Equine Assisted Curricula
Do you want to learn how to deliver safe, meaningful therapeutic riding or equine assisted learning sessions? Are you already an equine assisted practitioner looking for creative session planning resources and fresh ideas? Our range of Equine Assisted Learning and Therapeutic Riding programs are tried and tested. They are piloted with real clients, peer-reviewed and independently evaluated to ensure high levels of quality, consistency and safety. They give you everything you need to begin providing one of our award-winning programs, so that you can work alongside horses to help people. Each A4, spiral-bound, printed curriculum is full of session plans, equipment lists and safety information as well as arena diagrams, photographs and monitoring tools. Purchase one today to kick-start your program!
The Alpha Mare Course: Equine Assisted Mental Health Peer Support for Women
The Marsh Christian award-winning Alpha Mare Course is a peer support program for women with a unique selling point: horses! Developed with Women Side by Side funding from the mental health charity Mind and Agenda, the alliance for women and girls, it is now available to buy so that you can deliver this step by step women's mental health peer support course to your own clients. The prospect of spending time with horses can motivate and inspire isolated and hard to reach people. However, women in particular have a special affinity with them. As prey animals, horses are powerful yet vulnerable. The psyches of both horses and women are connected as they have a shared understanding of what it can feel like to be prey. Like the lead mare in the horse herd, women are nurturers. They are programmed by society to take care of others and are prone to make personal sacrifices. Due to putting their own needs last, they don't always access help for mental health. The Alpha Mare in a herd can also be an assertive leader and fierce protector who has strong and connected relationships with the others in her herd.
The Alpha Mare Course enables women experiencing mental health issues to set boundaries, make healthy choices, build self-esteem and cope with change. As women join together to take part in a meaningful activity and bond over a shared interest, they develop confidence and communication skills to talk about their mental health, form a supportive 'herd' and discover their inner Alpha Mare qualities.
From prevention to crisis care, there's huge variation in services for women with mental health problems in the UK. There aren't enough well-resourced and joined-up public services. Which means many women feel unsupported and alone. There aren't enough services that are developed by women, for women, and in response to the challenges women face. The Alpha Mare Course uses peer support to improve the mental health of women facing disadvantage. As part of the Side by Side Program, combining the expertise of the women’s sector to deliver gender-specific support and Mind’s experience of delivering community-based peer support, it demonstrated the positive impact of gendered and trauma-informed peer support for women experiencing multiple disadvantage. The McPin Foundation worked with St George’s, University of London, to independently evaluate the Side by Side programme. In the evaluation, women reported a range of benefits:
Improvements in their social networks
Being better connected to friends and neighbours
Feeling less lonely and isolated
Being more able to talk about mental health with friends, neighbours and acquaintances
Increased self-esteem, self-confidence and skills.
The Penytrip Project: Equine Assisted Social Skills Curriculum
The Penytrip Project is an equine assisted learning intervention for children and young people who need help with their behaviour, communication or self esteem. It involves individual young people or small groups working on the ground with horses to learn kind, ethical horsemanship techniques. During the process, the horses acts as a mirror, helping a young person who might struggle socially to see how their voice, body language and even breathing can influence another living creature. Horses making the perfect learning partner when it comes to social skills. As herd animals, they are wired for connection. Horses don't judge, they don't lie and they have no hidden agenda. Even a child who has learned to trust no-one can trust a horse, forming a relationship based on clear communication and mutual respect.
Developed with funding from BBC Children in Need, the Penytrip Project ran in North Wales for a decade and helped hundreds of children with complex and multiple disadvantages. Over 90% of participants gained increased confidence, 85% improved communication skills and 73% enhanced coping skills. 8 out of 10 young offenders had their cases closed by Youth Justice and three quarters of NEET young people returned to education, found work or began volunteering within 8 weeks of taking part. Participants included NEET and care-experienced young people, those with physical and learning disabilities and those in the the youth justice system. The curriculum is now used at centres throughout the UK and Europe.
The sessions are all specifically designed with a high standard of horse welfare in mind and aim to aid young people aged 5-18 in the development of appropriate behaviour, interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence. The Penytrip Project was independently assessed by the Swedish Researcher, Mia Harri.
The Life Hack Curriculum for NEET Young People
The Life Hack Curriculum is designed to help young people aged 15- 25 to develop essential skills through caring for and training horses. It can be adapted to deliver living or employability skills. It is ideal for NEET young people, care-experienced young people, younger children who are gifted or home schooled, adults with a learning difficulty, young people in alternative provision, young people with autism, ADHD and other neurodivergences, teens who are disengaged from education, students who struggle in the traditional classroom environment and young people who have lost their love of or confidence in learning.
The program takes place over 12 weekly sessions lasting 90 mins- 2 hours and incorporates both horsemanship and horse care tasks. Each week has a theme and these include:
Designed to be used in both traditional and non-traditional equine environments, this is a great entry-level curriculum for riding instructors, equine assisted professionals, rescue centre workers, care farming practitioners and alternative/outdoor education providers who want to add a new dimension to their work.
The Overcoming Obstacles Curriculum for Survivors of Domestic Violence
Overcoming Obstacles is a therapeutic riding program designed for women and girls who have experienced domestic violence, abuse and coercion. As they learn to literally overcome obstacles, through Competitive Western Trail Riding and Horse Agility, the project empowers women to develop essential life skills, build confidence, improve mental and physical health, create social networks and gain leadership skills.
First developed with funding from Comic Relief and delivered in partnership with Gorwel as part of the Levelling the Field (LtF) initiative. LtF projects use sport to inspire women and girls to reach their full potential. Overcoming Obstacles was designed to promote gender equality, reduce gender stereotypes, increase social inclusion, improve leadership skills, increase opportunities to access education training and employment and tackle violence against women and girls. Outcomes for women and girls accessing the project included increased confidence and self-esteem, development of new skills and opportunities to use these skills, development of new positive social networks and increased physical activity linked to improved mental health and wellbeing. We shared these findings at international conferences including the PATH International Annual Conference in Florida and the HETI Conference in Dublin. A full report on this groundbreaking partnership approach can be found here: