7 reasons why horses love their coaching job

For several years we have been able to offer our live course "Equine Assisted Coaching & Training" together with Mareike Ahrend, an Austrian expert Equine Assisted Coach - with success. An important part of this are of course the horses, who are passionate about what they do. We asked Mareike why the animals enjoy being coaching partners so much and how this affects the Equine Assisted Life Coaching results.
"My horses love their job. I am quite sure of that. The hall where my coaching sessions take place is open on two sides. When I have seminars or coaching sessions, there is usually at least one horse already standing there and would like to join in, poking its head into the hall and knocking expectantly on the door with its hoof."

But why is that so? Why don't they prefer to stand in the herd with the hay?
Equine assisted coaching (EAC) is different from the usual work that most horses know from their everyday life with humans. And that is why:  

1. Horses
 in coaching: No obligation, just be.
The horses don't have to "work". If a horse stands and doesn't go any further, that's fine. EAC is not about learning how to get a horse from A to B, but about learning something new about yourself, reflecting on that and discovering new behavioural possibilities for yourself. 

2. EAC also means: being perceived
If the horse is standing and does not want to go any further, we look at what it needs to follow the human. This does not necessarily mean the right technique. Does it need security? Relationship? Clarity? What can I do as a human being to radiate this? If the human being changes something in their thinking and doing, the horse immediately reflects the new situation.
The horse is not blamed, but potentials in the human being are discovered by the horse that help him or her to move forward.

3. A varied job for horses
No matter what the horse's usual daily routine is like, EAC brings variety to the schedule. Being ridden is physically demanding, working as a therapy horse often requires some discipline. Standing on the paddock as a pensioner is great, but perhaps also sometimes monotonous. That's where coaching is a real change for the horse's head and feelings.

4. The horse does not have to "perform"
Horses perform a lot in equine assisted coaching, but not in the classical sense as many know it. They are not supposed to recall and present what they have learned, as is so often the case.
Some horses are quite unsettled at first when nothing is asked of them. I recently coached a horse that at some point just marched off at the Spanish step because it wasn't quite clear to it why it should just be there in the arena (i.e. at its workplace) and mirror the human. However, this can be just as exciting for the animal as it is for the human being - and without any pressure to perform. 

5. Relationship instead of parenting in coaching with horses
One day, Jack, a great show horse, found his way to us. He seemed different from my other horses. He was smart, but somehow like a horse from "Barbie", as if he had put on a mask.
When he got clear instructions on what he had to do, he became a little calmer. But when he "just" went along with short interventions and afterwards stood next to the client, he became insecure and even held his breath.
After a few weeks he understood that he just needed to "be" and that his reactions to the person were important. This form of relationship building was new and it took time for him to learn to love it. Since then, he too regularly stands at the hall and wants to "play along".  
"A noble horse is not appreciated for its strength, but its character." - Confucius
6. Getting to know people differently thanks to EAC
Through the equine assisted coaching, Jack was able to get to know people in a new way. It is now how Jack feels in the situation that counts. What he shows is closely observed. The human demands little from him, but pays attention to his expression, his state of mind, his reactions. This mutual appreciation is new for the horses and works like a balm for the soul.

7. Feeling important - the horse as a coaching partner
Horses are given a real task. Even when we work freely, i.e. without a rope, and the horse could actually stand uninvolved in a corner, they are always interested in the human being.
And sometimes when tears flow, they come especially close and support.

I actually always have the feeling that the horses understand what wonderful emotions and insights are allowed to arise thanks to them. So what sounds like beautiful experiences for us humans is logically also a gift for the animals - in the form of a job they are only too happy to do.

Would you like to become a colleague of these great four-legged companions? Are horses your passion - or could they become one? Then take a look at our 100% online Equine Assisted Coaching course to become an Equine Assisted Coach and Trainer today. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at any time 😊