The Art of Communicating with Horses – Equine Therapy at Canopy Cove

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The fascination with the art of communicating with horses has existed for many years, but, until more recently this phenomenon was somewhat ambiguous.  However, it gained momentum with the publication of a number of books that provided a framework to understand the ways of a horse.   A number of movies have also contributed to our understanding of horses and  their unique qualities.   As early as 1944, the romantically intriguing story  of  Black Beauty starring 11 year old Elizabeth Taylor, captured the attention of a world audience.   Other significant equine stories were portrayed in screen features included Seabiscuit, Secretariat, and more recently the remarkable War Horse.

One of the most moving contributions to the incredible display of equine spirit was  highlighted a number of years ago in the movie titled The Horse Whisper with Robert Redford portraying the concept of “joining up” that was created by Monty Roberts.  Many of you may have seen this box-office hit.   It has been said to have depicted the life and commitment of the equine love and passion of Monty Roberts.

Monty has a remarkable life story of that is shared in his books titled Horse Follow Closely and Shy Boy.   In these books he describes how the methods used by his father and others that “broke” horses saddened him.   Determined to make a difference for equine breed he became an advocate of ways to start horses under saddle that was more of a partnership without the forceful approach that had been the way of many who came before him.  Mr. Roberts has spent his life learning and understanding the language of the horse and has graciously provided this learning to those of us who join him in his quest.   Public training appearances, films and videos, as well as authoring books are some of the ways he serves the horse.

I have had the opportunity to spend time with Mr. Roberts in workshops on several occasions and continue to be amazed at his expertise.   I have watched as he took a horse that no one had been able  to ride and  within 30 minutes he  had him saddled and was on his back with full cooperation.   Also, I have seen him get a horse to load in a trailer when she had refused with her owner and trainer attempting and was so unruly that she had to be sedated.   In less than 20 minutes the mare was walking behind Monty as the two of them walked in and out of the horse trailer with no prodding or forcing.

We are fortunate to have numerous effective horse communicators in our midst today.  These men and women are willing to share their knowledge and skills with those of us who have a passion and interest in knowing more about the equine world.    Some of the contributors with whom I have had the opportunity to train with include Gawani Pony Boy, Pat and Linda Parelli, Clinton Anderson, Dennis Reis, and John Lyons.  This mentioning is certainly not complete but is offered as a partial resource for those of you who would like to follow through with learning more about this wonderful spiritually balancing animal.

It has been my personal pleasure and privilege to learn the language of Equis and to employ this understanding in our Equine Therapy at Canopy Cove.   After 25 years of being an equine therapist I continue to be amazed  each time I utilize this process and see the horse’s positive response and watch the facilitator’s (client’s) sense of empowerment and benefit. 

What a wonderful gift:  The Horse

~Lynda A. Brogdon, Ph.D., C.E.D.S., C.E.A.P.08