The Unique Characteristics of the Horses for Humans Learning Purposes in Equine Assisted Learning Practice

The Unique Characteristics of the Horses for Humans Learning Purposes in Equine Assisted Learning Practice

Ilona Gehtmane-Hofmane (University of Latvia, Riga, Latvia)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 8
DOI: 10.4018/IJSEUS.2019070104

Abstract

This article aims to encourage scientific discussion about one of the aspects of equine-assisted learning practice, the unique characteristics of the horse owing to how it is used in intervention programmes for human learning purposes. Equine-assisted learning is an innovative learning approach where human learning and development takes place through guided interactions between humans and horses. Although scientific interest towards human-horse interactions is becoming increasingly popular, evidence-based research has examined the relationship between humans and horses, and how such bonds may contribute to human learning and development is limited and lacks empirical support. This report provides a review of theoretical and empirical literature regarding the unique characteristics of the horse to find answers to the following - why are horses involved in intervention programmes for human learning purposes. As the result of the research, five main characteristics of the horse were put forward for critical discussion.
Article Preview

Background

Equine assisted learning and all its models and programmes are based on empirical practice. With the development of this approach for human learning, more and more theoretical explanations are being formulated. However, there is no theory comprehensive enough to explain the impacts of Equine Assisted Learning on human learning and development. Equine assisted learning as a part of the field named Equine Assisted Intervention is developing alongside animal assisted therapy. Equine assisted interventions involves horses whereas animal assisted therapy involves pets like dogs and cats. Horses are prey animals, while dogs and cats are predators and as such have developed very different skills and behaviours compared to horses. Significant differences exist between them – different historical development and the unique characteristics of the horses owing to which it is used in intervention programmes for human learning purposes. Research done in the field of Animal Assisted Therapy cannot be applied to Equine Assisted Learning and Equine Assisted Interventions in general, because they have different intervention goals, benefits and outcomes that cannot be compared with Animal Assisted Therapy. (Gehtmane-Hofmane & Nīmane, 2015). Equine Assisted Learning should therefore be developed providing more comprehensive theoretical explanations. Taking into consideration the abovementioned the following question can be put forward: why are horses involved in intervention programmes for human learning purposes?

Complete Article List

Search this Journal:
Reset
Open Access Articles: Forthcoming
Volume 11: 4 Issues (2020): Forthcoming, Available for Pre-Order
Volume 10: 4 Issues (2019): 3 Released, 1 Forthcoming
Volume 9: 4 Issues (2018)
View Complete Journal Contents Listing