Equine Assisted Youth Programs
The youth of today encounter more stressors than ever before, creating extreme levels of anxiety in school-age children. Most children can look outward for answers using advanced technology.It is equally important for today’s children to look inward and discover their sense of self or a connection to oneself. How do we offer them experiences to develop meaningful connections? We introduce them to horses. Horses connect without any attachments. Horses do not judge; they have no agenda, and they act as a conduit into who we are.
We use both EAGALA (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association) model programs and custom Equine assisted Learning programs. Children and young adults learn valuable life skills to improve their relationship with the world around them. Horses teach respect, commitment, teamwork, and consequence through non-verbal communication. We have worked with residential, group home, public and private school-age youth.
How We Do It
Basic Equine Assisted Learning Model -
We build 8-week sessions into the school year. Each 8-week session explores a new theme through the horse. The students are introduced to new activities building relationships, increasing confidence and exercising focusing skills. As students interact and work with the horses, they observe the behaviors and responses, develop skills and reflect.
Sample of Honey Badger Farm Curriculum - Connecting with a horse is a unique opportunity that creates a place of self-discovery. It goes beyond the traditional to create and restore balance in student’s lives while teaching critical thinking.
Our Curriculum Skills - connection, observation, self-awareness, communication, trust, critical thinking, problem solving, respecting boundaries, building relationships, impulse control
Week 1 Introductions: Safety and Observations
Introduction of students and staff
Outside Arena – notebooks and pencils
• “I agree to respect myself and others.”
• Safety poster: horse vision and flight or fight response
• In the moment--mindfulness practices observing the environment inside the barn, using 5 senses, and breath.
Inside the Arena
• Meet the horses/ Repeat observation activity with horses
• Write down similarities/differences
• Student time with horses- non directed
• Circle up: Discussion /reflection