Why Horses Heal

Chapter 2
The Nature of Horses—The Nature of Humans

Of all the unique evolutionary traits that have allowed the horse to develop, evolve, and survive for eons, two of them fortuitously turn out to be distinctive qualities that enable horses to assuage the suffering of humans in acute psychological pain. These two unique abilities give rise to the power of horses to heal our emotional wounds. The first is hypervigilance, empowered by superhuman senses. The second involves herd dynamics, established and practiced with the greatest principles of love.

This evolutionary survival ability to read with flawless accuracy not just the behavior of others but their silent intentions is what gives the horse the psychological mirroring expertise of the most gifted human therapist. Psychologists define “mirroring” as the phenomenon that enables a person to see himself represented by his behavior as a reflection, or mirror image, in the eyes and/or behavior of another person with whom he is interacting.

As convincing as we may act to hide our true feelings, they always show up in our bodies, and a horse will instantly and without fail perceive all of them. For example, if a person says they’re happy to see you but they have their arms crossed across their chest, their body language is saying the opposite, or at least something very different. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Who you are speaks so loudly I cannot hear what you say.” His words could have easily been written by a horse.