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Horses teach us so much. Humility, respect, confidence, responsibility and joy. Caring for and interacting with animals has many proven health benefits. Interaction with animals provide children with companionship, comfort and a strong sense of wellbeing, it’s no surprise that animals have been used for therapeutic purposes throughout history.

Studies show that a horse’s pelvic movement mimics a human, which provides sensory input to the brain and nervous system. However, riding not only provides physical benefits; it can also help with a wide range of mental health problems and learning disabilities.

Learning and development through horses: What is taught and learnt on horses can be transferred to everyday life, and it helps those with special needs to live more independently. Horses provide the opportunity to learn in a way that is appropriate for a child’s mental age. It enables them to feel and experience learning, which makes it easier for them to retain information.

The sessions are especially important for children who really want to be with horses ‚ children who only co-operate, communicate and concentrate when they are around animals. For these children, horses are a means to learning, especially for young people with learning difficulties and disabilities. Horses may be their only chance to experience any independence in adulthood.

Those with special needs need to learn life skills by doing something they connect with. Horsemanship lessons creates that connection and they can turn children who struggle in a traditional classroom environment into avid m and arena is a classroom. The key thing is children are motivated to learn because they want to be with horses. They communicate and they listen, because they love what they do. They learn everything they need to have greater control over their lives. They learn numeracy by weighing out feeds and correctly fitting a rug, and they learn literacy by learning all the horse’s names. Riding also helps with proprioception, as it improves their co-ordination and balance.

We teach children about shapes and distances, and we teach them speech and language, as horses stimulate parts of the brain involved with this.

Practice and repetition skills are invaluable: Horses can help with anything. Practice and repetition is key with so many types of therapy and horses provide a motivation to keep up that practice, without the child even realising it. There is a lot of sequencing and routine with horses, where you do the same thing day in, day out. This is really important for children with a learning disability as it helps things sink in. Horses naturally provide occupational therapy, speech therapy, physiotherapy and aromatherapy.

By working through equine therapy, children can develop skills such as communication, self-control, problem solving and accountability, as well as improving their self-esteem, empathy, flexibility and independence.

It gives children the opportunity to discover more about their capabilities, develop new ways of thinking and change negative behaviours. For example, by working with the horse, they may start to notice self-defeating thought processes or negative patterns of behaviour which may be contributing to their behavioural issues, giving you to opportunity to take steps to overcome them.

Sessions will focus on helping a child overcome any initial uneasiness, empowering them to develop and nurture their relationship with the horse. Working with horses requires patience, understanding, discipline and responsibility. Horses can be stubborn one day and playful the next, meaning that the child learns to be flexible, innovative and open to altering their behaviour.

We run weekly sessions during school term time for local children in Key Stage 3, who have a variety of complex emotional or learning needs. This does not always need to include riding and can be tailored to the needs of the school/centre. All safety equipment will be provided. A maximum of six children per session based on a morning or afternoon session of two hours. This will be fully supervised and instructed by Kate Kirkpatrick, Proprietor (DBS checked, Qualified First Aider, Local Authority Licensed and Fully Insured). We are a small riding school that is fully approved and regulated by the Associated Board of Riding Schools.

Type of provision

Targeted - This is for people with special educational needs and disabilities and their families

Contact details


Centre information

Accessibility and adjustments

Wheelchair access No


Address Stoke Lane Stables, Stoke Lane, Bayford, Wincanton, Somerset BA9 9NY

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