The Act Of Doing: Experiential Learning With Horses

People surrounding horse with balls

“Knowledge results from the combination of grasping experience and transforming it” -D.A. Kolb

Learning by way of experience is an idea that has existed for many years. Ancient philosopher, Confucius, believed that there are three methods for wisdom: reflection, imitation and experience. Founding father of the United States, Benjamin Franklin, once spoke the words: “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I will learn.” Theoretical physicist, Albert Einstein, trusted that experience is the only source for knowledge. These historical figures are just a few among many others who understood the importance of experiential learning.

What is Experiential Learning?

Experiential learning is so much more than just learning through experience. The Association for Experiential Education states that it is not only a philosophy, but a methodology as well. Educators will involve students in an experience that is direct, and focused on reflection. This interaction increases knowledge, develops skills and clarifies values. In simpler terms, experiential learning is a plan that gets students to take action or to literally, learn by doing.

Woman with hands on her chest looking at horse with three women standing in the background

Many traditional learning environments are highly structured. This can cause a lack of motivation and involvement, as well as competition between learners. Experiential learning environments, on the other hand, encourage cooperation. They also create opportunities to become educated by others.


Equine-Assisted Learning: Groundbreaking Experiential Approach

One major Experiential Learning approach is known as Equine-Assisted Learning (EAL). Clients will participate in interactive activities which are helpful for developing life skills that can be both personal and professional. These critical life skills include communication, trust, honesty, and respect, which are all achieved by working with horses. Equine-Assisted Learning environments encourage a great relationship between human and horse. It is an experience that is planned to meet the goals or desires of each participant.

“How we do one thing is how we do everything.” – The Yarcort Philosophy

Experiential learning requires individuals to take initiative. It enables them to make choices, while holding themselves accountable for outcomes. This is exactly what takes place in an Equine-Assisted Learning setting. Horses use non-verbal communication. They are also very intuitive when it comes to the behavior of human beings. Working with them allows people to acknowledge the impact of communication that is non-verbal and how it can affect others. It is an experience that provides clients with a heightened sense of self-awareness, which is crucial for showing patterns of behavior. This unique interaction, working with an animal that is both large and powerful, gives participants the chance to gain confidence that can help them beyond the arena.

Want to learn more? Visit Yarcort on Facebook to find out how you can participate in an innovative experience that will change your life!

Author: Judy Conti

Editor: Crystal Lynn

Graphics: Apple Perez