The National Pancreatic Cancer Foundation joyfully opens its heart and doors to the community of pancreatic cancer patients, family members and healthcare practitioners. The Equine assisted personal development module of the Footprints Program provides, through the humbling and natural powers of the horse, an opportunity to once again reconnect what, over time, has been disconnected in oneself, through the life and death battle of pancreatic cancer.
The use of equine assisted learning has been in practice since the 1950’s and is used to promote personal growth in many different areas including the mind, body, heart and spirit. This module of the Footprints Program will use the horse in a series of groundwork and riding activities to stimulate, connect and piece together the individual’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual losses that pancreatic cancer has taken, thus creating a calm, positive, horse and human interaction.
As the human and horse work together, the development of skills and attributes are put into work. Each individual is able to gain self-confidence, empowerment, and self-awareness. The program lowers stress levels and reduces anger.
Physically, the human finds improvement in balance, muscle tone and motor coordination. They become re-sensitized and the body is stimulated through rhythmic movement of the horse when riding. They will find this same physical stimulation through grooming and touch of the horse.
Emotionally, working with the horse can greatly reduce stress and bring a calming effect. This is achieved through the matching of the horse and the patients breathing. Participants are also stimulated emotionally to find clarity and self-awareness of thoughts and feelings. This provokes each individual to better communicate with themselves and others, exposing in-the-moment emotions.
Mentally, an individual is challenged to think through their feelings and thoughts before acting. This requires participants to think and feel less on impulse and more on what their actual needs and desires are with clarity.
Spiritually, the human and horse connection helps to “center self” more naturally. This will help each person rely on the intuitive and spiritual response of the horse to guide them and lead them to a more open sense of their own spiritual needs. When someone is more spiritually centered and calm, then they have a greater ability to process and understand thoughts and emotions more honestly. This creates more truth and peace in their journey that in turn ignites natural ability to live spiritually empowered.
As the healthcare practitioners spend time in the program and work with the horses they will improve on teamwork, leadership, and communication skills. Through gaining more self-awareness, the healthcare practitioners will discover what their own personal approach is that they bring to the daily environment of those they treat. They have the opportunity through self-discovery, to gain knowledge of their own personal emotions that surround the battle of cancer. The self-discovery through horse assisted learning, creates a more effective way to bring compassion, support, and decrease stressful situations. The NPCF equine program will help the practitioners who come in contact with cancer patients to emanate HOPE!