It was only recently we had a friend over for dinner who was asking about my work and what it entailed. When I told him some of our students at Running Deer work closely with horses and that being around them proved to be helping immensely with their mental health, he asked me if I had heard of Monty Roberts who was an American horse trainer, but I wasn’t familiar with him.
Horse Sense and Healing
I began to do some research and found it so fascinating. Roberts works mainly with veterans, police officers, fire fighters and first responders. He runs free resilience building workshops.
The three day programme involves working closely with horses and Monty’s globally acclaimed “join up” process. The more I read about his work the more I started to think about how we could implement some of this at Running Deer with our students. His work shops help the participants and horses to develop a bond built upon mutual trust and respect.
One reason why I found this process so interesting is because Monty encourages his participants to rediscover themselves through the eyes of the horse to deal with issues they may be facing such as emotional trauma, anti social behaviour and withdrawal, anger, stress, etc
The participants who have been involved in these work shops have said they now have a better understanding of how to control their anger, confront painful memories and even cope with real life situations and helping them to move on with their lives and relationships.
So even though he writes mainly about his results and success with veterans and police officers, I started to think why not with young children too? They could very much benefit from this kind of healing too.
Most of our students suffer with at least one of the issues above and struggle to find ways to deal with them.
So to sum it up the “join up” process is simply a form of non verbal communication between a horse and a human based on body language and gestures such as signing.
Many skills are shared during the lead up to this experience for example emotional control, focus exercises and breathing. I believe that learning why the horse is a unique animal to help with healing will allow the students to have a sense of peace and hope for the future.