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For those of us who work with horses it is easy to see that horses are good for the soul. They make us feel good. They turn us into better people. There is comfort in the smell of fresh air with a hint of horse sweat. They are our freedom.

But why is this the case? And how does one explain the miraculous healing power of the horse to someone who has not experienced it first hand? So I’ll give it a shot, I’ll try to put magic into mere words.

Horses are ten times our size, with the ability to cause us great harm if they so choose. So, stepping into their space can be very intimidating. For many people interacting with horses for the first time, the horse can become a metaphor for all the BIG, scary challenges we face in life. Facing that fear, through building a bond with a horse, helps a person to become strong and confident enough to tackle life’s challenges. That is step one – feeling big enough to look life straight in the eyes and say: “yes, bring it!”.

Step two – horses force you to be yourself. No masks. No pretending. Just be real.

Horses reflect back at you what is going on inside. Whether you know about it or not, you cannot hide it from them. In order to communicate and relate to a horse you have to remove all the stuff you put on to protect yourself from the world. They only accept the person you are on the inside, which brings me to step three. Horses give us unconditional, non-judgmental love.

They don’t care what language you speak, where you grew up, what your job title is or how many times you got kicked out of school. Through their unconditional love we learn to love ourselves and accept who we are. A very important phase in the magic healing process – Self-acceptance.

The next thing horses teach us is to become aware of body language and posture. They react to the way you move and what your attitude is saying. So over time spent working with them, you cannot help but become acutely aware body language. It is not only your own body language you start paying attention to, but everyone around you. You start to constantly read between the lines, extract the true meaning behind what people are saying. It’s like you suddenly become fluent in another language. You learn to watch the little things that give the truth away, trust your instincts and go with your gut, the truth is always in what feels right.

My last little piece of magic:

Growth is limited by your comfort zone. If we never step out of our comfort zone, never push our boundaries – we will never grow. For a non-horsey person – going out to meet a horse, and sharing space with an animal ten times their size is a HUGE step out of the comfort zone, and therefore an exceptional catalyst for growth.

At the haven we cherish every single special moment of connection we are able to facilitate. We have watched kids grow so much through their experiences with horses. We have been witnesses to incredible moments of healing (of volunteers and program participants) – and we are so grateful to be in a position where we can be a part of this process.

Come down and join us for special moments and hard work. Sign up for our volunteer programme, join the family. We hope to see you soon!