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What is Equine Assisted Learning?

Wiltshire Equine Assisted Learning

  • offers one to one social, emotional and mental health support through equine and animal assisted outdoor learning.

  • creates positive opportunities for young people to thrive in the outdoors  in a safe and supportive space, to reset the trajectory of life’s path.

  • allows young people, through nurturing animals, to develop their empathy and find a sense of calm.

  • gives learners real farming responsibilities, promoting satisfaction and pride.


Being herd animals, horses seek connection and trust, and they mirror our behaviour. In working with them, learners are able to develop perspective of their own behaviour and begin to regulate their energy. 

All work with horses is from the ground (not ridden) and so no previous equine experience is necessary.

Through interactions with animals, and the outdoor world in which they live, learners enjoy the freedom of nature, gain confidence, resilience, self-esteem and self-awareness by working on outdoor activities and a bespoke animal assisted learning program.

Within our farm environment we are able to create holistic opportunities for learners to stretch their expectations and reach their full potential in a safe and supported way. Learners develop an understanding of themselves, their emotions, the perspective of others and in turn improve their focus, communication skills and their wellbeing.


Preparation for adulthood

Employment skills - we deliver tutoring, to include time keeping, record keeping, appropriate behaviour, health and safety, modelling good practice, team and independent work, and knowledge of job-based skills.                                                                               

Independent living - learners develop an abundance of practical skills, as well as communication, organisation, day to day maths, and budgeting.

Engaging with the community - in working with horses, learners improve their social communication skills, their respect of self, empathy for others, body language, nurturing relationships, care and kindness. 

Health - learners work in the outdoors where we promote the benefit of fresh air and healthy living, activity and exercise, lifestyle choices, resilience, mindfulness and positive mental health skills.


Managing transitions

Learners are invited for a site visit with their support worker, parents or carers to assess the suitability of our sessions as their alternative provision. Transitions are than managed through a referral form to establish each individual learner’s needs and the tailoring of sessions appropriate to the targets of their education, health and care plans (EHCPs).

Following an initial induction session we work to establish a trusting relationship in the first term, allowing the learner time to settle and familiarise, and for the facilitator to assess and develop a picture of their learner-led programme moving forward.

We invite future provisions to join sessions to initiate a trusting relationship and understanding of our learner when preparing to move on or integrate into mainstream education. A portfolio of skills and CV of attainment will move with the learner, to be passed on to their next further education or provision.


Over time, learners will learn to work as a team and ultimately independently, in handling the day to day care, nutrition, enrichment and exercise of our horses, ponies and other animals. Caring for them, and the farm environment around them, develops a strong sense of self-worth, connection, responsibility, and ownership of skills and relationships with animals, people and nature.

We run an in-house learning program with topic achievement certificates.

A portfolio of skills is collated in sessions to demonstrate evidence of achievements and progression.

Progress reports are written and sent to commissioning agencies at the end of terms 2, 4 and 6. These reference set targets, measured outcomes, and observations.

School and parental/guardian feedbacks are invited and welcomed.

Specific support for learners with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to meet the needs and outcomes on their EHCP

Our provision has social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) and social communication skills at its core, it is adaptable and well-suited to SEND individual needs. Bespoke programs are devised to meet the needs of the learner with reference to the targets of their EHCP. This programme is assessed and developed after each 6 week block; as the learner evolves, this is fed back to commissioning agencies and parents / carers. We will contribute to annual reviews, personal education plans (PEPs) etc, as requested. Learners work 1:1 with their facilitator at all times.


Referral for Equine Assisted Learning sessions from September 2022:  Facilitator Hannah Lindsay


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