Horses and Humans – Learning together

Gisela and Horse

Gisela H. Rhodes

Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) is an experiential learning approach that involves interactions between humans and horses to achieve educational and therapeutic goals. It is a unique and powerful approach to personal and educational growth. It harnesses the innate qualities of horses to facilitate learning, self discovery, and therapeutic progress.

two horses

Gisela Rhodes’ emphasis lies on the partnership with the horse. Solid horsemanship and respect for the equine and its nature will result in a mutual satisfactory relationship. 

2 children with a horse

Interactive Vaulting is an innovative approach to therapeutic riding. Horsemanship activities, movements around, on, and off the horse as well as gymnastic positions on the back of the horse engage the participants in a dynamic environment. This setup provides educational, social, creative and movement opportunities.

Gisela started vaulting as a child in her native Germany and rediscovered its benefits while developing her therapeutic riding program Special Equestrians.

In 1998 she introduced the German concept of therapeutic vaulting developed by A. Kröger and C. Klüwer to NARHA (North American Riding for the Handicapped Association, now PATHIntl). She spearheaded the development of interactive vaulting standards, and the certification for interactive vaulting instructors in the USA.

In 2008 she received the PATHIntl. National Volunteer Leadership Award for her efforts.