An enriching experience for young people

Equilibrium for Life have been piloting a new Equine Assisted Learning relationship this autumn with an Inner London Pupil Referral Unit with a view to providing a very diverse group of young people with the opportunity to spend time with, and work alongside, ponies and horses.

We have visited the school with our loveable ponies – Dame Maggie and Princess Rose, hosted a group of students at Kits Coty Farm near Maidstone, and we are now arranging opportunities at a local stable to support more regular activity.

The sessions provide the young people with a subtle insight into their own behaviours and emotions through the silent and non-judgemental refection which is offered by the horses. It is through this quiet interaction that we hope to foster the development of their self and social awareness, and in so doing help support them of the path back to mainstream education.


From the young people

The pupil feedback has been very pleasing so let we should let them speak for themselves:

 “I felt safe even though the horses were bigger than me and I liked being in the countryside.”

 “The horses were calm. They were easy to communicate with, because they could sense my mood. I feel I have more knowledge about horses and am more confident around them. I now feel safer and would like to do it again.”

 “I liked how they walked and followed me without no lead. I really enjoyed it and would love to do it again.”


From the teachers

The teaching staff who accompanied the young people also reported some very positive observations around the sessions:

“I really enjoyed watching the students gain a greater awareness of how their mood and behaviour impacts on the horses.”

”We had a great day at Kits Coty Farm. Having worked with the ponies at our school it was nice for some of Newham’s most vulnerable pupils to experience the countryside.  Working with the larger horses it was amazing to see how the children grew in confidence over a short space of time.  I think they surprised themselves with what they achieved in what was a very positive experience for them. Many of my pupils are keen to return and continue working with these beautiful animals.”

We are very pleased with the response to these interventions and are now developing further the Equine Assisted Learning relationship with the school and its young people. We are looking forward to developing some core skills and knowledge, as well as supporting growth of their emotional literacy and resilience, as the horses provide their subtle guidance along each individual journey of re-engagement.

All photographs are courtesy of Tunmarsh Pupil Referral Unit and have been reproduced with their permission.

Download a copy of this case study here.

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