Humans and equines have a partnership that goes back millennia. From Stone Age cave paintings to Roman chariot racing and world travel, our stories are deeply intertwined.
As it has all along, connecting with horses and donkeys demands attention, self-awareness, trust, empathy, confidence, and a willingness to listen to the feedback they provide.
These powerful prey animals have evolved to notice and respond to even the slightest changes in their environment. A racing breath or change in posture within the herd could mean the difference between life and death in the wild. That heightened sensitivity applies equally to the people that equines encounter.
Horses and donkeys live in the present moment, responding to new conditions with honesty and non-judgment; how they feel corresponds to their behavior. Getting to know our equine partners and learning how they move and communicate can teach us valuable lessons about ourselves and our relationship to the world around us.
Whether it’s in the ring, on the trails, or in the paddocks, our horses are encouraged to be themselves. Living in herds year-round, for example, allows them to interact on their own terms, and brings out their unique personalities. Just as they intuit our own feelings and motivations, in time we can intuit theirs.
In short, equines hold a mirror to our own tendencies and nudge us in the direction of personal growth. The increased self-awareness, confidence, coordination and other benefits that arise from spending time with equines can help us face the challenges of life with greater confidence and grace.