Equine Assisted  Learning is a therapy where the children and young people learn about themselves, through interacting with horses and ponies

It's not about teaching riding or horse care skills and the children don't need any previous experience of horses.

It's been clinically proven that just being in the vicinity of horses changes our brainwave patterns.  They have a calming effect which helps stop people becoming fixated on past or negative events - giving them a really positive experience. 

A child's ability to interact socially is often improved as well.  Group sessions allow the child to work and play with other children  and learn how to handle relational conflict, and how to help others.

Learning with Horses

The programme can be highly beneficial for children with Autism or Aspergers.

Some of the dramatic inprovements we see in children is improved communication, improved motors skills, improvement in overal moods. Children who before experience angry outbursts or who rarely smiled are suddenly calmer and smile more readily and frequently.

As with other types of animal assisted therapy, the introduction of the animal seems to calm and soothe children.

 

Often, they begin making eye contact with the animal first, then with other people. Soon after that, the child often becomes more relationally open; again, with the animal first, then with people.

Horses are wonderful animals to work with, they react as a mirror to the person who's with him.

He's a prey animal so he wants to feel safe and is always on the lookout for predators. A horse will become very fearful if he's with someone who's aggressive, noisy, disrespectful or too controlling.

On the other hand, if the person makes requests rather than demands the horse will begin to cooperate. He is always looking for a leader."

A horse is looking for simple and clear commands, and a child, with the right encouragement and in the right situation, can carry these out very effectively. "Go, stop, back up, turn this way or that way" is all that's needed.

Once children realize what they can achieve their self-esteem increases in leaps and bounds.

The results are startling. Even those showing severe anti-social and aggressive behavior become calmer and more communicative.