There’s something about a big, beautiful horse that urges us stop, look and listen. These magnificent creatures have a commanding presence and yet a gentle spirit that makes them exceptional at leading our educational programs. We find that children of all ages, facing all sorts of behavioral challenges and environmental stressors, are eager to learn when our horses are the teachers.
New Day’s equine-assisted learning programs include a variety of techniques. Some exercises involve riding or grooming our horses, or simply leading them while playing games or solving problems. Others, like our Occupational and Vocational Essential Readiness (OVER) program, use hands-on interactions throughout the farm to encourage vocational exploration and life skills development in teens. Because they’re customized to fit our participants’ individual goals, no two programs are the same. But each is built on a foundation of tried-and-true techniques designed to improve emotional, social, cognitive and behavioral skills, including:
✔Strength and balance
✔Awareness of our surroundings
✔ Focus and memory
Our educational programs are ideal for school and youth groups, but family and individual sessions are available in special cases. All programs are led by our team of certified instructors, including our specially trained horses.
We often think we can hide the way we feel. Well, we can’t hide it from horses. Horses are keenly perceptive and sensitive to their surroundings. As prey animals, they are conditioned to constantly observe and evaluate their environment. This means horses are highly aware of—and quick to respond to—a person’s tone of voice, body language, and even glances. If a human feels anxious, a horse will sense that anxiety and act anxious, too.
In mirroring humans, horses offer valuable clues into how we feel—whether we’re aware of it or not. When we’re open to this insight, we can explore healthier responses to our emotions, build trust in others, grow in self-confidence, and develop stronger communication and leadership skills.