PUBLISHED: 10 January 2018
Thousands of years of nonverbal communication between horses in herd environments have made them masters at reading and communicating body language and intention.
Even the subtlest shift in energy or emotion from one horse can be sensed and interpreted by another and as human beings, we sometimes lack this kind of mental and emotional congruency.
Skerrett Equine offers an alternative type of therapy that uses horses to identify and work through deeper underlying issues.
Ben and Linda Skerrett are the operators of Skerrett Equine located on the Sunshine Coast and have seen some amazing transformations.
Ben grew up around horses and has always had a love for them, inspiring him to learn more and to involve them in helping other people.
When Ben began teaching riders using his methods of natural horsemanship he made an interesting discovery.
“I really started to notice that it’s not about the horse, it’s about the person and the horse will mirror the person” he said.
“I realised that I was trying to train the horse so it can put up with people.”
Travelling to America to study, Ben gained qualifications through the Eponoquest model of equine facilitated personal development.
Ben understands that conventional therapies aren’t for everyone.
“What makes horses so good at helping people is their exceptional ability to pick up on subtle energies and reflect them back to us; they respond with incredible accuracy to how we really are in the present moment” Ben said.
This type of therapy can be very beneficial for a variety of different conditions including PTSD, anxiety, and depression.
Ben says when we are authentic and allow ourselves to be emotionally vulnerable, horses always respond in a supportive, nurturing and healing way.
“Horses are masters of non-verbal communication and subtle cues, spending their whole life communicating with their bodies, so they have a very strong intuitive sense” Ben said.
“They honour us when we are true to ourselves and they can sense it when we are not being honest about how we feel. They don’t buy into the masks, they see through that and they see us for who we are and that is what is so powerful about them”
The approach is not about trying to ‘fix’ or ‘solve’ your perceived problems, rather, the horse and the facilitator are gently holding a safe space for you to explore more aspects of yourself.
Over the years Ben and Linda have seen a number of inspiring transformations, including a Vietnam veteran who suffered from PTSD and found challenges in working with his wife’s horse.
“He really struggled to manage his energy and his emotions in his life. He would go in with the horse and if he was fearful and if he was defensive and reactive then the horse would mirror that back to him” Ben said.
“At first he really struggled with it but after a while — when we started to talk I explained that it’s not about what the horse does, it’s about your energy that you bring into it’. He realised that he was able to connect with the horse and he made a massive change.”
Another of Ben’s favourite transformations was a lady who was struggling with self-love.
“She went into the round pen and the horse didn’t want to have anything to do with her. The more she wanted the horse’s attention the more it did the opposite of what she wanted it to do.
“This went on for about ten minutes, and when she came out of the round pen she was in tears because she came to the realisation that the horse was reflecting her search for love outside of herself.
“She wanted other people to love her for who she was, instead of starting with loving herself and then having other people reflect that.
“That was really powerful for her because she’d always been trying to get other people to acknowledge her and to give her attention and that self-love.”
Ben said the result of the sessions is the participants directly embody these new insights and experiences, allowing them to trust in a new way of being.
Do you think Skerrett Equine might be for you? If so contact www.skerrettequine.com for more details
Horse Therapy may help with many disorders and conditions such as:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Physical disabilities
- Anxiety and depression
- Domestic violence and sexual abuse perpetrators and victims
- Prisoner rehabilitation programs
- Eating disorders
- Developmental learning disorders