Horses Are Natural Teachers
Horses are sentient beings, and are a lot like us.
Horses have distinct personalities and defined social roles within the herd, allowing students to identify and form connections with them.
Horses help us reflect on how we approach relationships, learning, and challenges.
Because they are prey animals, horses have evolved to be extremely sensitive to their environment. They react to our body language and cues. That can give very good insight into what the student is experiencing emotionally during a session.
Horses allow for movement in learning.
As sophisticated herd animals, horses immediately begin building relationships with people as members of their herd.
How Do Horses Help Teach Reading?
During a Horse Powered Reading session, the horse becomes the reading material or "book" students need to connect with. Without finding and making some connection with the text, it is easy to drift away from or lose interest in a book. The horse becomes a metaphor for that connection.
Students are allowed to choose their own horse to work with...just as they would choose a book to read. Based on their interaction with the horse, students experience how it feels when a book or text is too hard or too easy. This gives the client a chance to learn to choose a “just right” book.
Seeing what tools are used to connect with the book (horse) and how that connection is made between client and horse, allows facilitators and teachers to use clean questioning to help students discover the importance of connecting and allows for the exploration of better ways to do it, through the use of the metaphor. Through this process, the horse creates an opportunity for immediate feedback and experiential learning to take place.
Did You Know There Is a Reading Crisis in Our Homes and Schools?
One of the major predictors of reading success is being able to form text-to-self connections. These are highly personal connections that a reader makes between a piece of reading material and the reader's own experiences or life. Horse Powered Reading allows students to practice making these critical connections.
The human brain generally gets better at whatever it practices. Reflection about a word allows the child to actively practice making decisions, rather than passively memorizing. This active practice likely results in synaptic changes in the child’s brain by strengthening neuronal pathways for long term-retention to be retrieved for reading and writing.
-J Richard Gentry, Phd Raising Readers, Writers, and Spellers
The GOOD NEWS…HPR can help solve this crisis!
Reading Levels of U.S. Students
How Can Horses Help Clients Learn to Build Connections?
Horses have evolved over millions of years as herd animals. In fact, their very survival depends on connection. They are honest in the way they react to situations and are extremely sensitive to the actions of humans. Horses have an incredible ability to pick up on our non-verbal behavior. A horse will only bond with someone when they feel the person is being "authentic". This gives the facilitators insight into what the client is experiencing inside and what patterns are working or not working for them and allows for profound learning to take place.
Memory retention and recall improve dramatically when movement anchors learning