Sunday, August 18, 2019

Why The Horse Understands What Most People Do Not

Yesterday Ashley Edwards came down from Richmond to do a session on the use of horses to teach both effective communication and to assist in dealing with severe trauma and PTSD. (Any reader who is unfamiliar with Ashley's work please stop reading and go to our website and hit the tab entitled "News" You will see a few TV clips and newspaper articles about her)

The body language used by herd prey animals is precisely the same as that unknowingly used by people who have been severely traumatized. The horse is instinctively repelled by the body language of predators. Humans who have not experienced severe trauma instinctively use the body language of predators.

As significant as understanding that vital lesson in communication is, another lesson is even more important.

Predators seek autonomy. Prey animals seek security.

Our culture teaches us that the solution to problems is to increase one's autonomy--to achieve--to obtain the things that give us more control over our lives. That instinctive drive for autonomy provides a wonderful spur on to happiness for most people.

But autonomy cannot bring satisfaction to a severely traumatized person until that person first finds security. This is the gift that natural horsemanship can bring to those whose daily existence is shaped by depression, anxiety, self loathing, and fear.

One can find security for oneself by learning to provide security to a horse. When one finds that security one can then move on to enjoy the fruits of autonomy.

For nearly seven years we have been using these principles in weekly sessions with PTSD patients at the local Veteran's Hospital.

 This is real.

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