HorseWorld's Discovery Courses turn students lives around

Josh, 17 and Lauren, 16 from Bristol are living proof that bringing horses together with vulnerable young people can really change lives.

Each year, HorseWorld’s Discovery Courses bring rescued horses together with hundreds of youngsters who may be outside mainstream schooling due to learning disabilities or behavioural difficulties. These tailored educational programmes have produced incredibly positive results.

Josh was aggressive and violent at home and school and, following expulsion from school in year 11, Lansdown Park Pupil Referral Unit brought him to join HorseWorld’s educational Discovery programme

Josh’s confidence and maturity soon grew. Home life became more settled as he learnt to cope with his emotions. His horsemanship skills developed making him a very valued member of the Discovery team.  Before Discovery, Josh had poor reading skills and very little interest in education. Studying outside the classroom environment changed all of this.

With vital support from rescued horses and Discovery course leader Sharon Howell, Josh left in Summer 2013 with a new dream, to become a vet or RSPCA inspector. He went on to study Maths, English and Animal Care in college. Josh successfully completed his college studies this summer and applied for an Apprenticeship with HorseWorld (which included a Level 2 Horsecare qualification). He was interviewed with five other candidates and was successful. He was the first student ever from his Pupil Referral Unit to go on to further education so it was a massive achievement not only for him personally but also for the school.  He has started work and has maintained his behaviour. He is more settled at home and is engaged in his education.  

Lauren has grown up in care and was unable to engage in mainstream education. After severe turbulence in her life she came to HorseWorld on a work placement. The staff noticed her natural ability and confidence around the horses so Lauren started at Discovery in November 2013. She also enrolled on a City and Guilds Skills for working life qualification, that she completed at an excellent standard. Lauren also went on to a level 2 apprenticeship in Horse Care at the HorseWorld welfare yard which is a fantastic achievement for someone who was not able to engage in mainstream education.

Discovery course leader Sharon Howell said “Josh and Lauren are amazing young people with a great ability to do well. We continue to support them and allow their dreams to be achieved.  They have become great role models for the younger students. We are all so proud of them. These students would otherwise have found employment difficult.  HorseWorld’s Discovery Courses have set them up with a career path by providing them with much needed employability skills.”

If you would like to support the Discovery programme or want to find out more, please contact the Discovery Course leader Sharon Howell  on or call 01275 893023.

Article by: Amy Williams

Posted on: 14th October 2014