Doctors would be far more respectful of their body language and bedside manners if their patients all weighed 1200 pounds; horses help medical students and professionals learn non-verbal communication skills demonstrating the powerful voice of our body's language.
~ Dr. Allan Hamilton, MD, FACS
From Barnside to Bedside - How Horses Teach Doctors the Secrets of Better Bedside Manner1
(Course curriculum in over a dozen universities around the world)


The Horse Medicine Wheel ©


(A Course for Medical Professionals / Students)

75% of patients complain that their medical providers do not communicate well...2

How is your bedside manner?

High GPA, but low Press-Ganey survey scores?

Are you and your patients communicating clearly?

The Horse Medicine Wheel - Horses for Healers is a course workshop specifically designed for healthcare professionals such as; doctors, dentists, nurses and clinical health science students, house staff, or other healthcare professionals--anyone with direct patient care responsibility. Because health science education stresses intellectual excellence, much less attention is placed on proficient communication, both verbal and non-verbal. Good communication can help increase patient satisfaction, therapeutic outcomes, and malpractice prevention to name a few [Stanford Medicine & Horsemanship, Kane, 2007].3

Learning to communicate with horses requires an appreciation for all the messages we send and receive as it demands patience, gentleness, self-confidence, sensitivity, focus and a keen awareness. Horses are large but also easily frightened - their survival as prey animals depends upon them being finely tuned to body language, emotional tone and to the position or movement of objects and other beings within their sensory fields. Through this work, medical professionals are able to increase their sensitivity to non-verbal awareness and communication as they explore the poise and self control to interact with a 1000 lb being, their ability to monitor and read the body language of their human patients becomes more refined.

By reflecting back to us the most subtle signals of our intent (that we may not be conscious of) the horses can teach us to be much more aware of the messages that we convey. Horses also can help us refine our instinctual, intuitive and sensory faculties that may have dulled due to pressure of exams/schooling, scientific reasoning, logical diagnosis, and clinical decision making. Horses can challenge us to overcome our fears/indecision and develop confidence, courage and conviction.

Horses also help medical professionals in that they remain true to their essence - they each have distinct personalities and moods - an approach that works with one horse may not work with another (much like human patients), we therefore have to find other ways to communicate, and generate respect within that relationship in order for it to be based on compassion and trust. Because horses react to the subtlest of our human signals, it is as if they are holding up a magnifying glass to our styles and behaviors. It is in this mirror that we can see our truest image and a path to professional development and growth.

Spring Reins of Hope has customized exercises enlisting help from the horses for medical professionals to easily learn:

  • Improved rapport and communication with patients
  • Enhanced bedside manner and an improved understanding of non-verbal messages
  • Confidence building and more refined awareness of self presence
  • Management stress of time constraints with patients and maintain valued rapport
  • Why congruency / consistency are desirable for patient relations
  • A developed "Leave it at the Gate" mentality and non-intimidating ways to interact
  • About defined appropriate personal space and boundary setting techniques
  • Strategies for effectively managing challenging clinical situations with poise and self-control
  • Identified patterns of interaction, the reactions elicited by the horses and how that relates to both professional and personal identity

Can Doctors Learn Better Bedside Manner from...Horses? The medical students at University of Tucson, Stanford, UMDNJ & RWJMS were all willing to find out. See videos of these experiences on SRoH YouTube Channel Playlist HERE!


Students with horses


Coming Soon … Additional SROH Workshops in Development:

    (Body Language and Courtroom Awareness for Legal Professionals)


Please check back with us periodically, or call/email us for more information as these develop further.