WHERE ARE YOU?

Where are you?
How many Attachment systems do we have? Bowlby's Attachment theory outlines one Attachment system, with variations on how we attach dependent on how well the relationship between the mother (primary caretaker) and infant functions and develops. Then I started to read Trevarthen and his work with infants and mothers (primary caretakers) – and how he...
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MINDFULNESS WITH HORSES… WHAT IS THAT?

mindfulness with horses
Being mindful is being open to any experience, any moment – staying in them, but not disappearing into them. You pause and: You look at you You listen to you You notice your feelings You notice your breath You notice your thoughts You notice your body You give yourself that safe space of holding yourself and whatever goes on with you without judgin...
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Horse, horse, horse, horse… he is a horse – and nothing else – but that is very much enough!

a horse is a horse
The woman, who had been feeling depressed for a long time, and felt she could not climb out of her own rabbit hole, and not really describe to her therapist what was "wrong" with her, had been offered to come and have equine-assisted therapy. She did not really know what that was, so she googled it. She found a lot of web pages describing facilitie...
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Cohesion, Synchrony, Swarm Intelligence, and Hierarchy – Group-Structure and Dynamics in Horse Bands

cohesion and synchrony
Social animals live in groups, that include horses, as well as dogs and humans. So what do these group structures look like? How are they organized? What principles do they follow? Humans have for a long time wanted to see and prove hierarchy structures in other species, besides our own, but are hierarchies really there, in the way many of us think...
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The other (species) – as a reference point in therapeutic work and personal growth

seeing the other
The beginning of an exploration… Why do we work with animals in therapy and learning programs? Having been involved in equine assisted therapy and learning for some years, as an equine professional, educator and mindfulness instructor – and as a client, this is what I think of it (right now…) To grow, to develop, to heal – we need "the other", that...
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Everything hard or stressful is not trauma…

stress and trauma
The difference between trauma and stress and the difference between trauma in humans and "trauma" in non-humans The picture below shows the window of tolerance (and window of learning). This is the window in you that needs to be open enough for you to learn something new. It demands the factors – openness and tolerance to new information (but poten...
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Learning as Welfare - Good EAP is Positive Equine Welfare

learning horses
Horses, as all other living beings, thrive when they learn. One of our basic mammalian emotional systems is the seeking system, which is strongly linked to our attraction to rewards. The seeking system is motivated by our attraction to novelty and elicit emotions such as anticipation, curiosity, and eagerness (and is balanced by the fear system) (P...
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Unicorn Assisted Therapy

IMG_1696
Or why we work with HORSES in EAP… * Trigger warning – to be read with personal and professional self-distance* Unicorn Unlimited is offering Unicorn Assisted Therapy (UAT) to everybody who wants to be healed. Come and meet our unicorns, and we promise you some magical and unforgettable moments. They will find what is broken in you and mend it. Thi...
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Can horses get traumatized?

IMG_0101
... or why I am not an EMHP (Equine Mental Health Practitioner) … Yes. They can. Is the short answer.  The next question would be, do they get traumatized in the same way as humans?  I am inclined to say no. Why? Because the horse mind is not the same as the human mind. Horses and humans share much of their CNS (Central Nervous System), a...
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Horses, emotions and feelings…

20190624-DSC_7502x
Or – can human feelings be dangerous to horses? In my experience horses have no problems when people are coming to them with strong emotions or feelings. That is, as long as the person is owning her own emotions or feelings and taking responsibility for them. (Note – to make it easier for me through the text, I refer to feelings as emotions yo...
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I am an EMHP – an Equine Mental Health Professional…

20190624-DSC_7867 Reciprocity - Mutual grooming
Or – how do we get to know the inner life of horses? How do we really get to know them? How do we know what they feel? Experience? When I work in teams in equine assisted activities and therapies – this is what I am. I am an EMHP – an Equine Mental Health Professional. It took me 7 years to figure that out… or at least I am testing it out… I "went"...
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What lies beyond training?

beyond training
In these times of thriving fitness industry and exercise hype, I find it interesting to look into how horses life and training regime is seen. Is it training that is in the center of attention or being a hrose? Is it exercise or is it movement ? Sometimes thinking about horses is easier through thinking about humans. Someti...
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Remembering Ourselves and Observations

observation
Both horses and humans respond to environmental changes, including changes in other individuals. Movement, new people, new sounds, new conditions can all affect how we and our horses behave. It is important, then, to recognize that our horses respond to changes in us, too. Horses are quiet herbivores who have evolved to be constantly observing thei...
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The Importance of Time

just being in the pasture
I'm in the middle of a research study that asks participants to go out into the herd and spend time with horses without agendas or pre-determined activities. I have restrictions on the kinds of interactions they are allowed to have, but give them permission to approach the horses and let the horses approach them. But if the horse leaves, they are n...
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I see you – the necessary skill/art of observing/noticing

observation
I have been interviewing and talking to horse nomads, horse herders in Mongolia, and I asked them, how did you learn about horses? How do you become a good horse professional? And with smaller variations, they always answer the same: You need to spend a lot of time with horses, be with them, watch them, get to know them, and let them get to know yo...
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Thoughts on rewilding and human-horse parallels

rewilding you
Here we are, at the doorsteps of winter, welcoming holiday season once again. Are we appreciating the seasonal cycles and changes that come along with it? Instead of performing the holidays, can we allow ourselves to literally rest and digest? Ethics and welfare of equines touch us. We care. We study. We try our best to accommodate our hairy counte...
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From the mind to the bodymind, finding embodiment with and without horses

Embodiment with horses
I step into the presence of horses and a felt sense of release and increased awareness travels through my body. It is almost as if I could feel the body and the mind reaching their fingertips towards each other and finally finding a way to hold their hands again. At that moment, I ask myself, where was I just a moment ago? Am I really hanging out h...
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Why horses don't heal anyone

horses-dont-heal
  Or why it isn't about healing at all... How do we "heal" from trauma? (that broadly speaking is anything that overwhelms you and you do not have "room" to contain, and therefor have to look at piece by piece until it is integrated in your life. It can be any hardships in life, broken relationships, deaths, sickness, injuries, accidents, war,...
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How to connect with a horse – the science side of it

How-to-connect-with-a-horse
How do you connect with a horse? Is it important that a horse always is in connection with the human he is interacting with? This seems like straightforward questions, right? But to answer them, we need to look closer at the horse-human interaction, but also at the concept of interaction between subjects (individuals). And we need to define what we...
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Giving the horse a sense of agency – positive equine welfare through Equine Assisted Therapies

Agency
  When we talk about horses in Equine Assisted Therapies, we are more often concerned with the negative impact meeting clients and dealing with their emotional hardship can have on them, than with the positive impact these meetings can have for their welfare and well-being. Before I continue. I'm an avid spokesperson for better equine welfare ...
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