What is Therapeutic Horsemanship (TH)
Therapeutic Horsemanship (TH) is Natural Horsemanship based program. The client works one-to-one with a horse building a relationship, developing a partnership and discovering many life skills along the way.
Our qualified facilitators enable the clients to discover things about the horses and also some new things about themselves. The client will practice gross and fine motor skill, refine behavioural patterns, develop the skills and resources that they may not be aware they have, and find new skills. The exercises we have are developed to provide a metaphor for situations outside the environment they are conducted in.
Therapeutic horsemanship is ground based (no riding)
Who is it for?
Anyone of any age can enjoy these sessions and will gain from them. We do find they are particularly effective when working with teenagers who thrive from positive one to one attention and quickly gain confidence in their ability learn a new skill.
We find this programme helpful for those who may have experienced some of these life events: bereavement, low self-esteem, fear, domestic violence, school refusal, behavioural issues, self-harming, suicidal behaviour, sexual exploitation, mental health issues, anxiety, bullying, post traumatic stress, elective muteness, and things like Autism, ADHD, Aspergers, Sensory Processing.
Therapeutic Horsemanship is effective because working one to one with a trained facilitator the client will try new things and as we are careful to set them up for success they will experience the joy of achievement and the development of a new skill. TH is particularly effective for teaching patience, emotional regulation, perseverance, communication skills trust and overcoming a fear of failure. It also builds confidence and courage as the client is encouraged to step out of their comfort zone and experience something new.
We can also tailor make a programme for those students who are about to go off to college to work with horses. This helps them gain confidence, skills, and experience to set them up for success in their chosen career. We have had a lot of success with it being beneficial for young people who are on the Autistic Spectrum
No horse experience is necessary, we will show you everything you need to know.
What happens in a session?
After some time connecting with the horse and settling back into the environment the client will develop their horsemanship skills building week on week until they can ask the horse to perform complex actions with them.
Playing football is often an activity that both will enjoy, as well as mastering obstacle courses and asking the horse to knock over cones on request.
At the end of the session there is a chance to relax with the horse and thank it, celebrating the partnership and all that has been achieved in the session.
Are they weather dependant?
The short answer is no! In the nice, dry weather we hold our session outside in a paddock or stable yard. However if it is raining, cold or windy, we have a lovely big indoor barn in which to get away from the weather.
How long are the sessions?
Each session lasts approximately one hour. We stop when the right point has been reached rather than when the clock dictates. We usually run these sessions in a series of 6 sessions (although we can do more or less sessions depending on each case and funding requirements)
When do they take place?
We offer sessions during school hours and after school as well as Saturdays. Sessions during school hours are available fairly quickly, however after school and Saturdays are more in demand and hence have a longer waiting time. Saturdays are generally reserved for family groups to allow all members to attend. We have found that most schools will allow children time during the day to attend.
- Mum of a teenage boy who came to us for Therapeutic Horsemanship as he was suicidal. This was from her nearly 7 years later
"My son was in a sad, dark place when he started the equine therapy.
It gave him a focus for the week and something to look forward to.
He enjoyed working with the horses and the talking helped changed his mind set.
He is now a young man with a plan for the future and is working hard to achieve his dream.
A huge thank you to Fran and Jo"