Michael Hall, Eric Larson, Andrew Campbell
Crossroads Alternative High School
This project brings students and horses together in a therapy setting. Interacting with horses provides students the opportunity to practice a fresh, genuine approach to conquering obstacles and celebrating success. Honest and immediate feedback from the horses makes them perfect teaching partners. Successful interaction with horses requires being present in the moment, communicating clearly and consistently, and having thoughts, emotions and actions that are congruent. Simply simulating participation and mood does not work with horses. Unlike humans, horses respond to what is actually happening when interacting with humans and to actual communications rather than to insincere messages. Horses are often alert to intentions before students realize them and can detect underlying anger, fear, or frustration. Horse therapy programs provide a safe and confidential environment where students’ comfort is respected while they discover and learn through horses. Students explore personal choices and private truths.
This project utilizes the emphatic nature of horses in an unconventional way to promote team building, clear communication, leadership, and personal insight.