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  • Writer's pictureSuzy Maloney B.Eq.Sc.

Equine Relationship Counselling

A woman talking to a riding student during a horse riding lesson
Communicating with Both Horse and Human

Like many horse people, I always felt I understood horses better than humans, especially as I studied horses so extensively doing my Equine Science Degree. However, I work with both people and horses as an instructor, coach, and trainer. There was an inequity present. I decided to rebalance this by studying humans, and have now completed a Diploma of Counselling.

While it’s great to have this qualification, the best part is all the amazing things I have been learning about my own species. I feel a deeper understanding of our shared experience, our common strengths, and weaknesses, which has enabled me to feel as comfortable with people as I do with horses. My level of empathy has always been high with horses, and this is now matched with the empathy and compassion I feel for my fellow humans.

I asked myself ‘What do I do with this new qualification and understanding?’ I could step into therapy work with people, but realised I didn’t want to leave the horses. So, I have created my own job category and called it Equine Relationship Counselling. My vision of what this entails is open to future change and development, but for now I see it this way.

When I am asked to visit a horse and their human, I often find the two are having trouble understanding each other. As an equine relationship counsellor, I see my role is to function as an interpreter. The horse tells me what is happening for them, and the person does the same. I then look to explain to each how things might be from the others perspective. I’m trying to get the two on the same page and see things through the eyes of the other. This is similar to relationship counselling between couples.

Sometimes with people there’s an issue in their life, or they are feeling emotionally fragile. My job is to create a safe space where they can talk about what’s happening for them. This helps them be with the horse with clearer energy, which facilitates better understanding and empathy between the two.

At times, the horse is having problems because they don’t understand what their person is doing or asking of them, or because the persons energy is affecting them. There are many possible approaches to this depending on the circumstances. I might be hands on with the horse, or simply come to an understanding by observation. At times I just know. Whether this is due to my training and experience, intuition, or animal communication doesn’t really matter, so long as I can uncover something that can help the relationship between the horse and human.

Doing this work feels incredibly valuable to me. I have been working professionally in the equine industry for over 25 years, and this feels like a culmination of all that has come before. I am excited to be offering this to the world. Since I have been approaching my work from this perspective, I have experienced what I can only call magic moments. When horses and people find common ground and understanding, their problems seem to melt away. I have been coming away from sessions amazed and stunned by what I am seeing and experiencing.

Recently at a session a client had a visiting friend watching. He was interested in the concept and asked the question, ‘Who needs an equine counsellor?’ the client’s response was, ‘Everyone.’ In that moment I knew I was on the right track.


Suzy Maloney B.Eq.Sc.Dip.Couns.

Happy Horses Bitless

Considerate Horsemanship


Ph: 0401 249 263





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