Horsepowers have been providing equine assisted activities for over 10 years, primarily with ‘Looked After’ young people, with adults with learning disabilities, in corporate team building and recruitment and selection of social care staff, privately, with families. Sessions have been provided to mainstream school children regarding work on transition from primary school to secondary school.
Session facilitators have vast experience of working with young people with emotional and behavioral difficulties, and complex needs. Including a qualified Social Worker, with also 9 years full time working with horses professionally, and 23 years of keeping horses. Another facilitator is an experienced adventurous activities outdoor educator, who is also experienced with horses.
Our horses are experienced Equine Assisted Growth and Development co-facilitators. As a team of four they have undertaken extensive work as stated above. Horses have distinct personalities, attitudes and moods.
We have sadly recently lost a member of the co-facilitator team, Hozzie’s contributions were invaluable in the support and growth of many people.
This type of session works on the same principles as EAPSED. Packages can be tailored to each group. We run straight forward ‘Team Building’ sessions and days, with a focus on participants having fun and developing team building skills.
We also run more dynamic goal-oriented sessions where there is a focus on performance goals, and how each person and the group contribute to these wider aims. Agreed goals and aims are identified by the organisation prior to the session. If goals and aims have not been identified, or have been identified incorrectly, aims can be always identified from the themes that arise from the activities on the day. Horses are very sensitive to our thoughts and feelings and they help us find obstacles within ourselves, and root them out. This then provides the focus for the subsequent activities.
Strengths and ways forward are summarized midway and at the end of the session or day.
Team building and development works best over a full day, and 6 monthly follow ups can be an effective option. Sessions over two days can be arranged, and can also be integrated with Outdoor Adventurous Activities with qualified instructors.
Recommended for working teams.
I came to Horsepowers at the beginning of winter 2018 to work on some competition performance goals during weekly sessions. At the start, I summarised some goals, then Helen set various problem solving exercises that I worked through which involved the ponies. This didn’t involve riding, it was more about cooperation and communication. During the next few sessions I worked with the ponies, and only when I was focused, and in the right frame of mind, did the ponies cooperate, and was I able to achieve the tasks that Helen had set.
Gradually, I became aware of some things, and not just about performance. I realised that these things were actually the obstacles that were preventing me from achieving my potential. It was amazing how the subtle differences in my thinking reflected on how the ponies acted. After about 8 sessions became a definite shift in how I was working, I knew then I had made a lot of progress.
In spring 2019 I put what I had been working on into practice. I found that it has made such a difference. I have also been able to transfer these changes into my every-day life. I would definitely recommend Horsepowers.
Hillside Stables is a privately-owned facility, situated in a beautiful rural hillside overlooking a valley, and gritstone edges in the Peak District. The environment is tranquil and abundant with wild life. There are grass paddocks and surfaced arenas where sessions take place. There is a covered area for briefing and de-briefing, with a refreshments area and WC.
The main purpose of the EAPSED type session is to provide a medium to work through identified issues, for example, anger management, low self-esteem, self-confidence, responsibility for actions, problem solving, assertiveness, and exploring and managing feelings and emotions.
EAPSED incorporates horses experientially for personal, social, cognitive, and emotional growth. Participants learn about themselves and others by participating in activities with horses to explore their thoughts, beliefs, behaviours and patterns that have come to light during the session.
The facilitators’ primary roles include setting up suitable experiences, posing problems, and ensuring emotional and physical safety needs are met at all times. Activities are chosen deliberately to re-create life situations that may reflect the participants own experiences. Participants learn effective coping strategies, and positive ways of dealing with day to day life. Activities are designed to challenge the participant to think outside the box. Participants come to feel they can deal with challenges and these benefits are in part attributable to the realization that one cannot control a horse, and paradoxically, participants acquire more internal control.
The long-term benefits of EAPSED depends highly on the ‘processing’ – the talk about what is going on. Activities can serve as a metaphor for life. Processing activities is used to: help participants focus or increase their awareness on issues prior to an event of experience; facilitate awareness or promote change while an experience is occurring; reflect, analyze, describe or discuss an experience after it is completed; and / or reinforce perceptions of change and promote integration in their lives after the experience is completed. Participants are encouraged to reflect and express the thoughts and feelings that they are experiencing. Awareness of what they specifically did, thought, and felt prior to the breakthrough should be emphasized. It is a way of assisting participants form links to what they are learning, and transfer to their lives. Horses are very sensitive to non-verbal communication, they communicate largely using body language. They respond to the signals and messages conveyed by the participant in the moment, and respond naturally and spontaneously to the participants needs. This can develop self-awareness. Horses offer unconditional friendship and provide immediate and honest feedback.
These sessions provide opportunities to break down defense barriers, the structure and focus of sessions is on the activity with the horse. This creates a distractor, which in part aids the facilitator in getting a more authentic picture of the participant, it also evokes coping mechanisms rather than defensive mechanisms. Being in the present allows a shift in the focus necessary for the subconscious mind to take over. In order to have success with the horse, genuine and consistent actions must be communicated, and certain responses which are of value: cooperation; clear thinking and planning; careful observation; resourcefulness; persistence; and adaptability. Horses operate on the premise of immediate cause and effect, life is very clear to them, this helps participants learn that her or his actions will directly influence the response from the horse. This promotes self-responsibility.
Sessions work best at an hour at a time, over several weeks. These sessions can be facilitated on a one to one basis, in pairs with one facilitator, or in a small group setting with two facilitators.
Recommended for any level of personal, social, emotional development, for any level of life. Some examples are: ‘Looked After’ children; PSE sessions for school groups; family groups; or vulnerable adults.
The Practical Horse Care Program involves participants learning and taking part in how to look after horses and ponies. We have an eleven ‘Element’ program consisting of sections on safety, grooming and bathing, horse behaviour, leading and handling horses, and more.
On completion of each ‘Element’ participants are given a ‘HorsePowers’ certificate.
In addition to the above, further benefits from learning how to look after horses are: promotes a sense of responsibility; assertiveness; can be valuable experience for future, ie looking after animals, and careers with animals; helps to develops motor skills and fine motor skills and control; physical exercise – strength, stamina and flexibility; and supports communication and positive relationship building.
Sessions work best for two hours at a time and run over several consecutive weeks. Sessions can be extended, and further programs can be facilitated.
activities can vary depending on the participants’ abilities. For participants who are unable, or choose not to be directly and physically involved, simply being in the environment will provide a therapeutic and enriching experience. A simple, though powerful experience has been a participant who was restricted to a wheel chair who had little movement, having a small pony approach them. Watching horses interact and play, and being in the company of such creatures stimulates all the senses. The lulling rhythm of the horse, combined with the sights, scents, and sounds of the natural surroundings elevate the spirit and alleviates tension.
This is a similar version to the ‘Practical Horse Care Program’, though delivered in a more simplistic way. Participants will learn how to interpret the horse’s body language, and will be shown how to approach the horse. Participants will be shown and supported to groom and build relationships with the horses, this is relaxing and soothing, it can stimulate motor skills and all the senses. Participants seem to gain a great deal of affection and enjoyment from the horses. Other activities are leading and handling, and cleaning stables. Participants gain a certificate for achieving ‘Elements’ of the program.
Sessions work best for an hour and a half duration, and works well on a weekly basis. Participants look forward to and anticipated each week when their sessions are due.
Again, this type of activity works on the same principles as EAPSED. Problem solving activities are designed to bring out the strengths and skills required for the post, it is designed to provide an arena to assess against the criteria and person specification for the post.
The focus on the nature of the horses helps remove anxieties and allows candidates to relax into the present, which allows the true self to surface. Horses don’t separate how they feel to how they act, horses force you to communicate with the same depth of transparency.
The Interview Panel are expected to observe the interview sessions, and are invited to ask questions as and when desired, and can join in also. Feedback from facilitators can be offered, and explanation of the co-facilitators’ feedback too. Horses have the ability to mirror exactly what human body language is telling them, and in this setting, horses give honest and accurate feedback which is shown through their body language.
Sessions work best over half a day dependent on numbers, can be extended to a full day if requested.
We are based in the Peak District in Derbyshire. For a full address please contact on our phone number 07579028902 or via the contact form above.