Equine Assisted Learning (EAL), also known as Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL), is centered on the concept that the lives of people can be permanently changed and positively influenced by spending time with horses.

The main idea focuses on a participant learning to effectively communicate and bond with a pony or a horse. A trained EAL Practitioner guides participants, and they make use of the horse’s own gentle system of interaction and communication, and Natural Horsemanship training tactics to achieve this. Being intelligent herd animals, horses are very much influenced by the body language and behavior of those surrounding them.

Horses have unconditional reactions and they are incapable of lying; this means that horses act as a living mirror. For instance, if a person seems to be nervous, a horse will pick up on this feeling and become ill at ease too, whereas, if a person is confident and sure of himself/herself, the horse will also feel confident and more secure.

An EAL session can deal with all kinds of forms, from just learning to connecting with a horse through grooming it, to leading, lunging, round pen work, and much more. Most of all this work takes place on the ground.


A patient/participant can derive a whole lot of positive benefits from going through the Equine Assisted Learning. One of the benefits that will surely be gained from this experience is increased self-esteem and confidence. Participants also tend to build up better communication skills and more gratifying relationships in their lives as a result of EAL. Another benefit that can be derived is self-awareness, and also, increased knowledge about the effects and causes of behaviors. Most times, people begin to have a greater feeling of empathy for others when they are responsible for a breathing, living animal.


Equine Assisted Learning is actually useful for anybody who wants to build up skills and qualities in confidence and communication, and also, in leadership. It has a lot of benefits for those that are disabled, disadvantaged, or for those that are vulnerable but love horses. Also, EAL is a powerful tool for those that work in human services and those in management. EAL can also be empowering to those that feel like they have a little bit of control over their lives.

However, anybody can take part in an Equine Assested Learning session and gain positive results. Even if one does not have a specific area of their lives he/she would like to change, the honest reaction of the horse to the behavior and action of a person can give us a better insight to our own true feelings and open our understanding in a deeper and better way. Even at its simplest level Equine Assisted Learning can give just about anyone a sense of well-being and achievement that is both valuable and long lasting.

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Kind Words

Amber is a responsible girl that lacked opportunities to shine. Due to her learning disability, anxiety, and social shyness, Amber often gets 'lost in the crowd." But here at Open T.R.A.I.L. Ranch, she is the center of attention, is able to use her strengths of being organized and sensitive to what is happening around her, improving her self esteem and gives her a unique experience to talk about each week. With her ADD she is working on staying mentally focused for longer periods of time. I can not say enough how blessed we are to live this experience together.
Shauna H.