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Youth Development Program Outline

Our Unmounted Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) Program commonly consists of 6 weekly small-group lessons of one hour in length.

A growing body of research demonstrates that teaching horsemanship skills can promote emotional and social well-being in participants, serve as character education, and promote the social skills and leadership of youth and children in particular.  Specifically, horsemanship grows competencies in responsibility for self and others, as well as forming attitudes and actions that are the hallmark of safe, healthy, and informed communities.

Research confirms an array of positive outcomes including increased confidence, self-esteem, and promoted social interactions, all of which are transferable to participants’ daily lives (Burgon, 2003).

  • Clear communication through gaining trust and respect, with predictable consistent consequences, is effective for both horse and student.
  • Horses use body language to communicate, and students are taught to look for relaxation, understanding and acceptance. Students learn strategies to calm the horse and connect with them – with a balance of empathy and assertiveness.
  • Horses help students learn how their actions provoke certain responses in the horses, what those responses mean and how to change their actions to increase communication and effectiveness within their relationships. Horses teach students to act assertively and display tenacity. They receive validation from an unbiased, powerful creature, who gives honest feedback.

“Horses are natural teachers, willing, open-hearted, patient, instinctively nonjudgmental and responsive.”