Horses and humans are similar in that they are social animals. Horses will react to a person’s behavior in much the same way another person will, except more honestly. Horses live in the moment and respond to what is happening in the moment. A horse’s genuine reaction is crucial for accurate feedback to the client. Humans can often respond to others based on something that happened in the past or something that may happen in the future. The horse responds to what it taking place in the current moment. This allows the client to take responsibility for the relationship they are building with the horse. A horse will not give love and acceptance until the client learns to build a relationship that fosters love and acceptance, the same way they must do in healthy human relationships.
For an individual who has been traumatized, it can be very difficult to trust themselves and other people. Horses provide a foundation for healing to begin because clients can relate to and interact with horses in ways that often prove difficult for them when it comes to people. Through building a relationship with horses, clients gain insight into their own verbal and nonverbal behaviors, as well as behavioral and relational patterns. Horses will not demonstrate acceptance, trust and respect in a relationship until the client learns to build a relationship based on acceptance, mutual trust and respect. This allows the client to take responsibility for the kind of relationships they build with the horses and, ultimately, in their life.