I believe horses have the potential to save humanity from itself.
I couldn’t be more serious when I say this. Here’s why:
I believe the greatest challenge facing humanity today is that we have become disassociated from our own natural instincts and the world around us. We have forgotten how to develop empathy and self control, how to behave authentically, how to trust, how to set effective boundaries, how to listen, how to respect one another and ourselves, how to be vulnerable without feeling defensive, how to stay present in the moment even during extreme situations, how to be strong without being aggressive, how to communicate effectively, how to be compassionate and accepting while still holding ourselves and others accountable, how to collaborate and share strengths, how to embody our intentions, how to accept/embrace change without fear and how to develop charisma, bravery, poise, focus, endurance and conviction.
Horses are masters at all of these things and can teach us – both through their example while living in herds and through their responses to our own behaviors and energy when we interact with them – how to reconnect with these essential survival and leadership characteristics. Results being achieved in a wide variety of settings across the country (and globe) through the emerging field of equine-assisted learning/therapy provide striking evidence that interacting thoughtfully, and especially the practice of building trusting relationships with horses on their terms, can dramatically increase the emotional intelligence and mental/physical well-being of humans as well as our ability to develop more effective relationships with one another.
According to a 2005 study (the most recent I could find), the population of horses in the U.S. was approximately 9.2 million with an average of 2.7 horses per square mile and approximately 32 people per horse. In other words, with just a little strategic effort, most people who live in the United States could have access to a horse for at least some portion of their life.
In 2011 there were 58.5 million horses worldwide as compared to 7 billion people. In other words, about 120 people per horse. Again, a workable number in terms of bringing such an effort to scale worldwide, especially given the advantages offered through technology and online learning.
My initial goal (and one I’ve been working toward for a couple of years now) was to start a small business focused on equine-assisted learning so I could expose more people (personally) to the power of this approach, but the truth is I feel called to do much more than just offer this transformative experience to a limited number of clients. And that’s because I truly believe horses can help us heal ourselves (as a society) on a much larger scale.
So, what I really want to do is to help start a movement. And I’d like to call on the help of what I will refer to as the other members of the “Lucky 2%” of Americans: the estimated percent who actually own or lease horses and have access to them on a regular basis. We are the ones who already know, first hand, the trans-formative influence horses have had (and continue to have) on our lives. And we feel strongly enough about their importance in our lives to have made a significant investment of money, time and resources to ensure that the connection we have with them is not just a fleeting one. Regardless of whether our horses are “yard ornaments”, “pets” or “supreme athletes” competing at the highest levels… we all share one universal truth: we are better people at some level because of our horses.
Through this blog I have been (and will continue) sharing reflections on my own experiences of profound learning, personal growth and enlightenment through interactions with my horses as well as lessons learned from my personal experience facilitating equine-assisted learning sessions – both formally and informally – with other people. This is just one way I hope to help expand awareness among the “Lucky 2%” of the gifts we have the ability to share with others through our relationships with our horses, and how we can help demonstrate (and talk about) the profound importance of horses in our world today – which goes far beyond their ability to carry us on their backs for pleasure or competition.
If you are interested in being a part of this movement in any way, including simply reading my posts and sharing them with other horse owners who might be interested in joining the effort or by contributing your own stories and insights, let me know by liking this post and/or reaching out to me via my website or my Facebook group. Your responses will give me an indication of whether or not this concept resonates with others.