Athena Herd: An Equine Business Shoot in Kent
Athena Herd is the name given to the Equine Facilitated Learning Center in Paddock Wood. Nestled in the heart of the Kent country side Athena started as a ‘equicentral track system’ Now it has become a place for reflection, self-development and self-awareness.
Athena Herd: The joy of horses
Run by Jennifer, a lawyer Monday to Friday Athena seeks to spread the positive benefits horses can offer us. It’s been a huge project and is not yet complete but what it seeks to offer is very exciting. For me I found the concept of Equine Facilitated Learning a bit odd and it took me some time to really get my head around it. As someone who has always been around horses I am very aware of the positive influence they have had on my life and also the joy they can bring. For people who are ‘non-horsey’ horses can be intimidating and not an animal they would spend much time with.
EFL is not a new concept but it’s becoming more and more valuable, especially in ‘non-horsey’ circles. Horses can tell us a huge amount about ourselves and can actually help us become more self-aware. Skills such as reading body language or gauging a situation can be developed by spending time with our equine friends. When I visit Athena, I love nothing more than simply wandering amongst the herd. I have a clear friend when I visit, a palomino mare called Henna. Ever since my first encounter with the Athena Herd Henna has been a firm favourite and it seems our bond has grown. She will actively seek me out and follow me everywhere. Playing with my camera and at times even seeming to shield me from other horses.
Athena Herd: The Sessions
For the lucky people that get to spend some time in an EFL session it would be a little more controlled. There is a huge barn and an outdoor school where sessions take place. A selected few horses are invited in and it’s bizarre because the majority of them want to get in the school. The jostle at the gate and watch over the fence. Once the few are in the school, Jennifer a LEAP practitioner, will encourage the guests to observe and analyse the horse behaviour. The horses will interact differently with different groups of horses and also different people. Some will roll, and some will not do very much. When we let the girls in they had great fun charging about. Until we put a headcollar on one and did some pole work with them. Calmness was then restored, and Marzipan even followed Henna.
Athena Herd: Sunset and Ponies
Once the school session was finished we spent some time in the herd. Sat on some logs out of the way it was magical watching the sun set and simply being. Something that in this busy world we often forget to do. Jennifer would love to get people to the centre, do team building with them and provide them with an insight into themselves. The Athena Herd work well with groups but also a one to one session can be enlightening. To find out more about what Athena can offer you please visit their website.
Thank you to Jennifer and all the gang. We really enjoyed our evening, with you and look forward to seeing the next part of the Athena journey.