With their innate ability to sense what we are feeling, sometimes better than we do, horses mirror our emotions, often showing us what we have been avoiding. They are honest and present, responding openly without pretense. We always know where we stand with a horse.
A Self-Discovery Journey
Coaching with Horses for Teens provides participants a unique opportunity to learn about themselves and others through various interactions with horses. These equine teachers make them perfect partners to help the Teens reflect on how they approach life and face the unknown, guiding them to a calmer and higher connected emotional state.
Through their interactions with horses, the teenagers learn to interpret and engage in non-verbal communication while practicing creative thinking and problem-solving. The objective is to develop a sense of calm awareness which is beneficial in present life and their future. Guided by a leadership coach and a horsemanship expert, the students are encouraged to develop their communication and teamwork skills, build confidence and a positive attitude.
Coaching with Horses for Teens encourages the participants to acknowledge and express their feelings as well as identify their behaviors and unconscious habits.
The workshops require a very active engagement from the teens as individuals as well as team members of a group. Adopting this kind of experiential learning is extremely effective to allow the participants to practice at their own pace.
In addition, unlike classical education, where the student sits and listens, the horses’ presence introduces an element of playfulness and fun, requiring everyone to be fully present. The teens are encouraged to watch and respond to the horses’ subtle communication signals.
The Coaching with Horses for Teens program offers five 90-min sessions, an introductory session followed by four tailored workshops.
Introductory Session (mandatory session)
- Setting Boundaries
While the Introductory session is mandatory to be able to join the program, the four additional workshops can be taken as a full package or separately.
Horses enthusiasts have always known horses are good for youngsters, but now research is proving it. One study, sponsored by the American Youth Horse Council, found that equestrian activities do indeed enhance a range of life skills in children. Results of the study, published in February 2006, found a significant positive relationship between horsemanship skills and life skills.
“If your child likes animals and you’re concerned about that child’s problem solving, goal-setting, or decision-making skills, then definitely get him or her involved with horses,” says Ann Swinker, Ph.D., a professor in Animal Science at Penn State University and one of the study’s co-authors.
“Clearly,” says Kathy Anderson, PhD, the study’s author, “participating in these horses activities enhances important skills, including goal-setting, self-reliance, and follow-through.”
The Coaching with Horses for Teens workshops take place in a safe barn environment, eliciting an awareness and connection with nature. There is no riding involved at any level of the program. No prior horse-specific knowledge is required. All equipment will be provided by the facilitators. We recommend wearing comfortable, outdoor clothes.