesitancy to ask directly for what I need.”
– Marketing Director
“The horse’s physical movements toward me, like moving in closer just as I was getting closer to more emotion, were both touching and welcome. He was clearly aware of changes in my energy.”
– Organization Development Consultant
“I was aware that indecision was a tendency of mine but with the horse, I got to experience it in an embodied way. It helped me understand an area I’m working on.”
– Marketing Consultant
EFL CollaboratorsJessica Pinto is consistently inspired and humbled by the profound impact animals can have on our sense of self and our way of being in the world if we only allow them. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and Therapeutic Riding Instructor (TRI) and founder of Equinicity Marin.
Stephanie Holdenried is a nutritionist, an adventurer, and a nationally certified (CEIP) equine-facilitated educator. She brings a holistic viewpoint to all her consulting work by scratching beneath the surface for what is fueling clients from the both the inside and the outside. She is an avid horsewoman who graduated from Cal Poly.