HorseWorld's project for young people with physical or emotional disorders celebrates opening of new office base

Staff at a leading Bristol-based animal welfare charity are celebrating the opening of new office facilities housing a ground-breaking pilot project which employs horses to help young people with emotional, behavioural and learning issues.

Discovery Courses at HorseWorld, Whitchurch, provide first-hand experience of working with horses in the outdoors for children and young people with emotional, behavioural and learning issues. The courses are available to young people from Bristol, B&NES, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

The new Discovery office, based in the charity’s Equine Welfare Yard, provides a sociable meeting place for students, staff and volunteers as well as a place for staff to carry out administrative work. It also doubles up as a boot room and course discussion area.

Discovery Course Manager Amanda Cranston said “This new office space has given a great boost to staff and students working on our increasingly-popular Discovery Courses.

“It is now our hope to fundraise to expand our facilities so that they will include disabled facilities as well as a fully equipped learning room with teaching aids and computers. These would go a long way to helping young people adapt what they learn on the yard to a positive educational experience in casual but welcoming surroundings.”

Equipping young people with competencies that give them the best possible chance of succeeding in the future, Discovery:
• uses horses as a unique learning tool to promote personal development
• supports emotional growth and learning through a curriculum combining outdoor physical activity and close contact with horses
• improves students’ capacity to concentrate; communicate; interact; work as a team member; be self motivated; feel confident, and exercise self control

Amanda Cranston said: “Bringing horses together with young people can have staggering results. The experience of Discovery Course tutors working with young people shows those who struggle to communicate can find working with horses helps them learn about themselves, enabling them to interact more positively with others.

“Those who find it hard to concentrate or to control their impulses can focus on a horse for long periods while grooming or leading the animal.

“Withdrawn students often begin to express themselves, developing words or gestures they haven’t previously used.”

Article By: Amy Williams

Posted on: 25th November 2013