Why set up the Equine Facilitator?
The back story

It was late at night in 2010, I had been picked up at the airport after a work trip and got chatting with the taxi driver. When he was not driving a taxi, he spent part of his year in India, running a programme for 18-24-year olds called ‘finding your genius’. The first question he often asked of those young people was: “What is it you do now that you could do until the day you die?” my immediate response was “I’m not sure, but it has got to have something to do with horses.” 

Within a couple of days, I was standing in an arena with colleagues and a couple of horses having a taster experience of equine assisted learning. I can still remember standing there in boots and jeans with the sun on my skin, totally at home, thinking “this is it; this is what I could do until the day I die.”

I had already been a leadership developer and occupational psychologist for 12 years by then and knew my way around lots of different approaches to facilitation, yet I still felt that I was not skilled enough to do this work well. What I quickly realised was that many of the approaches to developing the skills to work with horses in this way did one of two things: They either paired a horse expert with a therapist or coach or they assumed that facilitation skills had been learnt elsewhere and focused more on the activities.

The research

After exploring incorporating the work into leadership development programmes and having an experience with someone whose espoused approach didn't match their practice, I realised I did have some clear ideas about how this kind of learning needed to be facilitated. However, I did not just want to be another voice that was making claims as to how EALD should be done well. I wanted to have some rigour behind any assertions I made, but also wanted to explore what other ways EALD was practiced. This is what lead to the suggestion of ‘well if you are going to do some research you may as well get a PhD out of it’.  That was in 2013.  


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Why set up the Equine Facilitator?
Sue Binks 7 December, 2021
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