Equine Assisted Learning
I’ve heard of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. Is this it?

No, this is not therapy. Although horses can be incredibly “therapeutic” and a wide range of individuals can benefit from working with horses through our programming, Equine-assisted Learning is not therapy or counselling. What we have to offer is a positive learning and growth experience with horses. We gladly work together with a participants’ therapist, social worker, resource teacher, etc. to ensure program can be as effective and individualized as possible!

 I am worried to sign the liability form. How safe are your programs?

Our horses are quiet, trained, and are carefully selected for their suitability and gentleness. What makes our programming  safer than many equine programs is that there is no riding involved. All facilitators are experienced with horses and are trained in first aid. We also make sure to have a high facilitator to participant ratio.

It’s true, horses aren’t robots or machines, (which is what makes them so effective in helping people!) We can’t guarantee what they will do or how they will respond in every situation.  But safety is incredibly important to us and we are absolutely dedicated to keep our programming as safe as we possibly can!

 What kind of training do the facilitators have?

Lead facilitators are certified in Equine Assisted Learning and have had extensive training and experience in equine assisted learning, teaching groups, and horsemanship. Assistant Facilitators all have first aid training, equine assisted learning training and horsemanship experience.

I don’t  need Equine Assisted Learning. Do you teach normal riding lessons?

Absolutely everyone can benefit from learning from horses! This program is interesting, exciting, and fun for EVERYONE who participates! In fact, developing a relationship with a horse through the exercises we do on the ground, can be some of the most important preparation for riding anyone can do!

Why is there no riding in the program? Can’t riding be therapeutic too?

Definitely, riding can be an amazing experience! Equine Assisted Learning is on the ground because we want the horses to have opportunity to give feedback through body language. If a participant is on the horses’ back, it’s not as easy for them to see that feedback. Riding takes a lot of skill and technique for it to be a safe and fun experience for horse and rider. We do not want our programs to be consumed with riding and skill instruction, because it’s meant to be a facilitated learning and self-discovery experience.

How do I need to be prepared on the first day?

Most importantly, make sure the liability forms are filled in correctly and signed. In spring, rubber boots are important! Sandals and crocks are not safe around the horses. Wear comfortable clothing for working around the horses and appropriate for the weather (especially in winter!!).

 My child is scared of horses. Will they be able to participate?

Most kids who come here don’t have experience with horses and so are a little nervous just because this is a new experience. That’s okay!  It does not take long for most people to get comfortable around the horses. We won’t push anyone into a situation they don’t feel ready for. However if your child is terrified of horses and refuses to go near them, they may not be able to participate. Consider working through this fear before enrolling in the program.

Is your program credible?

Because this is a fairly new field, some facilities may label their programming as “Equine-assisted Learning” but may not necessarily be certified or have qualification. Our program is certified by a nationally recognized program, and we are absolutely dedicated to furthering our training and qualifications. All of our facilitators are certified by The OK Corral Series run by Greg Kersten, Founder of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy.

What does a typical class look like?

For an hour class, we will typically spend five to 10 minutes in the beginning to introduce the exercise and objective. Participant(s) will then spend 40 to 45 minutes working through the exercise with the horses and other team members in the arena. This is “hands-on” learning time where the horses are the “teachers.” During this time, facilitators closely supervise and step in to guide participants when necessary. At the end of class, we spend 10 minutes debriefing, discussing, and journaling the experience.

Your program sounds amazing! How can I be a part of what you’re doing?

Help us spread the word! This kind of programming is still new in this area and not everyone knows what it is or how it could benefit them. Not all can afford it either. Donating sponsorships is a wonderful way to help more kids and families  benefit from working with horses.