Human–equine tourism and nature-based solutions: Exploring psychological well-being through transformational experiences
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Danby, P. & Grajfoner, D. (2020) Human–equine tourism and nature-based solutions: Exploring psychological well-being through transformational experiences. Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research (In Press).
This article critically explores insights into human–equine touristic experiences and acknowledges how such interconnectivity underline nature-based solutions (NBS) to mutually enhance psychological well-being. Despite the growing interest in NBS limited accounts have explored human–animal relations within the realm of touristic encounters. Drawing upon multispecies ethnographic accounts, participant observations, diaries, and in-depth interviews were held with 21 participants, with topics themed around human–equine experiences, relational encounters, and well-being. The sample was taken from participants located in the North East of England who engaged in equestrian tourism. Findings revealed life-changing transformations as a result of multispecies encounters. Deep emotional elements were experienced through intersubjectivity where participants spoke of the psychological benefits of being immersed in natural landscapes with their equine companions. This article demonstrates human–equine experiences as a positive NBS and illustrates that for the two species to effectively interact in equine-assisted psychological interventions requires mutual trust, empathy, and effective communication.