The power of the Adventures in Awareness Model (developed by Barbara Rector) 

The core principles of the Model are: 

#the invitation approach

#The horse is a sentient being/co-facilitator

#there are no wrong or right perceptions and experiences

#there is safe and unsafe

The power of this process:

#1 an invitational approach

  • the participant comes into the process rather than bringing information to them; it is active rather than passive
  • We use questions rather than statements to allow the participant to discover their own insights Much more empowering to find your own insights.
  • the participant takes as little or as much as they choose.

#2 the horse as co-facilitator

  • the dignity of the horse is important and they are treated with respect and are given choices
  • the horse’s role (What do they bring to this?)
  • the horse/s drive the process
  • the horse gives the feedback by reacting to the participants
  • the horse barometer; They are indicators of unfinished work, they flag opportunities for further observation, they reflect group dynamics, and mirror individual participant’s emotional states. By monitoring the horses the facilitator has further confirmation on whether to close an activity, or debrief, or continue.

#3 there is no wrong or right perceptions and experiences

  • non- judgemental by letting others experiences and perceptions be different to yours.
  • the freedom to tell our experience and perceptions
  • As participants share their perceptions and experiences, they start to see their narrative;the story they tell themselves. Firstly, between self and the horse, then self to self, and then self to others. The process clarifies “our stuff”.
  • Transformative because, it amplifies somatic sensations, and helps identify emotions, thoughts. As the sessions progress, patterns emerge which in turn expose core beliefs, how they then effect behaviour.
  • the role of witness

#4 There is safe and unsafe

  • Using “I” statements; only sharing our own observations perceptions and experiences
  • psychological and physical safety
  • Timeout for when someone is not “OK” with something
  • the responsibility agreement: “I am responsible for myself today …”
  • Staying grounded in the present


Equine Enrich activities are on the ground only. They do not involve riding.

In Australia the training in AIA is done by

Kyie Peters from “Groundwork Therapy”

Barbara Rector and her program”Adventures In Awareness”

is situated in the USA