Ed Dabney Gentle and Narural Horsemanship, Equine assisted psychotherapy is an emerging field in the horse world. Important role animals have in halping humans to be happy and healthy.
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Who needs the traditional office party where the food is cold, the wine is cheap, the receptionist gets tipsy and the boss goes broke? NOT US! Sam Maguire decided this year we were branching out... and going Equine for Christmas.

So on a cold December morning during the week of Christmas he brought his staff out to the Chastain Horse Park to work with the Equine Facilitated Learning group and Ed Dabney Gentle Horseman.

One of the exercises particularly stood out for its practical implications in the workplace. The teams were asked to get one of the horses to jump over a bar without touching or bribing the horse. The teams had some difficulty with this task because there would inevitably be a person on the other side of the bar trying to coax the horse across when in fact they were actually blocking the horse's path. The conclusion of this exercise was obvious and inescapable: often when we think we are doing everything we can to achieve a goal we are actually blocking our own progress. This exercise was a subtle but powerful illustration to everyone of how we can get in the way of achieving our own goals.
These were just a few of the superlatives that we expressed following our experience:






None of these words can truly capture the excitement and pleasure that we experienced with your Equine Facilitators and the gentle horses, Bud, Sunny and Penny.
All kidding aside, the facilitators, Ed, Leslie and Donna were consummate professionals who were engaging, thought-provoking and right on target in their descriptions of the various personalities of our staff.

There was something wonderfully intangible about working with those gentle and noble beasts that was exhilarating and purifying for the soul.

Special thanks to the horses, Bud, Sunny and Penny!

The exercises we went through were very challenging and effectively demonstrated the limits of working alone and the importance of working as a team.

We laughed and had fun and we all came back better for the experience, both as individuals and as employees.

Equine Facilitated Learning and Ed Dabney not only provided us with a unique learning experience in a tranquil and beautiful setting, but their mission is to raise funds for the Chastain Horse Park's hippo therapy program for children with special needs. That made this a WIN-WIN-WIN for everyone.


Equine Facilitated Learning

What is Equine Facilitated Learning?

The relationship between man and animals goes back centuries, but it wasn’t until recently that research has begun to document the important role of animals in keeping humans healthy and happy.

The special bond that people feel with horses has led to a program that has made its way into the treatment field. Equine Facilitated Learning is an emerging field in which horses are used specifically as a tool for emotional growth and learning.

Why horses? Horses are honest teachers with personalities (horseanalities) as varied as those of humans, therefore they react differently to each person and each action.

Horses have much to teach us about patterns of communication, behavior and relationships. Through exercises with horses individuals gain immediate feedback from the horse as it mirrors human behavior.

Horses present unconditional acceptance and experience a variety of emotions. Horses are sensitive to nonverbal stimulus and therefore provide valuable and visible lessons in nonverbal communication and body language.

As social beings, horses are able to deliver insight into group roles and dynamics. Using horses in group activities is especially powerful in teaching teamwork, problem-solving, leadership, communication, assertiveness, creative thinking, relationship building, character and confidence.

Applications in which Equine Facilitated Learning has proven very successful have been in the fields of mental health therapy, family therapy and corporate team-building.

Ed Dabney is a certified facilitator of Equine Facilitated Learning. He would be happy to provide the horses, facility and arrange exercises to assist individual therapists and their patients or any corporate group.  Please contact Ed for more details.