InCAh Progams in Anthrohippology (Human/Horse Interaction)

The Xanthos Speaks! EEL Series

EEL is rapidly becoming both a recognized and innovative approach to assisting people of all ages increase their levels of self-awareness, and in doing so, promoting improvements in areas such as self-confidence, stress management, personal responsibility, boundary setting, teamwork, communications, problem-solving and leadership skills. Equine-facilitated programs are experiential by nature allowing a dynamic to develop between the person and the horse, providing excellent opportunities for developing self-awareness by means of the horse's immediate responses to people’s reactions, mirroring people’s emotions and thereby providing instant feedback.

Xanthos Speaks! Equine Experiential Learning (EEL) programs incorporate horses in an experiential setting for personal growth and learning. It is a collaboration between a certified professional working with the clients and with horses to achieve specific goals. Sessions are intense and effective, often resulting in breakthroughs much more rapidly then other therapies or learning situations.

EEL programs are experiential by definition. Clients learn about themselves and others by participating in activities with the horses, and then discussing feelings, behaviors, and patterns. This processing component allows clients to truly integrate their experiences with their lives.

Though many experiential learning programs are effective, EEL programs bring a new dimension by using horses, which bring their own unique energy to the session.

The Xanthos Speaks! EEL Program addresses primarily four learning areas: 

    --- Personal Growth

    --- Spirituality

    --- Veterans

Why Equine Experiential Learning (EEL) works

Learning by doing, or through having an experience, is what EEL is all about.  When we put people and horses together, something unique happens – a bond is formed, an “aha” moment arises, positive feelings abound… Horses help people discover or rediscover their best selves.
Experiential learning with horses can teach people to “think outside of the box.”  It can enhance social and life skills and dramatically increase a client's sense of personal power and control.

When people leave the stable, they feel more confident, more connected and better able to deal with the challenges that life sends their way.

The Xanthos Speaks! EEL Series tailors individualized programs to fit the needs of many different agencies and individuals.

EEL sessions are particularly suited for:

  • Self-awareness and personal development for adults and teens
  • Promoting stress recognition and stress management strategies
  • Social skills development for adults and teens
  • Corporate and agency team building

The Wisdom of Horses

Xanthos was the majestic warhorse of the Greek hero, Achilles, and is the first horse recorded in literature to speak to his master. The moment in Homer's famous epic poem, The Iliad, when Xanthos addresses Achilles is dramatic and deeply moving, taking place at the height of a terrible battle. Xanthos himself becomes master of the situation and is able to relay profound truths to Achilles at a critical point in his life experience.

The noble character of Xanthos provides us with a unique paradigm for our relationship with our horses. Most of the time, it is we humans who control our equine interactions, but Xanthos' story shows us that, if we take the time to listen, horses can be a channel for profound insights into ourselves, as individuals, as operators, lovers, creators, team members, movers, shakers, bystanders, worshipers, as whatever it is we are, or choose to be, or want to be.

Horses are also social animals that have complex relationships within their herd. They have distinct personalities, attitudes, and moods. The size and power of the horse can be intimidating to many people, and afford the opportunity to overcome fears. Horses can serve as a mirror reflecting what human body language and energy levels are telling them. With all these qualities and traits, horses provide endless opportunities for metaphorical learning.

EEL programs are not horseback riding programs. Instead, sessions use ground activities with the horses which require the participants to develop or apply skills. Much of the program focuses on non-verbal communication, and learning to be completely present in the situation. Participants learn creative thinking and problem-solving, while developing assertiveness, leadership, teamwork, and relationship skills. The immediate feedback nature of working with horses builds confidence while participants rapidly progress through their goals.