The idea for the Balance Point Equestrian Learning Center began in 1996 when, as a Centered Riding Instructor, Rachel Steen realized that horses cannot work with stressed out humans without getting stressed out themselves. Just as parents affect the emotional state of their children whether they intend it or not, horses are also affected by their interactions with humans. Both horses and children are dependent upon their caretakers for every aspect of their lives.
Upon the realization that most horses carry unfortunate baggage from their life experiences, Rachel wondered if there was a way to offer horses more choice and control over their daily lives. By keeping the horses in stable groups where they can develop long term friendships, by offering them room to roam and explore, and by showing them that people can be predictable and not something to fear, the Balance Point Equestrian Learning Center was created to give horses a healthy “home life” as they rehabbed from their varied pasts.
The next piece of the puzzle was to find a way to help horses truly enjoy their work with humans such that they choose to work with us even when they don’t have to. Teaching people to train horses without pressure or force using positive reinforcement gave the horses the freedom of choice and autonomy. With this choice, the horses choose to participate with their humans in a way that feels safe and comfortable for them. The power of horses have choice and control over what they do leads to healthier horses who remain sound longer.
And as a huge bonus, training with positive reinforcement has required enough concentration for people to really be present – to be aware of, and redirect if necessary, their own thoughts, feelings, and patterns. They also learn to be attuned to those of their horse. This methodology has resulted in happier “couples” and more healthy and willing equines, and humans that get to share in the joy of their horse saying “yes!” to working together.
The Balance Point Learning Center now has many online learning opportunities where everyone can develop their own Joyful Horses and Equestrian Zen.