Facilitated grooming as a powerful tool for gaining the ability to tap in to another person...
Facilitated grooming is one of the exercises we do in my Healing and Coaching with Horses program. For many people, especially young people in this generation, so attached to their electronics, and unattached to others, this is a powerful way to "wake up" those synapses of connection that exist non verbally.
I believe one of the huge downsides to so much screen time, is a lack of development of the skills to read a person and to adjust to get the desired connection. People on the spectrum have a deficit here as well which can cause a lot of social challenge.
Reading a person's energy, mood, and even thoughts, can be a powerful tool for success in relationships and life. This is how it might work in a session.
Tasked to groom a horse, I would intuit what might challenge a particular client. Say someone is a perfectionist. I might ask them to just groom 1/2 of the horse and be done. The undone half can cause physical stress. You would be surprised how "not possible" that is for someone, and when it occurs, it brings up their area of challenge which we can then discuss and clear.
Or if someone is too "big and unaware" in a group of people. Like a bull in a china shop, they attack with their energy creating a repelling response, leaving them lonely. I would offer them a very sensitive horse, who would step away from grooming that was too fast, rigorous, or pushing too hard. This is direct feedback for the groomer, on how they are received by others. Then beautifully they get to PRACTICE softening to get the desired results. And because they are able to practice what it feels like to be softer and get reward, this sticks and translates to their everyday interactions.
Or if someone is very soft and sensitive, perhaps lacking confidence, I would offer a very quiet horse who was not very sensitive to grooming, and invite them to find the sweet spots on that horse where it would give feedback that it felt good to be groomed rigorously in that area. Again, the client has to shift their predominant energy or way of being to a place that connects.
A family or a couple co grooming a horse can be a very telling story about the interpersonal dynamics of their relationships. Its a way to see things that is non challenging and very enlightening.
Working with a variety of horses in this way creates an emotional and energetic maleability, that after practiced here on the farm, improves their abilities and connections in life.
No talk therapy can get through in this way. Experiential practice is an easy portal to change and something as simple as brushing a horse, can change things powerfully!