We believe a student’s direct interaction with taking care of a horse is a powerful way to “experientially” put into play the leadership curriculum taught at Abundant Life Academy.
Equine Therapy is founded on the principle that, through working with animals, boys and girls can learn certain life skills that can be used as a catalyst for a heart change. All aspects of horses and horsemanship are used in the ALA horsemanship program. Horsemanship skills (the proper care of a horse) are integrated with team building, experiential learning, and leadership activities to create a unique program, also referred to as Equine Therapy. The lessons our students learn from the horses will improve their interactions with others. The skills students learn in ALA horsemanship become powerful life skills that go beyond just horse skills.
Simply put, kids love horses. And horses have a natural healing power that has been proven effective in physical, mental, and emotional growth. By building a special care-taking relationship with a horse, troubled teens learn about themselves, about others, and how to build successful relationships.
Interacting with horses has other benefits as well. Horses are big, often intimidating animals. Because of this, interacting with a horse immediately challenges issues of fear and confidence in students. Horses are also incredibly responsive to human emotion and action. They will immediately sense and respond to a student’s negative emotions and behaviors. The horse, then, often acts as a mirror to the student. For example, a frustrated student (selfish or self-centered) can quickly cause her horse to become equally frustrated. This forces students to be accountable for their emotions, and to recognize the effects that their emotions and behaviors can have on others.
Another advantage of the horses is their honesty. Unlike humans, horses have no hidden agenda or conflicting feelings. Horses also do not respond positively to the faulty forms of communication (such as manipulation, bullying, or passive/aggressive behavior) that students are accustomed to using. To successfully work with a horse, controlled and effective body language is essential, forcing students to be aware of their methods of communication and to be able to problem solve when these methods aren’t producing the desired positive response. We have seen great success so far with our Horsemanship Program!
More about our Equine Therapy Program >>