Emotional congruency and calmness in the face of adversity are qualities developed through experience. Therapists, healthcare workers and rescue personnel usually get this experience by interacting with subjects who are usually panicking. To remain in the face of calm, many may continue to put up a front of confidence or authority while internally recoiling in horror, creating an incongruent response that will unnerve a person in a heightened state of non-verbal awareness. Oftentimes, a number of survivors of extreme experiences were further traumatized by the very people who were called to help them, people who unconsciously escalated the situation. ~ Linda Kohanov
Best-selling author, Tao of Equus

Horses to the Rescue©

FIRE - POLICE - EMT - RESCUE

Horses to the Rescue is a specifically designed workshop program for those who are in training, currently working, or retirees within the Police, Fire, EMT and Rescue professions. The nature of these jobs routinely exposes one to high levels of work-related stress and, overtime, can "tax" the system and lead to both physical and mental vulnerabilities. With horses, their herd mentality requires a level of high alert / arousal on a continuous basis to ensure their safety and survival.

Those who work in any realm of crisis intervention or emergency situations need to know how to calm others while maintaining healthy and safe boundaries. Whether the crisis is related to domestic violence, natural disaster, terrorism, and crime scenes for example - it is so important for the emergency staff to give off a feeling of confidence mixed with compassion (even though the situation may be effecting them personally) toward the victims and survivors in order for them to pull through the experience effectively.

Horses can teach us how to regulate our arousal ratings (code red, orange, or yellow) since they, as prey animals, have learned to regulate their recourses in a way that does not deplete their core energy. Horses are also able to share responsibility in dangerous situations and work collectively for the safety of all. Most importantly, the horses will offer immediate feedback on the congruency between the external and internal states of the group. When in-congruencies are detected we are then able to implement activities that will allow the participants to explore ways of finding a place for acceptance with their own natural fears or reactions and find the solid ground to perform their duties with an external focus that does not ignore the reality of the situation. This minor shift in perspective can have a soothing or calming effect on the "emergency" situation that will communicate confidence, safety and trust to trauma victims and rescue efforts.

photo courtesy of Pal-O-MineThe horses are also able to show us where our weak link resides in the stress chain and as natural teachers are helpful in reminding us how to effectively put to use the skill sets we already possess but may have ignored, forgotten, or discredited in the past.

Spring Reins of Hope has created specific exercises with the horses to help the rescue professional to:

    Photo courtesy of Teaming for Success
  • Develop ideals of being on constant alert and commitment readiness with less burnout
  • Handle the responsibility that goes along with having to make split second life or death decisions
  • Improve functioning as a team unit under pressure which is the basis for excellence in the rescue profession
  • Refine tools to manage prolonged stress and also anger management
  • Recognize early signs of distress (such as grief processing or PTSD, for example)
  • Improved conflict resolution and boundary setting

We offer group sessions to address issues commonly associated with these fields. Private individual sessions are also available by appointment. If this is of interest to you please inquire with us for a consultation.

A horse gallops with his lungs, perseveres with his heart, and wins with his character ~ Tesio

Resources on Professional Training and Development with Horses

For specific reasons we are unable to offer acute crisis intervention strategies but we are available for consultation to assess the timing and transitioning into a Horses to the Rescue workshop series.