Our equine assisted learning and equine assisted activities create opportunities for participants to learn about themselves through direct experience with our rescued horses and ponies.

Equine assisted learning

What is equine assisted learning?

Equine assisted learning (EAL) focuses on developing social and emotional skills. Sessions are aimed at individuals and groups of learners.

Equine assisted learning provides experiential learning opportunities for participants with our rescued horses and ponies. Equine assisted learning promotes self-discovery, insight and the development of emotional intelligence through carefully structured learner-centred sessions. Participants are guided to relate their learning to their life experience and can gain strategies to apply in their wider lives.

In equine assisted learning sessions, participants and equines choose to interact through a variety of ground-based activities. The horses can also choose how much they want to interact in the sessions.

The learning is in the doing. People learn through experiencing representative situations in real time, with the horses offering unbiased, immediate feedback about the person’s emotional congruency and behaviours. Equine assisted learning looks at where participants are now and how they can move forward with the help of horses.

Individual or group-led sessions

We offer individual and group equine assisted learning to children and young people and adults.

These sessions develop social and emotional learning and involve ground-based interactions with our rescued horses and ponies.

Sessions are individualised to meet desired personal social and emotional outcomes agreed with the participant.

Equine assisted learning sessions take place weekly over a period of six weeks.

Sessions typically last between one hour or one and a half hours in duration.

Equine assisted wellbeing

Our equine assisted wellbeing sessions offer a safe space for emotional processing and self-rediscovery with our rescued equines outdoors in nature. These sessions improve wellbeing and build resilience. Participants have the chance to slow down and connect with themselves by connecting with our horses and ponies in a friendly, non-judgemental environment.

Each participant receives four one-hour structured, ground-based, equine interactive wellbeing sessions with one of our rescued horses and ponies and individual support from a qualified facilitator from our dedicated team. Activities may include grooming, leading and mindfulness. Previous experience with equines is not necessary to benefit from these sessions.

The equine assisted wellbeing sessions were piloted as part of a national project for frontline workers whose mental health had been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are pleased to now offer these equine assisted wellbeing sessions to a wider group of adult participants.


Equine assisted activities

What are equine assisted activities?

Equine assisted activities (EAA) enable participants to focus on the development of transferrable life skills and contribute to the care and wellbeing of our rescued horses and ponies.

Activities can include:

  • Developing an understanding of equine behaviour
  • Stable management activities, for example filling hay nets, mucking out stables, poo picking fields
  • Caring for our horses and ponies, for example grooming, bathing.
  • Ground-based activities, for example in-hand leading, walks, long reining and lunging.
  • Riding experiences, for example introduction to riding.

Inspire, Explore and Empower

Our equine assisted activities offer participants the opportunity to progress through three developmental phases – Inspire, Explore and Empower – to achieve learning outcomes that are focused on caring for horses and enable the participant to move towards greater independence around horses and ponies.

Activities include care of horses and ponies in their environment, developing attunement and presence, ground-based activities such as leading, long reining and agility games, and riding, where appropriate to the participant.

Equine assisted activities in our Explore and Empower phases provide a route into further learning, volunteering and, potentially, employment as the skills learnt are directly transferrable to further education and the workplace.

This Girl Can Exercise with Equines

Through participation in equine assisted activity, women are encouraged back into exercise with equines with this programme funded by Sport England.

Participants help to care for our rescued horses and ponies, for example grooming them, filling haynets, basic stable / field management.

Sessions also include focused time working with our rescued horses and ponies through gentle physical activity supported by our qualified accredited professional coach. This includes in-hand walks around our beautiful site, basic leading and agility in our indoor arena.

The project will support 36 women and girls aged 16 and over between November 2021 and October 2022.

Sessions are 90 minutes in duration and take place weekly in groups of six over six weeks.

Wellies for Wellness

Our Wellies for Wellness programme includes equine care and welfare-led activities as well as outdoor learning encompassing a range of inclusive nature-based activities.

Wellies for Wellness sessions are aimed at families and can be a one-off experience or offered as a series of six weekly sessions.  Sessions are typically two hours in duration.

Happy Hooves and Horse Wise Holiday Club

During school holidays we offer equine assisted activities to young equine enthusiasts.

Happy Hooves is aimed at 5-10-year-olds and includes activities such as filling haynets, poo picking, grooming, craft activities and hobby horse arena games.

Horse Wise is aimed at 10-16-year-olds and includes equine care and welfare-led activities such as field management, the importance of grooming, safe leading and basic pony agility.

Book places here.

Our funders

Our Equine Assisted Services are delivered on a charitable basis, and we are indebted to the organisations, trusts and foundations that support our programmes with grants and donations.

Current funders:

  • Sport England are generously funding our ‘This Girl Can Exercise with Equines’ programme, encouraging women back into exercise.
  • The Sir Peter O’Sullevan Charitable Trust are generously funding participants on our Inspire phase of equine assisted activities. Our sessions support development of transferable life skills.
  • The Northbrook Community Trust awarded us a grant towards our equine assisted learning programme for students referred to us.  The trust provides grants to specialist charities who are changing the lives of some of the most disadvantaged young people in Devon. They have a particular interest in young people who are, or were, in the care of Devon County Council.

Previous Funders:

  • ESF Community Grants, funded by the European Social Fund, generously funded our ‘Your Sanctuary’ equine assisted learning programme to provide young people with transferable life and employability skills.
  • The Hedley Foundation generously funded equipment for development of our outdoor learning spaces.
  • The Norman Family Charitable Trust kindly funded ten family ‘Wellies for Wellness’ sessions for children in care.