Programmes and one-to-one sessions for children and young people…

 
 

Introduction

   
     

Adventures with Horses offers learning and growth through the naturally occurring therapeutic opportunities horses can provide, in order to develop potential, self awareness and skills.

We provide a safe learning environment for children and young people who are disadvantaged, vulnerable or excluded; and who may have special educational needs and/or other challenges. This includes working with those diagnosed with ASD, ADHD, dyslexia, and other social, emotional and behavioural difficulties including school phobias and young people who are not in education, employment, or training (NEETs). We can work with schools, YOTs, YISPs, CAMHS and other agencies.

Working one-to-one or in groups of up to 4; we can develop specific programmes that run for 6 to 8 weeks or provide ongoing sessions. Each session is tailored to the learning, educational or therapeutic needs of the particular individual/s or group, and the desired outcomes.

It helps if the young person already shows a love of animals and being outdoors in nature, but this is not essential. We are also really keen to work with those who simply haven’t had the opportunity to be around animals and out in nature, for whom the natural environment and the space we provide could be particularly valuable. The premise is that by being in a completely different environment and engaging with horses, participants find new pathways for learning, which can be brought back into the classroom, other learning environments, apprenticeships or employment, and their everyday lives.

Adventures with Horses offers learning and growth through the naturally occurring therapeutic opportunities connecting, engaging and working with horses can provide. We work in the following ways:

1. Equine facilitated learning: In equine facilitated experiential learning sessions we explore how to enter a relationship with the horse which is equal, not power over. The participant is facilitated and coached into doing various activities with the horses on the ground (no riding) and the learning is in the experience and the non-judgemental feedback the horses will give, including how the young person manages to engage with the horse. Participants then take what they have learned, for example how to build rapport and self confidence, develop emotional intelligence and learn healthy coping strategies.

2. Equine Facilitated Education: Equine facilitated education is about learning skills. A growing desire to work with horses can help participants to become more engaged and motivated to learn academic skills. With this in mind, we can incorporate art, reading, writing and arithmetic to a programme if appropriate. For young people 12 years and upwards, we can also offer professionally recognised certificates and qualifications accredited by the British Horse Society, which could lead on to further educational qualifications.

Learning through horses has been described as “an alternative seat of learning” and horses themselves likened to “a powerful mood altering drug”. Participants will adventure with the horses, and learn about them in order to learn about themselves, whilst doing specific tasks, in order to improve and learn life skills they can take back and work with in their every day lives. Participants are lead towards success in these tasks through the feed back the horses give.

We work especially with developing:
• Assertiveness
• Awareness
• Calmness
• Confidence
• Communication
• Coping strategies
• Creativity
• Emotional Intelligence
• Empathy
• Engagement
• Expectations of self and others
• Focus and Perseverance
• Realistic Planning
• Responsibility

Research and feedback into equine facilitated experiential learning shows that the following outcomes can be achieved:
• Increased self-esteem and awareness
• Improved engagement and attendance
• Reduced problem behaviours and improved relationships.
• Greater motivation to learn and/or move forward
• Better social inclusion

Adventures with Horses is an opportunity to step into the world of the horse, allowing a change of priorities, acceptance and fulfilment, whilst enabling possibilities of learning, which can also lead to embedding social skills and behaviours. Activities include connecting with horses mindfully and learning about their non-verbal language, horse care and actively engaging in simple tasks with the horses, for example leading them individually and/or as a team.

Equine facilitated learning also helps with coordination, kinesthetic learning, observation skills, building rapport and trust in self and others. Participants are lead towards success in these tasks through the feed back the horses give on for example calmness and focus.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Framework

 

We work on what behaviours arise, we do so in the moment, from the feedback the horses give. Whilst this is ‘therapeutic’, it is not counselling or psychotherapy, and though a session can bring things up from past experiences, we do not focus on this in too much detail because we are keeping within the framework of learning – both experiential and educational. For many participants this is enough, particularly if the young person is already seeing a counsellor or psychotherapist. We do however like to make sure the child or young person is being supported in the right way and when necessary like to work with the young persons individual risk assessments, behavioural management plans, and educational, health and care plans.

 
 

Qualifications and Code of Conduct

 

Adventures with Horses we are professionally qualified Counsellors, Coaches and facilitators, as well as being professionally qualified to work with horses and to work with people around horses. We work with various models including the EAGALA model and are committed to upholding their code of ethics and standards. We are also BACP members and abide by the ethical framework for good practice in counselling and psychotherapy.

 
 

The Horses

 

All our horses have been accustomed to interacting with humans on the ground from a young age. They never get unfair, aggressive, loud or over dominant treatment, as a result they are open minded and trusting and genuinely like engaging with people. In order to give clear feedback they live as naturally as possible in their own horse-world, where behaviour of a herd, hierarchy, and play happens. Participants will always be made aware of the horses natural reactions and body language as part of their learning. Horses are the powerful utterly extraordinary bonus in their capacity to teach and heal. Within this Adventures with Horses maintains a balance as all times where the well being and safety the participants, horses, assistants and facilitators is of the highest priority.

 
 

Health & Safety

 

All facilitators and horse assistants at Adventures with Horses are experienced and qualified working with people, and working with horses around people. Health and safety is paramount to the continued success of Adventures with Horses, to ensure that we meet, and strive to exceed standards we:
• Hold Public Liability Insurance and Professional Indemnity Insurance of £6 million;
• Hold an up to date health and safety policy
• Assess risks and goals prior to commencement;
• Ensure that facilitators, assistants and volunteers hold up to date DBS checks;
• Guarantee that a professional member of staff with a First Aid Certificate and a Safeguarding and Protecting Children Certificate is present at all times.

 
 

The Environment

 

Adventures with Horses home is a collection of barns and building surrounded by 10 acres of natural fields with an all weather arena, nestled in a sheltered ancient farm settlement, on the edge of South East Dartmoor just above the village of Holne which is approximately 4 miles from Buckfastleigh and 5 miles from Ashburton. Middle Stoke Farm is very peaceful, surrounded by wildlife and offers a quiet, undisturbed space to be with horses away from the intensity and bombardment of our fast moving modern day world, which is particularly valuable for highly sensitive children and young people.

 
 

Suitability

 

Much of the venue is quite hilly and uneven, with quite steep natural slopes and some rocky surfaces in places. Sadly this makes the venue unsuitable for less mobile young people, or children with very complex needs, even when supported by professional carers and/or family members. In all cases it is important to come and visit first and do a risk assessment.


 

Please do not hesitate in contacting Sue Blagburn for further information.

 
 

Download the Special Programmes for Children and Young People pdf document here.


 

 
 
 
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