Equine Assisted Learning and Teenagers…..

My post last week talked about Coaching Teenagers and Horses and the similarities between them. This week I will be covering the importance of bringing the two groups together and what they can offer to each other.

In my experience, horses can be a very important part of a young person’s growth, development and learning. Whether it is down on the ground or in the saddle, equines have a tremendous influence on people in a very powerful way. Horses can assist with relationship building, communication, responsibility, assertiveness, enjoyment and contentment in a very natural and rewarding way.

Horses are very social animals, just like humans, and have defined roles within the herd that are similar to a family hierarchy. They are flight animals and very sensitive to change in their habitual environment which is not unlike human beings. Spending time with horses can provide benefits on a mental, emotional, spiritual and physical level. Just being around horses can be very therapeutic, especially for teenagers that are struggling with life issues like self-harm, anger management, behavioural disorders, lack of confidence and self-esteem.

Interacting with horses, whether for sport or leisure, enables young people to develop important life skills and put them into practice. Caring and taking responsibility for an equine can be essential therapy for young people. It assists in shifting the focus from their own personal life to that of the horse and breaks the acute anxiety spiral of emotional thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Having another life to consider naturally creates a change in thinking and a focus on the action that needs to be taken especially in the here and now.

These opportunities are available to young people using the services of charity organisations like JAC (Just Around The Corner).  Or, as an equine enthusiast, you could reach out to a teenager you know and introduce them to your horse. A morning spent grooming and performing some basic ground work could be a trigger for their interest and well-being plus you get help with the mucking out!