Equine Assisted Therapy

Spiritus Equis offers an innovative and robust learning model where participants can have an immersive experience with the horses. Participants experience a calm and creative space in which they can safely test out and apply strategies to find solutions and move forward.  

The horse activities provide visible, live and powerful metaphors for life experiences and relationships.

The activity may be simple in setup – such as a task for two people to move a horse in and out or over a series of obstacles.

The interaction with horses is an integral part of the process because:

  • horses are social animals, experts in body language and are successful in surviving if they function well within a herd
  • horses are large, powerful animals and throughout history, have always presented a challenge to humans, when humans have attempted to form a relationship with them
  • working with these sensitive and responsive animals, creates a powerful learning environment – learning is through ‘gut instincts’ – this is learning through the limbic system if the brain
  • the horses act as a powerful catalyst for change, creating opportunities for insight, reflection and application to the social environment.

Participants are able to experiment with new behaviours, experience how it feels to behave differently and make choices about which behaviour feels better or helps with developing more positive relationships.

Equine assisted sessions for individuals are usually 1 hour. For family sessions, we allow a longer session time, up to 90 minutes.

Equine Assisted Learning

A similar principle is applied during learning sessions – which are tailored to the learning outcomes identified.

We can develop sessions to meet academic or pastoral outcomes.

We can do these in one to one sessions of an hour or group sessions of 3-5 hours.

A Centre for Positive Change in Young Peoples’ Lives

How does equine assisted growth and learning work with children and young people?

  • During ground activities with the horses, the horses will respond to emotions and attitudes from a person making it difficult for a young person to bluff or disconnect from the situation.
  • Much of the interaction with the horses becomes metaphorical – the horse and the challenges will represent people and situations that’s the young person has encountered.
  • The growth and learning is experiential – the tasks and activities are not a pass/fail situation.
  • The experience shared by young people with horses in the sand school is all that matters, not if they successfully  completed a task.

Our son looks forward to these sessions weekly.  He has dyslexia & Asperger’s and a high sensitivity to sound. These professional ladies get my son to work to push his own boundaries. He works well with all the team. He has become so much more confident with the horses.  When things don’t work out the way it should he has the confidence & determination to stick at what he has been set to do. While leaving & returning home he can be much calmer & this usually sets his mood for the day. They are an asset to my sons timetable & his week wouldn’t be complete if he did not attend.

Parents of a 13 year old teenager.

Their son said:

I like the horses because they are nice and pretty but they are also calming. I like my sessions.

Youthinc learning and enterprise centre for young peopleWith financial support from Youthinc CIC, Spiritus Equis delivers therapeautic and learning sessions for young people in Wiltshire who face multiple social disadvantages.

Like to find out more?