What Is EFL?

~ ~ ~

What Is EFL?

The therapeutic benefits of horses have long been recognised with organisations such as the Riding for the Disabled Association offering riding and carriage driving since 1969. EFL does not involve any riding and all work is done from the ground as trust and partnership is developed between the horse and client. This means that no previous experience of horses is needed and makes this suitable for almost anyone, even those who may be nervous of horses. Research has found that simply being around horses lowers blood pressure and heart rate, helping to alleviate symptoms of stress and anxiety.

As prey animals’ horses are very sensitive to their surroundings and react immediately to any changes that they detect. This makes them well-suited to this type of work as they provide immediate and honest feedback in a non-judgemental way. Horses have a similar limbic system, (the part of the brain that controls our emotional and behavioural responses) to that of humans, enabling them to act as a mirror to our feelings and behaviour. This is a key element of the EFL process, allowing these responses to be observed, evaluated and if necessary, changes implemented. This in turn enables both personal and professional growth in individuals and groups.

Horses bring something unique to the learning environment. A horse does not care what you look like or what you have done in the past, they take you simply as “they find you” and react accordingly. Communication takes place almost exclusively on a non-verbal level between horses and to be able to ‘tap into’ this and communicate effectively with them creates a whole new level of confidence and achievement in an individual.

Overall, EFL has numerous benefits, but key elements include:

  • Trust
  • Communication
  • Decision-making
  • Problem solving
  • Leadership
  • Team development
  • Respect
  • Improved confidence
  • Enhanced well-being

“It was lovely to watch their confidence grow during the session and loved the smiles on everyone’s faces.” Sharon