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What is Equine Assisted Learning?

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Definition below (courtesy of Leif Hallberg,2019)

Terminology is so important. I am not a therapist, so I provide Equine Assisted Learning. Equine-assisted learning (EAL) is a non-therapy skills-based service that focuses on teaching life-skills, social skills, communication skills or leadership skills while facilitating personal growth and increased self-awareness through both mounted and non-mounted interactions with horses. Services are provided by educators, in consultation with Occupational Therapists, Speech/Language Pathologists/ Psychologists or Psychiatrists.

  • Using miniature horse or quarter horse to support emotional and social development.
  • Support for self-regulation or sensory processing.
  • Useful for calming or meditative skills with younger children on the spectrum.
  • Also, other animals available to be used in therapeutic ways. (Dog, chickens, ducks, cats)
  • Support for Families in choosing a pet.
  • Support families through OT advise with children with pet/animal anxieties

Our Equine Assisted Learning Program
moves through 4 distinct phases

Introduction to Equine Assisted Learning

8 sessions that introduce participants to

  • The Zones of Regulation
  • Safe practices when working with horses
  • How to groom horses
  • Calming practices (eg breathing, relaxation)
  • Our 5 senses
  • Reflective practice
Equine Assisted Learning Part 2

8 sessions that participants learn about

  • The Zones of Regulation- self management
  • Safe practices when working with horses
  • Grooming skills for horses
  • Leading horses in an arena or round yard
  • Calming practices (eg grounding, breathing, relaxation)
  • Reflective practice
Equine Assisted Learning Part 3

8 sessions that participants learn about

  • The Zones of Regulation- self management, strategy development
  • Safe practices when working with horses
  • Grooming skills for horses
  • Leading horses in an arena or round yard around obstacles (eg training bridge)
  • Being led on horseback in an arena or round yard
  • Calming practices (eg grounding, breathing, relaxation)
  • Reflective practice
Equine Assisted Learning Part 4
  • The Zones of Regulation- self management, strategy development, implementing within daily life
  • Safe practices when working with horses
  • Grooming skills for horses- braiding, clipping, washing
  • Leading horses in an arena or round yard
  • Being led on horseback in an arena or round yard
  • Beginning riding skills in round yard with riding coach.
  • Calming practices (eg grounding, breathing, relaxation)
  • Reflective practice
  • This stage continues for as long as the participant requires or in interested in developing their skills.