Frequently Asked Questions

What should I wear or bring when participating in activities at Stable-Spirit?

Please wear old clothes and closed toe shoes (eg. jeans, T-shirt, and tennis shoes or boots). We strongly suggest wearing long pants year round and dressing in layers during cooler weather. We also strongly suggest you bring a hat or visor, sunscreen, and a water bottle.

What are EED and EAP?

Equine Experiential Development (EED) and Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) are emerging fields in which horses are used as tools for growth, learning and development. Both EED and EAP involve setting up activities involving the horses which will require the client or group to apply certain skills. Because of the intensity and effectiveness of the activities, they are considered short-term, or "brief" approaches.

EED and EAP are experiential in nature. This means that participants learn about themselves and others by participating in the activities and then processing (or discussing) feelings, behaviors, and patterns. This approach has been compared to the ropes courses used by therapists, treatment facilities, and human development courses around the world, but has the added advantage of utilizing horses, dynamic and powerful living beings that respond to our intentions.

EED and EAP are not about horsemanship or riding. In fact, 100% of activities take place purely on the ground.

What is the difference between EED (blue) and EAP (green)?

The difference is that EED is educational while EAP is therapeutic. EED focuses on teaching human development skills. EAP focuses on mental health issues and follows a treatment plan based on the client's diagnosis. In EED, clients learn skills that others find effective. In EAP, clients learn to develop skills that are effective for them. EED is a collaborative effort between an equine specialist and success coach. EAP is a collaborative effort between an equine specialist and licensed therapist. EAP is certified by the Equine Growth and Learning Association. EED is not.

Why horses?

Those who are familiar with horses recognize and understand the power of horses to influence people in incredibly powerful ways. Developing relationships, training, horsemanship instruction, and caring for the horses naturally affects the people involved in a positive manner.

The benefits of work ethic, responsibility, assertivness, communication, and healthy relationships has long been recognized. Horses naturally provide these benefits. The use of horses is growing and gaining popularity with the rise of new approaches in working with the horses.

Horses are large and powerful, which creates a natural opportunity for some to overcome fear and develop confidence. The size and power of the horse are naturally intimidating to many people. Accomplishing a task involving the horse, in spite of those fears, creates confidence and provides for wonderful metaphors when dealing with other intimidating and challenging situations in life.

Horses are very much like humans in that they are social animals. They have defined roles within their herds. They would rather be with their peers. They have distinct personalities, attitudes, and moods. An approach that seems to work with one horse, does not necessarily work with another. At times, they seem stubborn and defiant. They like to have fun. In other words, horses provide vast opportunities for metaphorical learning. Using metaphors, in discussion or activity, is an effective technique when working with even the most challenging individuals or groups.

Horses require work, whether in caring for them or working with them. In an era when immediate gratification and the "easy way" are the norm, horses require people to be engaged in physical and mental work to be successful, a valuable characteristic in all aspects of life.

Most importantly, horses are prey animals who have evolved all of their senses to read the intentions of others for their survival giving them the innate ability to mirror exactly what human body language is telling them. Many people will complain, "The horse is stubborn. The horse doesn't like me," etc. But the lesson to be learned is that if they change themselves, the horses respond differently. It's the message, not the messenger. Since horses are honest and nonjudgmental, they make especially powerful messengers.