Equine Facilitated Learning
All behaviour is communication
Children, young people and adults with learning and behavioural difficulties may struggle to communicate effectively, which can result in behaviour that is disruptive at home or school or prevents them from integrating with peers or groups. Through observing and discussing the behaviour of horses, we work with people to help them better understand their own behaviour and how this affects others and to read and understand the behaviour of their parents, teachers and friends.
For those with multiple and complex learning difficulties our aims are to increase awareness of the outside world and the desire to communicate. We help people to develop communication skills – which may be as simple as body movements to indicate a desire to continue or stop an activity, using a cone to encourage talking in children who are selectively mute, or perhaps encouraging them to talk via a horse.
For more able clients, we work with horses to better understand and develop team-working skills and taking turns, understanding danger and keeping safe, overcoming fears, managing emotions and anxiety, and building confidence and self-esteem.
Overcoming physical difficulties
Horsewyse is not an RDA (Riding for the Disabled Association) centre, but we do what we can to cater for everyone. We have many clients who visit in wheelchairs or who are unstable on their feet – if you have physical difficulties or feel adaptations may be needed, please contact us to discuss how we can meet your needs.
The Horsewyse approach
Our approach is welcoming, inclusive and flexible, but also firm and with strict boundaries. Although we have underlying aims and objectives, we remain flexible so that we can respond to the individual clients – this means that we can seize opportunities to build on or change activity if the client loses interest or becomes distressed. We aim to provide a non-judgemental, experiential (and challenging, where appropriate) environment in which our clients learn (rather than being taught).
Benefits can be startling!
We notice a range of benefits for the people who come to Horsewyse – for some people with severe difficulties we are able to reduce their anxiety levels, increase their awareness of their surroundings and desire to communicate, and improve sleep. For others, we help them to increase their confidence and integrate better at school and with their friends. When working with school groups, we work with teachers to identify objectives for each child and for the group – these may include improved listening, taking turns, team-work, and empathy. We also aim to create learning opportunities that have resonance with school or home life and that teachers or parents can use – such as understanding bullying, how to give instructions, personal space, and managing emotions.
Interested in finding out more? Please don't hesitate to contact us.