Lessons from a Herd of Horses

I learned to take risks. I learned how to make the horses do what I wanted them to do. (Z., 14, m)

It helped my confidence and grace. I learned discipline and self control. I had lots of fun. It made me a happier person. (J., 13, f)

I was afraid of horses at first…..now I know how to take care of them with love, kindness and food. (O., 13, f)

Working with horses made me feel better about myself and my confidence went sky high (H.,12, f)

I learned that being higher of the ground isn’t that bad (M.,14, m)

Working with the horses put memories in my life. I have something to tell my kids when I get older. (K., 15, m)

It’s not easy to lead a thousand pound animal and if you can control a horse you can control yourself…..I think horses also gave me more self control and opened my mind. Horses are just like people, they don’t always get along  but some way, somehow they work it out.  (D., 15, f)

At Risk teenagers sum up their experience after a 10 week equine facilitated learning course

This project was supported by the local law enforcement with the goal of preventing the students from dropping out of school and slipping onto a destructive path of drug use and crime.

The specially designed activities reached the students on a different level than the regular school curriculum. Besides learning vocational skills (horsemanship) which involves physical activities, they met horses on an emotional level. Teaching the students how to connect with horses and develop appropriate communication strategies gave them a template for forming successful relationships and positive behavior in the community outside of the barn setting. Accepting the horses as ‘authorities’ and enjoying their company at the same time empowered the students and showed them a way beyond violence, bullying and self defeat.

This workshop will give instructors tools and strategies to create positive learning experiences for any students who need a different environment to succeed.