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Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation

I recently took an Equine Assisted Development training programme along with a number of colleagues.

It was a very enjoyable, refreshing and educational way of keeping my CDUs at the level required for registration as a mediator with the NMI.

After an introduction theory session, with coffee and cake, Marieke explained enthusiastically to us the ins and outs of communication with horses.

After lunch it was time to go to the stables.

A beautiful horse stood watching us with some curiosity inside a taped-off circle.

Marieke gave one of our group members a long piece of rope and told her to step inside the circle. Marieke also stayed in the circle for safety reasons.

After a few instructions, the member of our group was allowed to ask the horse what it was she wanted.

Marieke explained to the rest of us what she could see in the communication between the horse and our group member. She also translated this into our own, human language.

It was extraordinary to experience how clear an image one could form from the way in which Marieke translated what she saw. She did this in a completely natural manner, with no small level of feeling and expertise.

When it became my turn to enter the ring, I found that I was actually communicating with the horse through my own body and that this was explained to me in such a way that it was easy to see how one could put the experience to use in one’s own daily life. Things like interaction, variation, intervention, control from a central point, keeping one’s distance and achieving more while using less energy were discussed in great detail.

The realisation that these kinds of situations come up time and time again was an important discovery. As was the fact that you can be highly aware of the way in which you communicate, not only through words but in particular through body language. In my role as mediator, this kind of information is extremely important.

Being armed with this knowledge is extremely advantageous. Additionally, the reflection achieved through the horse is such an active and impressive method that the experience stays with you.

It was an extraordinary and inspirational way of learning through horses and of scoring extra CDUs. Highly recommended.

Wilko Houwers

Mediator

Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation