Riverview Ranch & Resort

Galena Horses-vacation rental

Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL)

Working with equine practitioners to facilitate personal growth and development of life skills through equine interactions.

Can horseback riding make you happier?

Experts say "yes."

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Therapeutic Horseback Riding (THR) is described as "magical" in this article: Grant to help understand why therapeutic horseback riding benefits autistic children.
The benefits are so profound a grant for $2.5 million was recently awarded to study why it is so beneficial. Here are more articles about it: Article 2, Article 3, Article 4.
Our daughter has high functioning Aspergers Syndrome. We found that riding, and being around, horses and other animals helped her. We want to help other autistic kids get this benefit.

Outdoor Pony Rides

Studies by the Heartmath Institute found great benefit of interacting with horses:

Click Here for a video explanation of the results of the study by Ann L. Baldwin, Ph.D. Professor of Physiology, University of Arizona, hosted by Rollin McCraty, Ph.D. Heartmath Institute. Mind-Body-Science.com, BorderLandsCenter.com, AdventuresinAwareness.net.

Quotes from the presentation:

"Peacefully interacting with horses may move people to a heightened receptive state that enhances non-verbal communication."

"If we are in a quiet, open state of mind, horses may communicate with us through the heart field.

Maybe when we are in this state our bodies act as receivers, tuners and amplifiers, taking in physiological signals from the horse.

Possibly those signals may modify our feelings and behavior....
EFL helps elderly people focus more on the present moment, leading to increases in their Heart Rate Variability and self-esteem....

Interacting with horses "seems to enhance the arousal state of older people, as reflected by increases in their heart rate, respiration and heart rate variability (HRV). Such interactions provide elderly adults with a sense of excitement without stress, along with an increase in self-esteem, which may be psychologically beneficial to adults during their later years."

Perhaps just the knowledge that they would be interacting with horses was sufficient for their hearts to tune into "horse" frequencies."

"This shift in human heart rate variability to the Very Low Frequency range, which horses share, suggests a possibility that psychological information is being exchanged between species."

"Our findings are consistent with the idea that information related to our psysiology and emotions is contained in the frequencies of vibration of our heart biofield and this information can alter the biofields of others, and hence their psysiology and emotions.

Our thoughts and emotions affect the heart's magnetic field, which energetically affects those in our environment whether or not we are conscious of it....

Being with horses you can be influenced by the horse's energy field and you can shift this very beneficial very low frequency vibration."


"The evolving field of Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) is centered upon the therapeutic benefits inherent in the nature of horses. Quantitative and qualitative studies suggest that EAP can improve self-efficacy (the belief in one's own abilities to achieve goals and influence outcomes), self-competence, self-awareness, and emotion regulation, while decreasing depression, anxiety, negative affect, and maladaptive behaviors." See Study on the Effects of Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy

Horses Can Help Your Heart and Your Leadership

An article published by Susan Clarke, Author, Speaker, Business Consultant, and Equus Coach for the Koelle Institute for Equus Coaching, wrote this article in June 2021 based on new research into the benefits of EFL. She writes:
"There's no doubt that being out at the ranch, and out in the pasture with the horses, is calming.
...According to researchers, the heart has a larger electromagnetic field and higher level of intelligence than the brain." She quotes the study by Heartmath as compelling:
"Recent studies conducted by the Institute of HeartMath provide a clue to explain the bidirectional "healing" that happens when we are near horses. According to researchers, the heart has a larger electromagnetic field and higher level of intelligence than the brain: A magnetometer can measure the heart's energy field radiating up to 8 to 10 feet around the human body. While this is certainly significant it is perhaps more impressive that the electromagnetic field projected by the horse's heart is five times larger than the human one (imagine a sphere-shaped field that completely surrounds you). The horse's electromagnetic field is also stronger than ours and can actually directly influence our own heart rhythm! A coherent heart pattern is indicative of a system that can recover and adjust to stressful situations very efficiently. Often times, we only need to be in a horse's presence to feel a sense of wellness and peace. In fact, research shows that people experience many physiological benefits while interacting with horses, including lowered blood pressure and heart rate, increased levels of beta-endorphins (neurotransmitters that serve as pain suppressors), decreased stress levels, reduced feelings of anger, hostility, tension and anxiety, improved social functioning; and increased feelings of empowerment, trust, patience and self-efficacy."

That's pretty good reason to consider being around horses.

Clarke goes on to highlight Leadership benefits of Horse interaction as well as several other benefits. "Horses are big biofeedback machines. They're constantly sensing our breath rate, our heart rate, and cortisol levels. They notice any changes. They may not know what stress you are under or what your inner dialogue is, but they have a keen sense when your inner critic comes online." "When you come out and work with ... horses, you have a safe space to discover what is going on inside of you.... There is such health, relationship, and success benefits when you learn how to be your whole self. The horses give you that immediate feedback.... developing a better relationship with yourself is not about getting rid of that inner critic. It's about not believing it and being controlled by it. Instead, it's about you developing a leadership presence that is larger than the neurotic voice in your head. It's about connecting to, and trusting, your body, your somatic sense of self because it knows more than your brain.... Just being around a horse helps our hearts and they are great at providing compassionate, straight feedback for effective communication and leadership."

Other Research:

Enhanced Understanding of Horse-Human Interactions to Optimize Welfare


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