Exploration of the healing relationship between humans and horses.
Drawing on his lifetime of experiences with horses, including his friendship of more than 17 years with a gelding quarter horse named Austin, Hayes examines the intricate connections between these four-legged creatures and humans. He explains the three basic factors that motivate horses—“survival, comfort and leadership”—and places them in the context of a horse’s interaction with humans, who are considered “predators.” Despite their initial fear, horses overcome their hesitancy and develop long-standing connections with both children and adults. The author explains how this allows humans to accept their own fears and often leads to healing and greater life fulfillment. Through personal interviews and stories, Hayes covers the various aspects of using equine therapy for children with autism, war vets suffering from PTSD, inmates in prison for violent crimes, and those exposed to domestic violence and abuse. The author also discusses the benefits of horse riding for those with physical ailments and disabilities such as cerebral palsy and Down syndrome. Hayes’ obvious love for all things equine is evident throughout, especially when he relates his own moments of fear, such as when faced with a 20-mile ride through unknown countryside with only his horse to lead him in the right direction. “This remarkable creature can not only continue to serve humanity but can help heal our wounded, remind us of our connectedness to others, and ground us with love for ourselves and for all living things,” writes the author, who provides a long list of equine resources with ample information for those interested in exploring equine therapy for a variety of ailments.
An educational analysis of the bonds between horses and humans and how they can “bring feelings of self-awareness, joy, wonder, humility, and peace of mind.”