It’s not often that you get to chat with a neuroscientist. Still less often to chat with a neuroscientist that is also a doctor. Still less often to chat with a neuroscientist that is a doctor and also autistic. And less often still to chat with a neuroscientist who is also a doctor and also autistic and also a horseman. Finally, it’s about a chance in a million, maybe more, to chat with a neuroscientist that is a doctor, is autistic, is a horseman and who is also a renowned horse trainer and published author on horse training and behaviour.
Dr Stephen Peters is that man. His book, Evidence Based Horsemanship, is rapidly becoming something of a bible among those who would understand how their horse’s brain and their human brain could best come together in working harmony.
Of course, for those of us in the Equine Assisted World, whether we are practitioners, clients, or simply curious onlookers – or whether we are the horses upon whom the entire process depends – knowledge of the brain is key. If we are dealing with a physical issue, we first have to reach the person’s brain before we can start that therapizing stuff. If we are working with neuro cognitive conditions, a basic working knowledge of the neuroscience of learning and cognition would seem essential – yet very few programs outside of Horse Boy Method offer this.
If you are training and maintaining the therapy horse, understanding your own brain as well as, to some extent, that of your four-legged colleague would also seem to be an advantage.
One day, the therapeutic approaches will hopefully begin to put neuroscience front and centre of their professional trainings. Axons, dendrites, myelination, BDNF and other neurotrophins, cerebral spinal fluid, the amygdala, cortisol, oxytocin and serotonin, the dance between the re frontal cortex and the rough emotional seas of the limbic system: it’s a lot to navigate. So sit back, grab a pen, paper and beverage, and let Dr Stephen initiate you into the mysteries of that organ you work with every day; the noggin.
Links and books mentioned:
Evidence base horsemanship Martin Black and Dr. Steve Peters
Courses with Dr. Steven Peters & Sarah Schlote course https://equuscience.com/
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