Equine assisted is the five star of therapy, learning and coaching.
Why do I say this?
First, I am admittedly biased. I have been practicing with horses as a coach and therapist for 15 years of the 24 I have been in practice. I have seen many people transform as a result of the work with my horses, so I'm a believer. There's a song here...but I digress.
I remember when I first launched out with horses, I was excited because I saw the value and the power. I gained clients out of my own excitement more so than the marketing which at that time was pretty much non-existent. No website, social media and very few paper fliers handed out. I was just singing horses from the mountain top. I did a lot of floundering around in the beginning. People didn't understand how horses could help them and I didn't know how to verbalize how the horses could help them.
Fortunately, now there is some research available on the topic, books written about it and just good 'ol experience can help you better talk about and market equine assisted services.
Humans learn more effectively through experiential learning because they engage their whole body instead of sitting in a classroom listening to Charlie Brown's school teacher. Don't misread here, there is value in the classroom work, but adding horses, whether live or with the horse cards adds an element of punch to the topic.
When I am feeling stuck or stagnant in my business, I turn to "what can the horses offer to humans right now?" As you have probably already summized, the answer to that question is prolific. If you listen to what is going on in the world, the answer emerges. That answer has so profoundly changed for me over the years that somedays I have to chuckle at myself and shake my head. In spite of being a licensed mental health professional, I was hyper-focused on coaching in the beginning with horses. That was a long time ago or at least it feels that way now.
Today, I am focused on mental health as much, if not more than the coaching dynamics. The pandemic created a shortage of mental health professionals and the challenges are impacting the business sector in a big way. Already being trained as a coach has helped me bring the two worlds together, as I was a coach before finishing graduate school for counseling.
Technology and right brain thinking has brought therapy into home or office instead of having to travel to an office somewhere. It was fun figuring out how to bring horses along into the homes and offices of the clients that needed them.
Clients rave about the horses and help me shout it out from the mountain top. Marketing helps hands down.
If you are feeling caught in the liminal space of "what's next?" lately...ask yourself:
- What can the horses bring to humans right now?
- What are the people around me expressing as pain points?
- Where does my passion flow and how can I channel it to help others with horses?
- What am I willing to let go of in order to pursue the passion more freely?
I have found myself caught in the "liminal space" of change, not clear on what's next and buying into what my monkey mind was chattering at me. Heck, who am I kidding...I still do at times.
What I know and always come back to is that the horses kick a$$ when it comes to coaching, learning or therapy. My clients tell me so. I hear more feedback about the horses than I do about the video or office appointments. People can suddenly "see" where they are getting in their own way when working with horses. Horses are the five star, Ritz Carlton, of coaching, learning and therapy.
I can see the day when CEs are offered to coaches and mental health professionals for attending classes with horses....OH...wait...that has already happened, but that is a topic for another blog.
If you have been feeling a little stagnant or stuck lately - I invite you to join me for a free community class to look ahead at the next quarter or the next year, gain some clarity and excitement and just share with other like minded equine assisted practitioners. It happens November 29th, 6:30-8pm CT / 7:30-9pm ET.