Ignite The Flame: Equine-Assisted Learning Can Save A Failing Marriage

Couple kiss beside three horses standing in line next to each other

Do you feel that your marriage has lost its spark? Are you arguing more often with your spouse? Are you finding it difficult to communicate with each other? Have you tried everything from self-help books to counseling, but nothing seems to be working? Help from a horse may be exactly what you need to ignite the forgotten flame back into your relationship!

Horses lending a helping hoof through Equine-Assisted Learning (EAL)

There are different ways out there for couples to save their marriage, and one way to do that is to use a horse. That’s correct, a horse! Equine-Assisted Learning helps us to figure out aspects of our lives that we may need to improve on, while working with a horse. Individuals will participate in exercises that are designed to help them learn valuable life skills, such as effective communication. Horses communicate non-verbally. This forces humans to think and find the answers versus talk therapy, or someone essentially telling them what to do. This is what makes Equine-Assisted Learning so powerful!

Problem Solving with EAL

Actively working to find solutions to problems is important for sustaining a healthy marriage. If the problem is not properly addressed, then it will just continue to build. The problem could get out of control and become even worse than ever before. Stepping into the arena with horses in an Equine Assisted Learning setting helps people become better problem solvers. Married couples who are experiencing issues benefit from Equine-Assisted Learning because they can learn skills that are needed to repair what is broken in the relationship. The skills couples will learn include better communication and the confidence that they need to try new things in their relationship. Using these skills will help them better their relationship.

Establishing Peace in a Marriage

Interacting with horses has shown to relieve stress and provide support for individuals who are struggling emotionally. The connection between human and horse results in a more relaxed state of mind which can help us approach tough situations from a calmer perspective. According to Franklin Levinson, accepting that horses are innocent creatures will help those who work with them reach this calmer, more focused frame of mind. This will then allow participants to release any frustration, anger or resentment that they may have toward their equine companion. Couples who may be disagreeing a lot could become more even-tempered and patient with each other. Through Equine-Assisted Learning, which is an experiential process, a vulnerability or openness is eventually created with the horse as well. This newly discovered vulnerability can teach couples to be more open and willing to set boundaries with each other.


Horses are like mirrors that reflect human behavior patterns. In other words, they help us to recognize our own behavior whether it be positive or negative. They also show us how this behavior may be directly affecting others in our lives. In a marriage, we may do things that hurt our partner. However, we might not realize that we are doing this. Working with horses in an Equine-Assisted Learning setting can be extremely eye-opening for couples who are experiencing issues in their marriage. This is because horses guide us in acknowledging what we are doing that can be causing problems in our relationship.

Man kissing horse on face



In some instances, a horse may be blamed for being disobedient. This attempt to place wrongful blame is a way for people to disguise their own shortcomings, or in this case, not acknowledge what is causing their marriages to fail. However, these excuses won’t fool a horse! As previously mentioned, they are like mirrors that reflect human behavior. A horse will be able to sense that we are not being true to ourselves which may cause them to react with fear or any other behavior that may come across as bad. In an EAL setting, participants will learn how to avoid this by understanding the importance of establishing trust and respect with the horse. Levinson discusses a wonderful equine-assisted exercise that helps to establish this healthy partnership between horse and human. Couples who participate in activities of this nature will begin to trust and respect each other once again.

Teaching couples to Focus Forward

Gina Yarrish, CEO of Yarcort, is an Accelerator coach who facilitates Equine-Assisted Learning. Through a naturally guided practice on the ground, activities with horses and objective sessions will allow couples to see where their shortfalls are and discover new paths. Gina works with individuals by coaching them to look within themselves or in this case, look within their marriage. She can help couples who are struggling by asking them important questions to get them to realize on their own how their behavior may be hindering positive growth in their relationship. Through her Focus Forward technique™, Gina gets people to a point where they are able to move past stuck boundaries. In a failing marriage, she can help them move beyond the boundaries in their relationship that are keeping them from growing as partners.


Author: Victoria Komar

Editor: Judy Conti

Graphics: Apple Perez