Horses Helping People
Natural Awakenings News Briefs – February 2006

Sir Winston Churchill is known to have said, “there is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.” People unfamiliar with, afraid of, or simply in awe of horses are finding this to be true through the equine assisted programs offered by Lisa Baugh and Sagittarius Rising. A registered Marriage and Family Therapist Intern, Baugh puts people together with horses to facilitate human emotional growth and learning.

Here’s how it works. Give a person or a group an activity to complete with one or more horses and watch what happens. Sometimes what seems like the simplest of tasks becomes complicated. The size and power of horses make them awesome, evocative, and inspiring. They may be intimidating to some people and like humans, horses have distinct personalities, attitudes, and moods. An approach that seems to work with one horse does not necessarily work with another. At times they seem stubborn and defiant. Horses require people to be engaged physically and mentally, a valuable skill in all aspects of life. Most importantly horses have the ability to read and mirror exactly what human body language is telling them. They are very intuitive and can read human emotions, helping people become more aware of their internal states.

Acknowledging assumptions or judgments people make about the horses and then exploring the basis of those conclusions provides rich material in the learning process. Some people will complain, “the horse is stubborn, the horse doesn’t like me.” But the lesson to be learned is that if they change themselves, the horses respond differently. Working with a horse in spite of fears creates confidence and provides rich metaphors when dealing with other areas of life. One participant reports, “the way I related to the horses and to the people in the group is pretty much how I relate to life and its issues. I really enjoyed the workshop, thanks!”

Sagittarius Rising holds public workshops four times a month addressing issues like non-verbal communication, assertiveness and boundary setting, creative thinking and problem solving, communication skills and building relationships based on trust and respect. There is no riding involved and horsemanship is not emphasized. In fact, NO HORSE EXPERIENCE IS NECESSARY. Workshops are specifically designed to focus on leadership lessons, couples enrichment, teens and family dynamics, addiction recovery support, burn out issues, or just personal self-discovery through a relationship with a horse. The workshops last about three hours and cost $65 per person. Private individual, family, or group sessions are also available. For more information call 561-791-8939 or visit