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2024 Curriculum Retreats

Are you interested in delivering one of our award winning services at your own centre? Maybe you have purchased one of the books but would like a hands-on opportunity to see how it all works in practice?


For the first time in 2024, we'll be offering a series of 5 day residential retreats where you can learn each of our equine assisted learning and therapeutic riding curricula inside out through theory lessons with the author and practice sessions with our herd of experienced therapy horses. Our retreats will equip you with everything you need to go on and run one of our successful projects in your own setting. Just pick the one you'd like to attend and click the button to express your interest! 


"Thanks for everything you have done for our adopted son and for us. I expected Hooves for the Heart to be just another therapy for his trauma.  I didn't expect it to touch and change me as father as much as it did. I will never forget my little son- who we thought would never trust a caregiver again- reaching his arms out to me for the first time. I cannot thank you and the horses enough."

-Parent of 5 year old boy with reactive attachment disorder.

Horse Play

This training retreat is designed for equine professionals who want to incorporate therapeutic riding into work with children who have experienced developmental trauma.


Horse Play is a service specifically for children who are adopted or in long term, stable foster placements and their families. This five day residential course is based on the Hooves for the Heart method created by the world-renowned instructor Terena Thomas as a result of growing up in a therapeutic parenting environment and it uses attachment-based  therapeutic parenting principles.

Run by the only Hooves for the Heart method trained instructor in the whole of the UK, Horse Play is designed to help children and young people to bond with and trust their care givers, aid emotional regulation and help the brain to heal from trauma by interacting with equines on the ground as well as utilising their movement.

Horses can help young people heal from trauma by providing natural consequences from a non-judgmental learning partner who will only interact fruitfully with them when they are calm, compassionate and congruent. Horses stimulate the senses in a myriad of ways, providing calming input for an overwrought amygdala. Their movement is soothing, helping to regulate emotions, develop the limbic system and light up new areas in brains affected by trauma. Stroking, grooming and riding horses releases oxytocin. When a child and their parents interact  together with a horse, this feel-good hormone facilitates family bonding. Parents and instructors work as a team to ensure children feel safe, supported, able to understand healthy boundaries and form relationships based on trust. This practitioner training course includes:

  •  Five day residential course with farmhouse bed and breakfast accommodation in a stunning forest location included.

  • A copy of the Horse Play Curriculum.

To register your interest, please click here

The Alpha Mare Course

 The Alpha Mare Course is a Peer Support Project with a twist: it is delivered with the help of a horse. The Alpha Mare Course won a Marsh Christian Award for innovative peer supported in 2019. Piloted with funding from Mind, the leading mental health charity in England and Wales, and Agenda, the alliance for women and girls at risk. As a women’s mental health peer support program, it helped more than 40 women experiencing disadvantage who were frequently under-represented in services to improve their mental health. 


This training course is ideal for equine assisted or therapeutic practitioners who work with groups of women who have a mental health issue that leaves them feeling isolated.  It utilises groundwork with  horses to help women reconnect with self, discover  inner strength and gain support from their peers.  


What is Peer Support?

Peer support differs from other forms of mental health services in important ways. It happens when people who have similar experiences of something difficult come together to support each other. It is through this development of meaningful, two-way relationships that peer support works. Crucially, the people involved play an active role in creating a safe environment for each other. Peer support can improve emotional health, well-being and sense of belonging. A vital part of peer support is mutual respect; peer support aims to help both those giving and receiving support. Everyone's experiences are treated as equally important, so this gives a different experience to more traditional support options. This practitioner course includes:

  •  Five day residential course with farmhouse bed and breakfast accommodation in a stunning forest location included.

  • A copy of the Alpha Mare Curriculum.



To register your interest, please click here:


"Interacting with the horses has helped me to be kinder to myself, understand when to trust and how to set boundaries with other people. I know now what positive relationships are all about."

-Survivor of domestic abuse


The Penytrip Project

This training course is ideal for anyone who wants to learn how interacting with horses on the ground can help young people to develop social skills such as effective communication, problem-solving, understanding emotions and setting boundaries. The Penytrip Curriculum uses interaction with horses to help young people with emotional, behavioural and social difficulties to move forwards in life through a series of eight structured equine assisted learning sessions which can be delivered as weekly one hour sessions or a one-off intensive.  It is designed for young people aged 8-18 with a variety of life experiences and learning styles. 

This curriculum started life as the Penytrip Projected, funded by the National Lottery and Children in Need. It worked with more than 300 children throughout its lifetime. 90% of participants reported increased confidence, 85% improved communication skills and 75% greater emotional resilience and problem-solving ability.  


This fun, easy to use curriculum is ideal for anyone wishing to make the leap into working in an outdoor learning environment with horses and children. This practitioner course includes:

  •  Five day residential course with farmhouse bed and breakfast accommodation in a stunning forest location included.

  • A copy of the Penytrip Project curriculum.



To register your interest, please click here:


"A Big Thank You for your time spent working with Claire.


As you know, Claire has difficulty in expressing herself verbally. She has really enjoyed the course with you at your wonderful centre and has come away each time really 'buzzing' about what she has achieved and her confidence has genuinely improved. To see her transformation today was truly amazing.


I am very grateful that Claire has had this opportunity to benefit from your incredible service. I can't praise you enough.


Keep up the good work! Thank you!"

-Parent of Young person with communication difficulties.


"The women visibly grew in confidence each week. It was the first time I had seen some of them smile since they came into the refuge. They didn't just learn to ride. They learn to be assertive, to be courageous and to trust in themselves and their own bodies again."

-Women's refuge support worker.

Overcoming Obstacles

This training retreat is ideal for equine professionals who would like to incorporate therapeutic riding into work with women who have experienced trauma. Overcoming Obstacles is a therapeutic horsemanship program designed for women and girls who have experienced violence, abuse and coercion.  It uses Horse Agility and Competitive Western Trail riding to build confidence, communication skills and courage. This program is experiential, participants are operating in the moment not processing past events. The Overcoming Obstacles project empowers women to develop skills, learn relaxation techniques, regulate emotions, build confidence and improve mental and physical health so that they can recover and reconnect after trauma. No knowledge of Western riding is necessary to be able to take part. This practitioner training course includes:

  • Five day residential course with farmhouse bed and breakfast accommodation in a stunning forest location included.

  • A copy of the Overcoming Obstacles Curriculum.


To register your interest, please click here:


"I managed to sit every exam and pass them all with either A* or A’s. At the beginning of my period at WITH Horses it was doubted whether I would even manage to sit my exams let alone achieve such high marks!"

-NEET young person.

The Life Hack Course

The Life Hack Course is the most versatile and adaptable of our curricula. It  is an equine assisted life and work skills course that can be used in any equine setting and does not require the staff to have any professional experience of

working therapeutically with horses. It is ideal for

riding schools, rescue centres or care farms that  would like to be able to offer their volunteers a more rounded experience or to begin offering services to young people who are disbaled or who  experience barriers to education or training.


This program has been used to great effect with NEET young people (not in education or training), adults with learning differences and young people who are home-schooled. It uses horse care and training activities on the ground to teach life and work skills.  Each session is carefully structured and can be adapted for people with a variety of needs. This training course includes:

  • Five day residential course with farmhouse bed and breakfast accommodation in a stunning forest location included.

  • A copy of the Life Hack Curriculum.

 To register your interest, please click here:

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