Each year more and more studies around the world are showing the effectiveness of Equine Assisted Therapy (EAT) and Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) programs. As a result, more and more services, families and schools are looking for equine assisted programs for the children in their care. Sadly, the cost of those programs is out of the reach of many of the children that would benefit the most.
This where the HOOFBEATS Program steps in.
HOOFBEATS is an initiative of I Give A Buck Foundation of Australia Ltd – an Australian charity that has been supporting some of the most vulnerable children in our communities since 2009. The HOOFBEATS Program aims to provide a wide range of fully-funded EAT and EAL programs to suit children with wide ranging needs.
Why Is Working With Horse So Effective?
Working with horses in a therapeutic setting leads to increased physiological, emotional, and psychological well-being including an increase in self-esteem, self-awareness, empathy, focus, communication skills, and pro-social behaviours; and reduction in stress/anxiety, depression, anti-social behaviours, and trauma symptoms.
Because horses are herbivore prey animals with lots of predators, they have evolved to have extremely effective communication skills within their herd to enable them to survive. They are finely tuned to even the most subtle changes in the body language and emotions of other horses and of the people around them.
They want to be around, and to please, those who display calm, quiet, controlled, slow, confident and kind behaviours and they will distance themselves from, and be uncooperative with, those who are agitated, loud, unpredictable, quick and aggressive in their approach. They respond instantly and provide immediate, unbiased and non-judgemental feedback to participants.
Our uniquely tailored programs teach children, youths and families to be wholly present in the moment and attentive to how the horse is responding. This attentiveness is closely aligned to mindfulness mediation – an activity that has been shown to be particularly useful for children.
Our programs combine horse sessions with workshop sessions that teach participants how the brain works, how it can be re-wired to form new pathways to better manage emotions and behaviours through neuroplasticity, strategies for understanding and controlling emotions, the difference between aggression and assertiveness and the appropriate use of power.
As participants work through the program they develop not just improvements in self-esteem and self-confidence, but they learn how to self-regulate, taking control of their emotions and behaviours.
There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man ~ Winston Churchill